Soul

Artist: 
Mac Ayres
Label: 
Fate Records LLC

Mac Ayres's "Drive Slow" was an album I knew I would like as soon as I took a listen to one of the songs, "Slow Down", one day. So, naturally, once I found this CD up for review, I knew i had to review it myself. Mac Ayres has wonderful R&B vocals that are soft yet masculine. His vocal style and lyrics are reminiscent of Khalid. Smooth vocals that don't have too much energy but not boring glide over each melody. His voice is clear and hits every note perfectly like a seasoned performer.

Sounds Like: 
Frank Ocean = simple beats and professional vocals
Sounds Like: 
Khalid - lyrics are similar in style and both have great voices for R&B
Name: 
Alli Gilbreath
Date Reviewed: 
11/14/2017
Artist: 
Ozy Reigns
Label: 
Self-Released
After a brief hiatus from his last LP, Ozy Reigns has come out with the wide-ranging, EP, "Sunborn". Reigns states the EP is "a dedication to all who strive to live their dreams", as the EP works to inspire the struggles of the hustlers and dreamers around the world. It's demonstrated with the EP's alternative hip-hop vibes, perhaps straying from the mainstream, but more personal and meaningful for the audiences who are listening. 
 
Sounds Like: 
Mos Def
Sounds Like: 
Talib Kweli
Name: 
Amit Sen
Date Reviewed: 
11/08/2017
Artist: 
Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats
Label: 
Stax

Live at Red Rocks was my first exposure to Nathaniel Rateliff. I had no idea what to expect and what I was about to listen to. The fact that it was a live albulm only added to my uncertaintity because I was not sure if the versions of songs I was about to listen to would be the weaker or stronger version in comparison to the studio versions. After listening to Live at Red Rocks, I can honestly say that if this live version turns out to be the weaker version of his songs, then Rateliff and the Night Sweats are one of the great current soul and blues artists living.

Sounds Like: 
Bruce Springsteen
Sounds Like: 
Alabama Shakes
Name: 
Jude Fomeche
Date Reviewed: 
11/08/2017
Artist: 
Little Dragon
Label: 
Loma Vista Recordings

"Whoever said the small things don't matter, has never seen a match start a wildfire" - Beau Taplin. I think that this quote sums up Little Dragon's newest single, "Peace of Mind," very well. The song does take a minimalist approach for the first few seconds; however, don't be fooled by it. From there, more instruments are introduced in--what I would call nothing less than--perfect timing, and the track's big, dreamy sound unfolds.

Sounds Like: 
SBTRKT
Sounds Like: 
TLC
Sounds Like: 
Gorillaz
Name: 
Nick Ramos
Date Reviewed: 
10/18/2017

Ash

Artist: 
Ibeyi
Label: 
XL Recordings Limited

French-Cuban twin sisters Lisa Kainde and Naomi Diaz have created an ethereal, beat-heavy album full of beautiful, strong cawing melodies. "Ash" is a mix of soul, hip-hop, jazz, and a Wax Tailor-esque use of audio clips that are wholly powerful amidst the beat of the drums and the calls of the duo and their backing choir. This album is worth every moment that it plays, a mix of Cuban tradition and feminist message. 

Sounds Like: 
French-Cuban activist version of FKA Twigs
Sounds Like: 
Wax Tailor / Benjamin Clementine's child
Name: 
Hannah Isaac
Date Reviewed: 
10/11/2017
Artist: 
Benjamin Booker
Label: 
ATO Records

Muscle Shoals meets garage punk. Witness is a record that poignantly discusses contemporary race problems in America, written through the lens of a New Orleanian soul signer. He's angry, and his sense of righteous indignation blends beautifully with his signature sound. Booker's guitar playing is soulful and powerful, yet eclectic and playful at the same time. The sense of confusion and powerless that accompanies the lyrics expresses itself repeatedly throughout the album in Booker's guitar-god virtuosity.

Sounds Like: 
Mavis Staples
Sounds Like: 
The Alabama Shakes
Name: 
Will Fotter
Date Reviewed: 
09/06/2017
Artist: 
Khalid
Label: 
RCA Records

There are not enough words to describe how incredible Khalid’s debut album, American Teen is.

Sounds Like: 
DVSN
Sounds Like: 
Gallant
Name: 
Javi Perez
Date Reviewed: 
04/06/2017
Artist: 
Lupe Fiasco
Label: 
1st and 15th Entertainment

Lupe Fiasco’s new album introduces itself with a shocking display of force: “Dopamine Lit (Intro)” is two minutes and 49 seconds of foghorn bass, fiery bars, and a half-joking, half-drunken chorus that includes a Billboard flip-off, a Lord of the Rings reference, and some self-consciously nonsensical trap grunts, for good measure. The song especially feels like a pleasant surprise attack when held against the eternally put-upon rapper’s consistently inconsistent delivery over the last few years.

Sounds Like: 
Ab-Soul
Sounds Like: 
Wale
Sounds Like: 
Kid Cudi
Name: 
Jacob Sky Bruse
Date Reviewed: 
03/22/2017
Artist: 
Jacquees, Def Loaf
Label: 
Jacquees X Dej Loaf

          Dej Loaf and Jacquees have arrived as a duo with their mixtape "Fuck A Friend Zone." This 13 track mixtape is 40 minutes long, each song ranging from 2-3:30 minutes. Dej and Jacquees cover their bases in the hip-hop and r&b genre. The songs are very diverse and explore all areas of hip-hop and r&b but stick strictly to the two genres. The project begins with title track Fuck A Friend Zone, Jacquees and Dej Loaf sing about their feelings for each other referencing the growth in their careers.

Sounds Like: 
Jeremih
Sounds Like: 
TWENTY88
Name: 
Brieana Sealy
Date Reviewed: 
03/10/2017
Artist: 
BJ the Chicago Kid
Label: 
Motown

Bryan Sledge, professionally known as BJ the Chicago Kid, is honestly a very underrated artist. Although most people have probaby heard him on other artists' songs (Studio by ScHoolboy Q and F.U.B.U. by Solange are examples that come to mind), his own music deserves more recognition. A good mixture of soul and modern hip-hop beats, BJ the Chicago Kid has released a new single called "Roses", a little over a year after the release of his second album In My Mind.

Sounds Like: 
Miguel
Sounds Like: 
The-Dream
Sounds Like: 
Kehlani
Name: 
Roy Santa Cruz
Date Reviewed: 
03/08/2017