TUNE OF THE MONTH
Lazy Love (Motown/ Compound)
Just in case you need a reminder, when he’s not getting his European dance game on with Calvin Harris and co, Ne-Yo sings ACTUAL R’N’B. On top of that, ‘Lazy Love’, taken from new album R.E.D., his fifth studio offering, is the kind of sweet ballad you need to be serenaded with at this time of year. Sexy soul, produced by Roc Nation’s Shea Taylor (Beyoncé, Chris Brown) and with Ne-Yo’s superb delivery, it’s a thumbs-up all round.
Kendrick Lamar (pictured) feat Dr Dre
Yes! There is still good rap out there. Kendrick Lamar’s album ‘Good Kid, m.A.A.d City’ has enjoyed most of this quarter’s street heat, and rightly so. ‘Compton’, featuring the legendary Dr Dre, is just one example of what’s on offer. Produced by Just Blaze, it’s the workings of those fine, old-skool synths, big funk vocals and ‘Compton’-inspired bars that make this essential. A rap song with lyrics actually worth listening to.
Guap (G.O.O.D Music)
Taken from the Big one’s second studio album, ‘Hall of Fame: Memoirs of a Detroit Player’, this is all about stacking the notes and getting that “Guap right now”, Yes, that means money. Anyone hooked on the Drake/Kendrick Lamar school of thought should look in this direction too. Signed to Kanye’s G.O.O.D Music (if you don’t have the two albums then fix up), there’s no sub standard hip hop to be heard here.
Rap Rave (Stay Fizzy/Ministry of Sound)
Having worked his way around the grime scene over the last couple of years, and with the skippiest flow you’ll have heard in a while, Scrufizzer enjoys his first commercial release via Ministry of Sound. Produced by the rave-flavoured Paperboy, this will have you on your feet by the chorus. Scrufizzer is one of the few MCs who can still work for the club – he also features on the official UK remix of Angel Haze’s ‘New York’ for a bonus point.
Matrix & Futurebound feat Baby Blue
Magnetic Eyes (TC remix) (3 Beat)
We all know what 3 Beat are good at: big dance singles. We’ve been here before. So chances are the beat was always going to be a winner: nice steady build, explosion, ticks all the boxes… throw in Baby Blue, who can sing as well as rap, and we’re getting somewhere. But unless you go to clubs called Eros, please opt for the TC remix. Chilling out the parts that are just too much for any ageing brain, this gets the final nod of approval here.
Lost (Island/Def Jam)
“No Frank Lotion…” they now joke on Twitter, as a result of the sexual revelations that accompanied the release of Frank’s album, ‘Channel Orange’. But tracks like ‘Lost’ are too good to be, er, lost amid the nonsense. Matching the funk to the smooth r’n’b vocal you’d expect from the man who’s put the sex back into soul, ‘Lost’ is simply another reminder to buy the album – if you haven’t already.
Worry About You (Island)
If it wasn’t for the unmistakable falsetto and soul twist, this could fit nicely on a James Morrison album – and that’s no bad thing. At the poppier end of the r’n’b scale, ‘Worry About You’, the second single from James’ sophomore album, ‘A Place I Go’, lightens the mood left by the darkness of his post-Voice outing, ‘Single Tear’. Like this? You’ll love the album.
‘Karmageddon’ is proof of Dot Rotten’s ability to look further than the average MC’s horizons. In a sense, though, this track feels disjointed, as if the vocal wasn’t intended for the genre-defying beat (d’n’b? Pop breaks? Who knows) – but that goes some way to making sense of the title and why Zane Lowe picked it as one of his hottest records. Even if you don’t quite get what’s going on, try it.