24/30 album of the week hip-hop pop r&b soul

yaya bey – remember your north star

On a hugely satisfying LP, Yaya dances precisely between a lo-fi mixtape and shoomping R&B. The light vocals and delicate production might sink into one another were it not for a sharpness to the writing; especially in its explicit moments, Bey’s lyrics split through the seamless beats with a bite. ‘RYNS’ is not content with […]

17/30 hip-hop r&b soul

aint afraid – heavy guarded heart

This Baltimore-born, twin sister band have been singing together since the age of two. There’s an unblemished coating on ‘Heavy Guarded Heart’ that speaks to a well-planned record and their unbreakable, sisterly chemistry. The twins sprinkle baby-making R&B over trap hi-hats and their own religious sentiments; the sheer earnestness and shimmering positivity of the record […]

22/30 r&b soul

ural thomas & the pain – dancing dimensions

‘Dancing Dimensions’ heralds the seasoned professionalism of its lead singer and the smooth, musical aptitude of its contributors. Unlike much in the current soul resurgence, as declared by the unnervingly mathematical Silk Sonic record, Ural Thomas & The Pain are led by an original of the era—there is no need for close listening to spot […]

25/30 classic review funk rock soul

ned doheny – hard candy (1976)

In 1976, ‘Hard Candy’ beamed a light that shone for a moment and then slipped into the stream of the California sun. Alongside the record and its maker were industry heavyweights like Eagles, Steely Dan, and countless others. Doheny was connected to them all in some way, the way wealthy insiders tend to be. There’s […]

9/30 soul trip-hop

poppy ajudha – THE POWER IN US

Ajudha’s first single for her debut LP, ‘LONDON’S BURNING’, addressed England’s conceited patriotism within immigration policy. It is the penultimate track on the record and by a considerable distance its best. At no other point is ‘TPIU’ remotely as impactful. Though the sentiments throughout are bona fide, the surrounding packaging is either intolerably loaded or […]

26/30 classic review gospel soul

mahalia jackson – bless this house (1956)

Mahalia Jackson dedicated her life to Jesus. Throughout her early career, she resisted the commercial temptations of secular music and remained true to the gospel sound that eventually led to colossal success and historic significance. ‘Bless This House’ is the sound of her freedom: both in physical expression and belief. It possesses the severity of […]

29/30 classic review experimental hip-hop jazz soul

portishead – dummy (1994)

Portishead’s DNA is copious and varied, braising individual obsessions in an after-hours cauldron. ‘Dummy’ is what happens when a hip-hop sample comes to life, like Pinocchio, growing jazzy breaks and a soul of its own. The record’s haunting, cinematic atmosphere is lavishly upheld by Beth Gibbons’ foggy vocals, as she whispers enough to remain both […]

24/30 EP hip-hop pop soul

elsy wameyo – nilotic (EP)

Outside of her music, Elsy Wameyo is keen to proselytize on behalf of her God—“‘Nilotic’ is the byproduct of God’s grace in my life”. Lyrically, the Adelaide-based/Kenyan-born multi-talent ties personal journeys to bullish human structures, where power struggles and feelings of displacement seek to govern the individual. But for all the conflict, this debut EP […]

29/30 classic review jazz soul

nina simone – wild is the wind (1966)

Nina Simone possessed one of the most rounded voices in soul. Her distinctive contralto vocals visited the subtle, beautiful, brooding, and haunting within the shifting of an octave, or an inflection. ‘Wild is the Wind,’ though confusedly arranged, is an album dedicated to her range. The first track is a pleasant, swinging soul number; the […]