While we are stuck inside and isolated, music is a great source of healing and allows us to escape for brief periods of time. These five projects are enjoyable no matter what, check out what we’ve been listening to below.
Wax Roof – Top Floor
Oakland-based producer Wax Roof’s soulful production is simple yet blissful; his melodies are superb and fluid. He harnesses elements from jazz and hip-hop to craft his sound. His songs are built with unorthodox tones and various instruments while developing a sound with unique chemistry that’s easy to be enthralled with. Featuring a slew of Bay Area artists, the EP is only four tracks yet each is as refreshing as the next.
Westside Gunn – Pray for Paris
Buffalo, New York’s Westside Gunn never fails to disappoint; after surviving a harsh battle with COVID-19, Gunn stepped back into the spotlight to deliver a 13-track meal. Embracing both 90’s boom-bap and coke rap, “Pray for Paris,” oozes with style and purpose. Featuring timeless guest appearances, the album is stacked with talent, from Tyler, the Creator to Freddie Gibbs. It’s grimy and transportive; the instrumentals instantly create an elation that can often come from the skilled 90’s coke rapper’s confident wordplay.
Kent Jamz & Buddy – Janktape Vol. 1
Los Angeles-based artists Kent Jamz and Buddy team up for a vibrant, lively EP. Buddy and Kent Jamz make lots of songs together, so a collaborative project just makes sense. Both artists have similar high pitched vocal inflections and both write a mix of humorous and hard lyrics. The mix of the two creates entertaining chemistry that never dies throughout the 10-track project.
Kenny Mason – Angelic Hoodrat
Kenny Mason had a breakout 2019, the young artist’s viral single “Hit” led the charge for Atlanta’s young burgeoning alt-rap scene. Mason’s debut project “Angelic Hoodrat” showcases the artist’s wide range of sounds and flows, experimenting with rock-influenced production and lyrics on “Lean.” To say the least, “Angelic Hoodrat” is refreshing, filling and a must-listen for any avid music listener.
Rina Sawayama – Sawayama
What makes Rina Sawayama’s latest album so enticing is the way she fuzes all the best things about 2000s pop music with her own musical DNA. The British-Japanese singer sings about the effects of capitalism over rich 2000’s style production on “XS.” Although every other song channels the strong nostalgic pop roots, Sawayama owns it.