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  

Obsidian Cane Presses The ‘Reset’ Button On Latest EP

Giving old skool UK Garage a new lease of life, producer/artist OBSIDIAN CANE’s latest three-track EP, ‘Reset’ came along by complete chance…

The tracks on the EP were originally separate projects for three artists – Bryonii, I Am Born and Stacey Pierre. The plan to release the summer bangers came to a halt when the Covid-19 pandemic struck the UK back in March.

Obsidian explains: “My plan was to complete each project then go back to performing at live events. Then the world went into lockdown and everything changed. Music events were cancelled, clubs closed, and social distancing gave me some tough decisions to make. I had a serious discussion about quitting the music industry for good, but my music promoter convinced me the Covid-19 lockdown was the best time to release new music as a new artist. Since everything felt reset and new, I used that energy and produced the three songs and title the EP.”

‘Reset’ EP may be the first solo release from Obsidian Cane, a seemingly unknown artist, who received over 13,000 monthly listeners on Spotify, but he’s certainly no novice to the UK underground dance scene. The Londoner scored success with club hit (I Need A Rhythm) as Garage duo KP with UK Garage producer Paul Benjamin and has performed live at 51st State music festival as KP.

Away from his partner-in-crime Paul Benjamin, Obsidian has other projects up his sleeve: he has produced music for artist in development Warner, EMI and Parlophone, as well as producing music for popular TV shows, including Get Up Stand Up and EastEnders.

‘Reset’ EP is now available on various download/streaming platforms.

Follow Obsidian Cane: https://www.instagram.com/obsidiancane/

Have a listen below…

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

EP Review: Bad – Ricco Barrino

When I came across RICCO BARRINO‘s EP, ‘Bad’, I had to sit up, take note and give it a trial. If the surname brings a bell, well this R&B powerhouse is the older brother of Americana Idol winner, Fantasia Barrino and although he appeared on her single, ‘Bore Me (Yawn)’, he’s definitely a star on his own right.

Ricco has consistently been in and out of the spotlight since the early 2000s, lending his vocals to T.I.’s chart-topping single, ‘Whatever You Like’ and Colonel Loud’s hit ‘California’. A former signee of T.I.’s Grand Hustle label, Ricco has been hard at work on new music since his peak in 2015, landing records with Blacc Zacc, Da Baby, and other A-listers.

Ricco has now released a collection of these records, including those that were previously unreleased, across a series of new EPs via Common Cents/EMPIRE. Serving as a follow-up to ‘Good’ EP, released earlier this month, ‘Bad’ EP, the second installment in the series, which contains the new catchy single ‘Quavo’ as well as other previously unreleased music.

Roaring guitar riffs introduces the five piece set with track, ‘Give It To You’, leading to an uptempo summery drive, working in perfect harmony with Ricco’s robustly soulful vocals…and that vocal performance is turned up a notch or two through second funked-up, soulful effort ‘Fire’.

Changing the tone of the project, comes ‘Nothing I Would Not Do’, which brings in an intimate setting of vibrantly airy vibes later joined by rhythmic claps…and of course that vocals provided by Ricco, where he delicately shows off his falsetto range.

Flaring up to an emotional state, Ricco’s voice takes centre stage in the final atmospheric track, ‘Pray For Me’, which is guaranteed to leave any prospective listener quenching for more…

It’s a good job there’s more as BAD EP, will be quickly followed by Ricco’s third and final installment – Ugly EP – coming out 3rd September – now, that’s going to be pure FIRE! Pre-save your copy here:

Must Listens: Nothing I Would Not Do, Pray For Me

EP Review: The Guild of Artisans – Redd Tunes Productions

Producer Rob “Redd Tunes” Brazao’s second project of the year, ‘The Guild of Artisans’  is the perfect chill out escapism from lockdown.

A melodic haziness of boombap/hip-hop works its way through the set, with guest emcees’ delivery easing through the tranquil bars.

One thing that certainly didn’t go unnoticed is the dopely askew vocals in intro track, ‘Distance’ by MansasWorld.

For all you hip-hop heads out there, it’s to immerse yourself into Redd Tunes’ ‘The Guild of Artisans’. This guy has been in the game for over 30 years, so you’re about to listen to some quality stuff…hit that play button below…

Must Listens: Distance by MansasWorld