Freudian: Daniel Caesar

Two songs came out in 2016 that didn’t receive the airplay they deserved until later this year. These two songs are now certified classics. Songs you will play a month from now, on your wedding day and to your kids on long road trips.

Goldlink – Crew

Daniel Caesar – Get You

Once ‘Get You’ hit, Daniel Caesar’s shot to fame was bright and meteoric. When his first EP (Praise Break, 2014) came out, it was ranked number 19 on Rolling Stone’s Top Twenty R&B albums of 2014. I felt very left out. He’s been on his grind for three years but we’re only listening to him now? That’s the price artists pay for stardom. No-one cares how good you are until you have your first hit. Coincidentally, Goldlink.

Anyway, Daniel hasn’t stopped working hard.

His debut album Freudian is a sonical landscape of love and heartbreak intertwined like lovers on Insecure. On ‘Best Part’, his duet with H.E.R, aided by softly-strung guitars, hands inch closer to each other, stares grow deeper, the shade under the tree is warmer.

You’re my water when I’m stuck in the desert
You’re the Tylenol I take when my head hurts
You’re the sunshine on my life

‘Hold Me Down’ takes gospel and turns it into a PartyNextDoor interlude. Kirk Franklin into Tiller.

The rest of the album plays like a live concert. Songs flow into each other sounding better together than apart.

‘Loose’ plays out like intimate backstage practice. On the last half of the song, he performs the introduction to ‘We find love’ and it sounds like unrequited love. Sad, harsh, beautiful. When the song begins, this turns this into a rally cry. Breakups suck but it isn’t the end. We rise and we fall. The end is not the end.

You don’t love me anymore
Let’s see how you like this song

He still want to be loved though. He still wants it to all mean something.

Ever since the day that I met you
My world’s been spinning out of control
I just need you to hold

On ‘Blessed’, Daniel is a junkie at the knees of love. I may not be good for you but I can’t live without you.

It’s the way that you pray
Prey on my insecurities

Daniel takes his gospel roots and, hand in hand with an actual gospel choir, redefines soul in 2017.

This album will be a classic. Quote me.

 

Here’s a really nice piano cover. I hope it makes your day a little brighter:

 Image: Billboard

Rated: 4.4 /5

 

Yes Lawd!: Anderson .Paak / Knxwledge

Anderson .Paak is winning. In 2016 he got his big break. He released his debut album Malibu. He signed with Dre. Everyone wants a piece of him now, he knows this. Malibu and Venice were two very mature projects, bending and winding into the complex themes of Anderson .Paak’s life. Therefore, he deserves a little fun. As a result, we have Yes Lawd! 

With his candy paint smooth voice and Knxwledge on production, Nxworries may arguably be the smoothest duo of 2017. Signed to the iconic Stones Throw Records that has housed the likes of Madlib, MF Doom and J Dilla. Iconic producers in their own right. 

‘Suede’ being the first single to push the project, Anderson .Paak addresses the various girls who want to “ride in his car” (catch the innuendo). He differentiates the “tricks” from the bitches, and ensures that everyone is on the same page.

Gotta whole lot of women, all of them with it
Yes Lord!

The question here is: Is Anderson .Paak sexist or are his pimp genes too strong?

And as long as you don’t call after 6
Then there won’t be any problem

Geez, that’s cold man.

A recurring theme in .Paak’s lyrics is his difficulty of choice between commitment and dishing free loving. He asks the girls to come through in ‘Link up’ where he proceeds to pied piper them back to his place. However, In ‘Sidepiece’ he croons his devotion to one woman, for whom he would gladly give up everyone else for.

The feels take over rationality in ‘Starlite’: he’s in the process of breaking up with her when their song plays and he asks her to fuck everything he’s just said, and stay the night.

Hey, got damn, bitch, they playing our song
I wanna stay with you all night long
Forget every single word I’ve said, I was dead wrong

Before I go any further, you have to remember that this is an Anderson .Paak and Knxwledge album. While the mainstream public is generally familiar with Anderson .Paak by now, they aren’t as privileged when it comes to Knxwledge.

One thing you should know is that his first release was in 2010 and since then he has released about 80 albums and EPs, establishing himself as a legend, in a little under 7 years. If that isn’t hard work I don’t know what is.

Knxwledge is the background calm to .Paak’s hyper charisma. If their music was a club: Anderson would be wilding out at the centre of the dancefloor and Knxwledge would be standing at the back, bobbing his head, vibing to the music and smoking a blunt.

His production really shines in ‘Kutless’ and ‘Can’t Stop’, particularly from the 00:40 mark. Both sound like raw honey tastes, with Knxwledge’s snazzy loops: perfectly sliced and placed samples, as his signature.  80’s nostalgia is prevalent with that jamming Yamaha DX7 synth sound in ‘Scared Money’. Maybe .Paak singing over the first track from Knxwledge’s 2013 album Kauliflowr on ‘Wngs’ can prove to you just how great of a stand-alone artist Knxwledge is, and when fused together with another great artist, magic ensues.

Bless Lawd for this collaboration.

Rated: 3.9 / 5

Image: Consequence of Sound

Lyrics: Genius

A case for “Awaken, my love!”

I like people that are more than they are beyond the surface. People that you can’t analyze from a single facet. People that are unapologetically themselves. Donald Glover, being a stellar example.

Donald Glover is many things to many people. Troy (Community), Earn (Atlanta) or Childish Gambino. On this new record, many people think that he doesn’t sound like himself. Or rather, the Childish that they know. The Childish that they wanted. I think that he went a step further. This is the Childish that we didn’t expect. The Childish that, quite honestly, I’m thankful for.

Let’s start with Atlanta. I think it’s an offense not to have watched this show. Its brilliant. Funny without being obnoxious. The laugh track is you and I and half of the punchlines aren’t bazinga. It’s like Louie but on orange kush. I hadn’t realized this until after listening to the album but the music style that Childish took in this new record wasn’t a total surprise, if you listen to the songs on the series. Maybe he meant to mislead us. I mean, the varying theme songs were all hip-hop like Sage the Gemini’s “Gas Pedal” and “Law” by Yo Gotti. But then, underneath that all, we have gems like “New Person, Same old Mistakes” by Tame Impala, “Space Song” by Beach House and, the glorious “Change of Guard” by Kamasi Washington. These songs, and many others in the series, showed us that we probably weren’t going to get the Gambino that expected. And listening to this new album, that isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

Childish Gambino has always had an extraordinary vision. His last album, Because the Internet, had an entire screenplay. In fact, the album was the soundtrack to the screenplay! It’s a masterful piece of writing. In it, Rick Ross plays his father, Chance the Rapper a friend and Jhene Aiko a love interest. Even though this is all limited to our imagination, isn’t all literature? You really should read it, it’s quite worth it.

According to an interview he did, the album was inspired by the music that his father and him loved and, listening to the entire album, you can tell that his muse is his son. I mean, Me and Your Mama? That’s either the prelude to an insult or an ode to a child. I could analyze the album track by track but I don’t want to. The album, just like his conception of family, is united. It isn’t simply a collection of singles, which many albums these days are. We do have standouts like “Redbone” but I don’t think it would have the magnificence that it has if were it alone.

Funk music expresses itself through its sheer musicality. Childish is a rapper and what he’s done in his career is express himself lyrically. The shift from that to this is pretty extraordinary and anyone that thought Camp was amazing (looking at you Pitchfork) knows that Childish is an extraordinary writer. He did write for 30 Rock after all, one of the best sitcoms of the decade. This isn’t to say that being a screenwriter makes you a rapper by default. What I’m saying is that Childish has a way with words and moving from that to all the vivid sounds on his new project was a chasm-spanning leap of faith and I can say with utter conviction, that he landed on the other side.

A week or so ago a friend wrote on their twitter feed that their favorite Childish Gambino song was “Me and your mama”. At the time I thought that was a pretty pretentious thing to say, seeing that it really didn’t sound like Childish. But after spending all week listening to it, drunk, sober, sad, happy, I really couldn’t agree more.

This album is a cosmic trip and it would be a tragedy to miss it.

Rated: 4.0 / 5