THE CUTS is a weekly review that introduces you to new songs and videos. The songs and videos covered are not genre or region-specific. Once we find it dope, we’ll share our thoughts on it here.
Juls – Blessed feat Miraa May & Donae’O
Juls is one of the most hardworking guys in music today. His incredible talent as a producer and DJ aside, he has couched a lane as your favorite taste master when it comes to contemporary Afropop sound. In 2020, the British-Ghanaian producer and DJ has released “Happy Place“, a 5-song EP that transverses the soundscapes of afropop, amapiano and reggae.
His latest work “Blessed” features fellow Londoners Miraa May and Donae’O. “Blessed” is uptempo in tone. The crushing rhythms and taut drums gift the song its pulsating feel. A song about chasing your dream and reaping the benefits of your labour, Mira May’s RnB inflected vocals open the record up on the first verse. Donae’O comes in later, on the second verse to complement the theme of the song. Juls’ producer abilities is well known and documented. One skill that needs to be complemented more often is his A&R abilities as proven on “Blessed” where he places two different acts- an RnB/Soul artist with an afro-swing fellow. This, he has consistently proven to be great at.
Amaarae – LEAVE ME ALONE
Who’s AMAARAE?! A question I have asked myself a couple of times, mostly when she had released new music or featured on a record. Her musical brilliance – from influences, compositions and songwriting is top-notch. A keen listener could notice influences from Erykah Badu, Sade and Janet Jackson, as well as the Atlanta hip hop scene. One noticeable thing about Amaarae is her obsession with perfection. She, like a consummate artist that she is, knows exactly what she wants in terms of sonic quality and overall composition.
“LEAVE ME ALONE” wears all these components and more. Amaarae’s sharp falsetto voice glints across the Kuvie and KzTheProducer produced mid-tempo afropop sound with dancehall vignettes. The guitar progression at the beginning of the song bears semblance with Jada Kingdom’s ”Execution” and La Meme’s ”Reveal”. A song about the suffocation born from a bad relationship, Amaarae’s lyrics itemizes actions by her partner that “fucks up my mental” and desires to “be alone”. “LEAVE ME ALONE” is the first record from Amaarae and the lead single off her upcoming album.
Super JazzClub – Bordeaux
Gentle guitar strums serve as the foundation for “Bordeaux“, a new track from the music collective Super JazzClub. As their visibility grows, so is their sound- airy, galactic, with RnB/soul/hip hop inflexions. The collective has been consistent with their releases during the Covid-19 period. As a collective, they have not released much music. The opposite is the case as individuals. Fellow acts like BiQo (M’afe Wo), Seyyoh (Get It Right), Øbed (Do You Mind), Ansah Live (Let Me Know) have all dropped amazing singles. “Bordeaux” is the Collective’s single and bares all the sonic trademarks of the group. Like its name, the song feels rich in appeal and cosmic in texture. Featuring lead vocals from Muthoni, EDWVN, Narah and Tronomie, additional vocals were sourced from 10 other artists.
Bordeaux” however, is a haunting tale about finding sanity in this grim world. “There is no help on the way/losing my mind and if in case I should find it tonight/ I’d probably toss it across the bridge/ I sleep better without it”; the song’s lyrics reveal. The fascinating thing about the record has to do with the production process: the patience and the skills needed in stacking all these various vocals into one song. The outcome is one they are proud of.
Klu – Own Money
Klu’s contribution to hip hop in particular and modern Ghanaian music scene in general, is a topic we must discuss. The list of artists who have passed through his Adenta studio, either to record or learn the rudiments of music production is tall. (Notable names include Mr Eazi, Fuse ODG, Ko-Jo Cue). Klu is one of the pioneering figures of trap music in Ghana along with Dex Kwasi. With such a reputation, it’s unsurprising to find him active on the scene.
“Own Money” is his new tune. The hip hop record is a presentation on how to hustle for money. Shot in a monochromatic format, the video is largely presented in a Colors Studio style. To suit the theme of the song, Klu is seen, in one frame, working as a mobile money vendor. In another shot, he’s seen by his SUV watching over his workers (vendors). I hope Klu got paid for that MTN placement.
Pryme Kingz feat. Shay La Rose – R.N.B
South London collective Pryme Kingz have a potential summer jam on their hands with their tune RNB. The mid-tempo love song with its enchanting Caribbean feel also pays homage to the late 90s R&B superstars like Jodeci, 112, Joe and more who helped elevate the music genre to its global status. Produced by the collective, the fusion of dancehall and afropop influences with RnB elements offers the song a compelling attraction among a diverse group of music listeners. The song’s audience appeal is seen in the 100,000 Spotify plays it has garnered thus far.