I'm sorry to break it to you, but your playlist needs updating. And no, you don't need to scramble through Spotify, Twitter, and everything in between for the good stuff, because we've got everything you need right here. This Friday, Highsnobiety Soundsystem is once again giving you the best of new music with a collection of stunning tracks offering you bangers, anthems, and the best vibes. I'm talking of course about the Highsnobiety Soundsystem 50 Playlist (duh) curated by your girl, Sarah Osei. You're welcome and enjoy!
The Best New Music You Need to Hear (& Why)
1 Amaarae - Sad Girlz Luv Money Remix (ft. Moliy & Kali Uchis) - When Amaarae dropped one of the best albums of 2020, one of the highlights was definitely the bad B anthem "Sad Girlz Luv Money" featuring wonder girl Moliy. A year on, the Atomic Angel cleverly gives us a remix of our favorite track featuring the enchanting Kali Uchis, and yes, it's just as phenomenal as you think.
2 Tems - Found (ft. Brent Faiyaz) - It's been over a year since baby girl Tems captivated us with her debut EP For Broken Ears, now with another EP the wistful If Orange Was a Place Tems continues her glorious ascent, with assists from maverick producer GuiltyBeatz and the smooth-talking Brent Faiyaz.
3 Baby Keem - Lost Souls (ft. Brent Faiyaz) - Following Kanye’s example of making post-release revisions to his “living breathing changing creative expression,” Baby Keem has has gone back and tinkered with his recently-released The Melodic Blue by adding our favorite crooner, Brent Faiyaz - well, isn't that the winning formula?
4 Lil Nas X - SCOOP (ft. Doja Cat) - Last week Lil Nas X finally graced us with his debut album MONTERO and to say it met my seriously high expectations would be an understatement. Three years after we first met this industry baby, LNX proves he's here to stay with an offering of pop gold, such as on this sweet track with Doja Cat.
5 Prettyboy D-O - Falling (ft. IAMDDB) - One thing about Nigeria, it will produce pop stars. Next up? That's easily Prettyboy D-O. As one of the most vibrant voices of Nigeria’s dream-pop indie scene, the rapper/singer demonstrates his strengths alongside IAMDDB on the enchanting "Falling."
The Art of the Remix
Today I wanna ask: ‘what makes a good remix?’ I see the word over-used in contemporary music, we'll see a lengthy social media rollout of a remix of a hit song we're still banging, and then bam! We've just got new generic guest features, with the only significant change to the song being its extended run time. And no, that's not what I call a good remix.
The perfect remix is all about finding a balance. The original song must be present enough to be recognisable, but please, for the love of God, it should not be the exact same. The arrangement, instrumentation, or any other changes, need to approach the tune from a new angle, shining a different light on a track we already love. One track that nailed just this balance is Amaarae's "Sad Girlz Luv Money Remix" with a special an on-brand feature from Kali Uchis.
Another remix I was really impressed with this week is the Scorpion Kings Remix of Masego's "Mystery Lady." The South African producer duo of DJ Maphorisa and Kabza De Small, turns Masego's original soulful instrumentalization into a goosebump-inducing Amapiano beat, with jazzy breaks and house peaks.
On Your Radar
Prettyboy D-O should already be on your radar, but if he's not you've been missing out and we need to fix that ASAP.
The free-wheeling, colorfully-dressed Prettyboy D-O is just as exciting visually as he is sonically. A well-rounded artist, the singer/rapper had his starts in Nigeria's iconic Alté scene, which helped him craft his quintessential sound and rockstar persona. With bouncing, bass-heavy productions, D-O's danceable tunes are also laced with wonderful lyricism and ghetto gospels depicting street life in Nigeria. It's a bizarrely good militaristic fusion of rap, dancehall, and Afrobeats perhaps best illustrated in singles like "Living in Bondage" and "Same Energy."
His latest single "Falling" is just further proof that Prettyboy D-O doesn't do mid, it's solid hits on this end and you should pay attention.
A Feast for Your Eyes & Ears
Bnnyhunna is one of a kind. I've long been a fan of his ability to craft intricate soundscapes that transport you to a world of memories and feelings. Not a lot of producers can manage this without vocals lacing their tracks, but on his debut EP SINTHA Benny does just that. Over just 12 minutes and 4 songs, the Amsterdam-based creative delivers a full sonic experience with abbreviations of neo-soul, hip-hop, jazz, and spoken word.
And to accompany the soaring project, a short film spells out the emotional trip that inspired the music. Feast your eyes (and ears) on SINTHA.