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  

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: This is Korie – Korie

With KORIE‘s EP, ‘This is Korie’, personally I feel there are subtle influences of the once-popularised Yo pop – a mixture of jazz, funk, reggae and Afrobeats – fused with acoustic, almost stripped -back performances led by the guitar. When you listen to each track in this set, it feels like this young Nigerian singer/songwriter is performing right in front of you in an intense, intimate setting of an underground jazz club.

Her pronounced Motherland-esque vocals, which holds so much passion, paints a vivid storytelling of her fears in life, the pursuit to find true love and the determination in becoming a better person. It’s very clear that from the EP that Korie lives and breathes music…and it’s very rare I come across any material of music, where you can actually feel the musician’s love for music.

So ladies and gents, let me introduce you to the very talented Miss Korie in her purest and rawest form…

Must Listens: Foe, Change Me, Ife (Love) 

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: Chances Ocean – Isaac B

Released earlier in the year, the piano-led single ‘Love Yourz’ leads the way with in ISAAC B‘s latest EP, ‘Chances Ocean’. The melodic piece which encourages us to be grateful for what we got, rather pining after other’s success stories, sets the tone for this conscious mini set.

‘Chances Ocean’ then takes on a meditative and somewhat a seductive stance on hip-hop and R&B, which arguably has a Tom Misch twang to it. The promising rapper covers a ray of topics – from paying homage to prominent figures who paved the way in hip-hop (in ‘I’m Here’), to contemplating the reason why the good die young and his desire to get a Grammy in honor of his late grandmother (in ‘Did You Further) and having that ego boost, while staying humble, as his career progresses (in ‘Lean’.)

When I first discovered Isaac B through his bass-heavy joint, ‘See No Evil, Hear No Evil (SNE HNE)’ last year, from that moment I knew he was a serious hip-hop contender who isn’t worry about following the crowd. Tracks ‘Oceans and Chances’ and ‘Yourz Truly’ (to me) reveals that side of him as a musician. Although he has sheer determination to make an impressive dent in the game, his priority is to stay true to himself rather than chasing ‘the fame’.

Sonically, I expected to hear some roaring thuds as in ‘SNE HNE’ – but it doesn’t mean that I was left disappointed. ‘Chances Ocean’ reveals to me that this conscious spitter can turn his hand to anything and I cannot to see how far his musical journey will take him.

Have a listen to ‘Chances Ocean’ below…

Must Listens: Love Yourz, Oceans and Chances, Higher Power