1. ‘Skin’ by Joy Crookes
Check out: “When You Were Mine”, “Kingdom”, “Theek Ache”, “Power”, “Skin”
Release date: October 15, 2021
The British-Bangladeshi-Irish singer-songwriter, Joy Crookes, brings the sounds of a multicultural London to the forefront with her much-anticipated debut album, ‘Skin’. The sounds of Crookes’ contemporaries emanate in some of these tracks such as the English singer Celeste in “To Lose Someone”. “Kingdom” is almost like a rock song by Kate Nash in the mid-00s. And this isn’t a surprise as Crookes has been vocal about her admiration for the rock and punk icon before.
“Feet Don’t Fail Me Now”, the triumphant lead single which was released earlier this year, is the singer’s admission to having been quiet in the face of oppression, to being passive or performative rather than effective in activist work. Joy promises that she will not be performative or shallow in her activism. Never again. Moving on, some of the chord progressions in “Wild Jasmine” sound almost like evergreen Bollywood music. Or like 60s soul music. But it’s great nevertheless.
Many albums begin with loud, maximalist tracks before settling into quiet intensity with the ballads. The same can be said for ‘Skin’ which generally goes from loud band production to more piano-backed songs in the second half with “Skin”, “Power” and “Theek Ache” being the highlights among the softer sound. Crookes & Co. shine bright in all of the tracks. With this colourful debut album, Crookes proves her place as the leading voice in the neo-soul and British soul genres.
2. ‘Naseeb EP’ by Dee MC
Genre: Hip Hop
Highlights: “Khushnaseeb”, “Badnaseeb”
Release date: October 21, 2021
Mumbai-based rapper Deepa Unnikrishnan’s newly released EP has an economic running time of a total of 9 minutes and 15 seconds. This EP has three proper tracks with a running theme: Naseeb, meaning luck.
With only three tracks and two interludes sandwiched in between, ‘Naseeb’ feels more like a mini-EP. There is some interesting collaboration with the renowned producer Halftone Beats in the closing track “Naseeb”. But the opening track, “Khushnaseeb”, mostly belongs to the featuring artist rapper Frappe Ash with Dee MC swooping in later to start rapping her verse.
The track “Badnaseeb” has Dee trying her hand at singing. It’s pretty soothing to listen to and has some endearing lyrics. Much of the sounds on this extended play have the potential to be remixed into lo-fi music meant for studying, relaxing and sleeping. Anyone up for the lo-fi remix challenge?
The two interludes, which have Dee giving herself motivational pep talks in the form of voice messages, do not do much to push this record further in the terms of ambition or music. Here’s to hoping that ‘Naseeb’ EP is just a teaser record to a much bigger production in the near future.
3. ‘Something For Thee Hotties’ by Megan Thee Stallion
Genre: Hip Hop / Freestyle Rap
Highlights: “Eat It”, “Thot Sh**”, “Tuned In Freestyle”, “Bless The Booth Freestyle”, “Megan Monday Freestyle”, ” Warning ”
Release date: October 29, 2021
The rapper from Houston, Texas has gifted her fans a compilation album in the form of “Something For Thee Hotties” to spice up their Halloween. The album is like an archive
with a mix of older freestyles alongside never before heard tracks. It’s like Megan heard her fans’ demands for a separate album for all her unofficial – but fire – freestyles such as “Tuned In”, “Megan Monday Freestyle” and “Southside Forever Freestyle”. We also get older non-freestyle tracks such as “Warning” and “Bae Goals” along with newer material like “Eat It”.
With this compilation, Megan turns up the temperature, being as brazenly sexual and confident as ever and reminding people once again that she is a rap artist to be taken seriously. Most of her contemporaries are indeed not capable of holding a candle to her. We know that for sure. Also, this record might induce listeners to develop an appetite for Megan’s new hot sauce developed in collaboration with Popeyes named “Hottie Sauce”. Purchase it for a hot and spicy treat.
4. ‘est. 1999’ by Lost Girl
Genre: Garage / Dance
Best Tracks: “I Won’t Give Up”, “Lazy Love”, “Arizona”
Release date: November 5, 2021
The twenty-one-year-old singer-songwriter from Reading, England has released her first official record, the EP ‘est. 1999’. Lost Girl brings back garage influences, but “with a distinctly modern edge”, with the stylish new EP. One of the highlights is “Lazy Love”, a classic-sounding two-step production that features versatile rapper Ivorian Doll. “Rockabye”, which features the explosive rapper BackRoad Gee, is a highly addictive tune with lyrics that will stick in your memory for a long time. You will find yourself rapping/singing along to Lost Girl’s angry lyrics that target a certain wayward boy that used to be in her life. The extended play ends with the melodious “Arizona” which has
enough swagger to put Lost Girl as a music artist to watch for. We recommend her to the fans of Jorja Smith, Mahalia and Mabel who are all talented British artists currently ruling R&B pop.
Lost Girl and PinkPantheress (who released the smashing new EP ‘to hell with it’) are currently the new young and upcoming flag bearers of the very British garage sound.
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