Mic Drop: Hip-Hop, House and Where We Hail From

Mic Drop: Hip-Hop, House and Where We Hail From

Bree Runway – “Hot Hot”
Bree Runway – “Hot Hot”
Screenshot: YouTube

It’s a new month, and you know what they say about April—how it brings showers and all that. Well, this week’s artists have showered us in house, hip hop and dancehall tracks. House is just one of those genres that you can’t help but dance to and while traditional beats are incorporated across different genres, the staple of the genre will always have you ready to go out and get down. Hip hop and dancehall are just as easy to move to and this week’s tracks only emphasize that, even combining the two genres to create absolute bangers. Dance remains tried and true this week and holds it down across the board—even if the lyrics might have us in our bag.

Another theme this week? Where these artists call home—specifically, Chicago. Producer oddCouple has a strong connection to the Windy City and puts emphasis on Chicago-based artists such as Jamila Woods and Chance the Rapper. This week he collaborated with Woods on an R&B neo-soul track and as always, the two made magic. Speaking of magic, Nez rode through the streets of Chicago with 8AE and Flo Milli in a black and white video that, dripped in jewels, speaks for itself.

While we dance away the pandemic blues and create our own clubs (in the house) is clear that we’re going to be showered in hits all month long.

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Bankroll Freddie “Pop It (feat. Megan Thee Stallion)”

Bankroll Freddie “Pop It (feat. Megan Thee Stallion)”

We’ve been told to “pop it,” and if Megan is doing it, I guess it’s worth looking into. Bankroll Freddie has been killing it in 2021 with multiple single drops and a newly released mixtape “Big Bank.” The fast-paced beats blend with Freddie’s muted vocals keeping with his lyrical style. His black and white set is complimented by luxurious cars of all shades, a custom jersey and a big (bank) icey chain. Of course, when Megan’s on a track it becomes her track. From her signature “I’m the hottest in the game,” flow to also being iced out, she comes in, shakes some ass, spits some rhymes and leaves us poppin’ it. All lyrics aside though, I foresee snakeskin cowboy hats being a major trend this summer.

April 2, 2021, Quality Control Music/Motown Records (Hip Hop)

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Bree Runway – “Hot Hot”

Bree Runway – “Hot Hot”

Giving us summer car wash feels, Bree Runway will make anyone want to be in the vehicles she’s working on. I mean, who wouldn’t want to be in a lime green car or pearly white motorcycle, regardless? Her partially animated and vibrant video matches the energy of the lyrics and beats in “Hot Hot.” The dance hall-esque rhythm mixed with her combination of singing and rapping will truly make you spontaneously combust. And the trust that she has in her top is greater than the trust I have in anything…

March 31, 2021, EMI (Hip Hop)

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Brian McKnight – “Never Get Enough”

Brian McKnight – “Never Get Enough”

Brian McKnight has remixed and released some of his greatest hits on a self-titled mixtape, Brian McKnight - Remixed. The mixtape includes both the club and radio edits of his tracks, produced by Terry Hunter. This rendition of “Never Get Enough” features wavy synths, hothouse beats and funky drums. The flowing melody and harmony come in and out and build towards the horn section and the beat drop along in the hook. His smooth vocals, remixed to reverberate alongside the horns, add an additional layer to the end of the song. Brian McKnight - Remixed is now available on all streaming platforms.

April 2, 2021, SoNo Recording Group LLC (House)

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Charmaine – “Double Dutch”

Charmaine – “Double Dutch”

Dripped in gold, Charmaine embodies hood avant-garde—which happens to be the title of her latest EP. Her heaven-sent fit has her sitting on a cloud, dressed in a baroque corset and satin bustier. The dynamic vocals alternate between a high-pitched lyrical sound and a clapping beat in the chorus. The fast tempo of the song will not only make you want to get up and dance but may even inspire you to pull out the jump ropes.

April 2, 2021, WM Canada (Hip Hop)

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Elhae, Masego – “My City”

Elhae, Masego – “My City”

I have what one might call, a small (major) obsession with Masego. And ever since hearing Elhae’s “Fun Fact,” I’ve been intrigued by the artist. The ode to their city overlooks the mountains and features traditional golf attire and afros. The R&B vocals set against the hip hop style beats give the song a dynamic edge that matches the lyrical flow of both artists. Elhae’s rap-like vocals are clearly identifiable and Masego’s signature style complements each other in an exciting way. Sexy strawberries, sunsets, suicide doors and a surprising lack of saxophones clearly represent the love they have for their home.

March 26, 2021, Motown (R&B)

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H.E.R. – “Fight For You” (Official Video)

H.E.R. – “Fight For You” (Official Video)

H.E.R’s “Fight For You” off of the Judas and the Black Messiah album shook listeners with its powerful lyrics, vocals and catchy rhythm. The movie, which recently premiered on HBO Max, shows the life and legacy of Fred Hampton and the events that directly led to his assassination. The newly released video shows the most powerful moments in the film from the iconic church scenes directly after his release from prison to lighter and more playful scenes driving around in the rain. The video is interspersed with the message and legacy of the Black Panthers and set to H.E.R’s lyrics drives home the importance and power of the movement.

April 5, 2021, Six Course Music Group/RCA Records (R&B)

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Naomi Cowan – “Energy”

Naomi Cowan – “Energy”

Why yes, Izy Beats has done it again—and this time, Naomi Cowan has brought the energy. This afrobeats and dancehall artist has let us all know that no one can dim her light and we should be getting up and dancing with her. Her vocals change and evolve throughout the song, building from melancholy to upbeat and matching the vibe of the track. Going back and forth with a lover, Cowan gives us a very sweet yet very danceable track.

March 31, 2021, New Kingston Five Limited (Afrobeats)

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Lakeyah – “Easy”

Lakeyah – “Easy”

As we know, female rappers have been and continue to kill the rap game and Lakeyah is no exception. Her bop-y flow switches up and keeps it interesting in this mob-style song and video. The 19-year-old rapper really is making it look easy while still being hard AF. She’s got the finest of fine men completely shirtless, serving her dinner and counting her stacks. The exquisite and entirely mahogany mansion she lives in is the home to her hustle because as her own boss (as well as everyone else’s) she’s really making it look easy.

April 2, 2021, Quality Control Music (Caroline) (Hip Hop)

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Nez – “To The Money (feat. Flo Milli, 8AE)”

Nez – “To The Money (feat. Flo Milli, 8AE)”

They’re getting straight to the money and about that money in NEZ’s newest house-inspired track. The black and white video features 8AE in pearls and chunky box braids. We’ve got dudes on bikes riding through the streets in leather trench coats and Flo Milli on her Flo Milli shit giving us rich bitch vibes. The bouncy house-inspired beat will not only have you dancing but bring you that pre-pandemic club flavor. “Keep your drama and your hoes” feels like not only the summer 2021 mantra but a mindset we all need to keep. As he takes to the streets with two high-powered Black female artists, Nez makes a statement about Chicago-inspired house music and its impact on the music industry. “Dance music is Black music,” said the rapper.

March 30, 2021, Three Six Zero Recordings (Hip Hop/House)

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oddCouple – Reflections (feat. Jamila Woods)

oddCouple – Reflections (feat. Jamila Woods)

Executive producer of Jamila Woods’ debut album HEAVN, oddCouple, and Woods have collaborated again on a neo-soul track, “Reflections.” The Chicago producer has worked with some of the top names in the city and continues to build that legacy with this new song. The deep beats resonate with the soul and pull the listener in with the hook and bassline. Woods’ vocals hold their signature ethereal quality and pose questions about love and loss and hold true to her lyrical style.

April 2, 2021, oddCouple (R&B)

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Poté, Damon Albarn – “Young Lies (feat. Damon Albarn)”

Poté, Damon Albarn – “Young Lies (feat. Damon Albarn)”

Up and coming artist Poté gives us a visual dance experience taking place among a backdrop of a red-velvet stage and city lights. Portraying a narrative of the Black experience, Poté features both fast-paced vocals and lyrics mixed with smooth harmonic singing that resonates with the soul. The smooth vocals and muted house beats mixed with melodic percussion. Moving from cars to flashing imagery, Poté builds his own take on the dance, house and lyrical genres. It’s the type of music that will make one think and rethink the way the genres are built and how the visuals impact what exactly it is we hear.

March 30, 2021, Outlier (Dance)

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DISCUSSION