Album Review: 2020 DIvision – JYellowL

Irish rapper JYELLOWL jumps right down to it with his highly-anticipated debut album, ‘2020 DIvison’ and addresses the issue of having self-worth through the introductory track ‘2020’, which possesses an intimate, stripped-back setting later joined by drums, idyllic runs of piano keys and a gusty thump of the b-line.

Melodic tones (which becomes patently clear that this is JYellowL’s trademark) against a seamlessly smooth hip-hop/R&B dropback and boisterous bass, continues through the first half of the album, putting a thought-provoking spin on serious topics such as systemic and institutional racism.

‘2020 DIvision’ then ventures into the realms tropical dancehall/Afrobeats (in ‘Hypocrite’ and ‘Change’), moving onto an air of tranquil trap-hop, 90-inspired afterhours in an acoustic setting and even elements of New Jack-ish era in ‘Tunnel Vision’. Along the breadth of genres, JyellowL continues to cover a breadth of tropics, including his experience in the music industry and taking proactive steps to elevating the youth in today’s society.

From the moment I hit play on ‘2020 DIvision’, it became very clear that JYellowL is more than just a musician who is instantly recognisable through his distinctive sound and catchy flow – he’s a strong activist that isn’t afraid to tackle political and social issues that intrigues as well as disturbs him, urging his audiences to find that inner flame to do the same.

Even through his singles ‘Ozone’, ‘Jewels’, ‘Doesn’t Feel Like’, ‘Mademoiselle’
and ‘Tunnel Vision’ were all well received ahead of the album’s release, JYellowL (personally) will be now further placed as one of the most intriguing and promising artists from the Irish rap scene and perhaps beyond – and may well be look upon as a Juggernaut-like political figure among his peers with ‘2020 DIvision’.

Check out 2020 DIvision check below plus the blog’s songs recommendation:

Must Listen: 2020, Call It What You Want, Doesn’t Feel Like, Change, Tunnel Vision 

Album Review: Delta – NTHN

Tackling the issue of male mental health, NTHN presents his latest album titled ‘Delta’. Written, produced and recorded by the Runcorn producer/artist himself, NTHN takes us through various stages of his own rollercoaster journey with mental health…

Barely audible airy soundscapes coupled with loops of daunting voices starts the turmoil journey with ‘Aware’ which leads on to feather light bed of electronica/pop backdrop which is almost overshadowed by a jarring bass through efforts, ‘Denial’ and ‘Falling’.

The sole presence of the woeful piano (in ‘Wasting Time’) replaces the alarming drive, before the album ventures into the realms of bluesy hip-hop/emo rap and grunge/metal (think along the lines of Nirvana). ‘Delta’ concludes with tranquil layers of feathery light electronica through ’03:35′, which reflects NTHN’s road to recovery to self acceptance and love.

It’s great to see such issues  – such as male mental health – becoming less of a social taboo. Although this album is NTHN’s personal journey, it’s also a sign of encouragement for others to break down the wall of shame and loneliness (two most common feelings that are associated with this issue) and reach out for help.

Have a listen to ‘Delta’ below and view the song recommendations below…

Must listens: Wasting Time, Conflicted

EP Review: Summer ’98 – Zee

Hailing from Canada now based in L.A. artist/producer ZEE‘s new EP is definitely a throwback to the late 1990’s, paying homage to hip-hop and R&B of that era. Although this is a nostalgic collection – which evidently draws influences from 90’s R&B heavyweights including Usher, Destiny’s Child and Aaliyah – I couldn’t help but hear some influences of fellow Canadian artist/rapper Drake, particularly in introductory track, ‘Amazing’.

Further along the EP, Zee makes use of samples from some of the R&B classics, such as Kelly Rowland’s/Nelly’s hit ‘Dilemma’, putting a lick of a misty urban/hip-hop bass to the original through fourth effort, ‘All I Need’.

There’s also an air of the late 1980s included in the EP, when Zee put his stamp on Brenda Russell’s classic, ‘Piano In The Dark’ through concluding track, ‘Letting Go’, by dropping a modern R&B/pop version, giving off a summer hazy feel.

Documenting the events of his first summer love (presumably back in the late nineties), Zee encourages us to re-immerse into our most treasured memories – or create new ones – with his feel-good mini collection. Check out the song recommendations and EP below:

Must Listens: Amazing, Crazy Enough, Mean It  

Album Review: Summer Catalogue – East Hampton Polo Boys

Recorded over a two day period back in February, New York’s hip-hop collective, EAST HAMPTON POLO BOYS present their album, ‘Summer Catalogue’ with such style and poise…

Melodic old school soulful samples complimenting the bounce of the urban/hip-hop bass, becomes the main feature of the mammoth collection, with a punch of smooth psychedelic funk making a pleasantly surprising appearance towards the end of the album.

With the guys taking turns in slamming down their easy-going, a matter of fact delivery on the delicately hazy arrangements, ‘Summer Catalogue’ will undoubtedly be appeasing to die-hard hip-hop heads, particularly to fans of Jay-Z (late 1980s) and KRS-1. Check out the album and song recommendations below…

Must Listens: STFU, Expensive Steak Aroma, Tijuana Bible, Doc Colossus 

EP Review: The Crusaders Of The Lost Art – Redd Tunes Productions

REDD TUNES‘ latest EP, ‘The Crusaders Of The Lost Art’, is relatively shorter than his previous projects. It shifts from the London producer’s hazy stance on the golden hip-hop/boom bap era – as featured in previous EPs – to a fresh and crisp feel, showcasing string-laden productions, against the semi-menacing b-line, where guest rappers take their turn in giving the EP a retro boom bap feel with a fierce edge.

If you’re a regular on NEW LEASE MUSIC, then there’s a chance that you’re familiar with Redd Tunes’ work..and if you dig the vibes of his past work, then you’ll definitely welcome ‘The Crusaders Of The Lost Art’ into your collection…check it out below