New Rapper Mikano Reflects On Gender And Identity With Single, ‘Silhouette’

French-Cameroonian hip hop newcomer MIKANO, reveals pop-driven, Afrotrap single ‘Silhouette’ released last Wednesday (27th November).

The brand new cut is the first installment from his forthcoming mixtape, ‘Melting Balloons’, planned for release in Spring 2020.

On the meaning behind the song, Mikano explained: “It celebrates the female beauty in all its diversity. The word ‘Silhouette’ entails an outline with a featureless interior, we can see it’s a woman, but we can’t see her skin colour”.

Entirely produced by up and coming Parisian producer Sutus, the single mixes a pop-driven afrobeat melody with trap-tinged beats; “I wanted to create a genre-blending track, unifying different music cultures, the African element with British and American styles,” clarifies the young rapper.

Growing up in cities as diverse as Abu Dhabi, Cairo and Amsterdam, Mikano – who now resides in Paris –  is the perfect example of a Third Culture Kid whose music has been dramatically influenced by his rootless past. Inspired by artists from different genres such as Agnès Obel  and Alabama Shakes, Mikano’s first two EPs ‘No Devices Found’ and ‘Blind Man Dreams’, have seen support from some of the most prestigious French music publications including Tsugi and Rolling Stone.

Most French speaking rappers struggle to find fame outside France – even though the country is the second biggest market for hip-hop. It is time for a French, English speaking rapper to break the rules, and Mikano’s ‘Silhouette’ has the potential to set the young rapper on the right path for international success.

Check out for video for the single below…

Keltoum delivers a superb jazzy soul jam, ‘Stop To Play’.

Taken from her debut eponymous EP, ‘Stop To Play’ is the latest single to be released from KELTOUM. The fast-emerging artist from France is already being compared to leaders in her field like Sade, Jill Scott and Erykah Badu as her neo-soul and pop influences caress from all sides. An original composer and player KELTOUM also brings to the table a unique French sensibility which demonstrates the sort of warmth felt by Janet Jackson or perhaps Alicia Keys at their most impassioned. The list of greats she could be compared to could go on but KELTOUM herself has struck her own blend of jazz and smoky vocal which is hard not to melt away to.

KELTOUM has already picked up fans across the board including some distinguished influencers like Gilles Peterson among others at Jazz FM and beyond. Her live show is also on another level as the energy of her trio seem to get the best of her tantalizing subtle soul voice bringing emotion to all who see her play, such as those who attended Gilles’ Worldwide festival in Sète last year where she completely bowled over the crowd.

Check out ‘Stop To Play below…and while you’re at it…take out and listen to her EP – ABSOLUTELY STUNNING.

Harleighblu & Bluestaeb Take A Stand On Cat Calling In ‘Call’

After appearing on the blog’s SOTD hot spot last week, UK R&B singer HARLEIGHBLU  and neo-soul & hip-hop producer BLUESTAEB circle back with anti-harassment empowerment anthem ‘Call’, the forth single off upcoming joint album ‘She’, out on October 11th 2019.

On a funk infused production courtesy of BLUESTAEB, HARLEIGHBLU takes a stand against cat calling: “We as women constantly have to deal with unwanted attention and aggressive pursuit when we do our thing and this song is a cheerful ‘talk to the hand’, a reminder that we don’t have to entertain such behaviour. Ladies, our journey is a long walk so let this song be the soundtrack to your stride, nothing can stop you especially not the unwanted advances from Mr.Basic”

After HARLEIGHBLU heard BLUESTAEB‘s music at Camden’s Jazz Café in 2016, the multinational duo decided to search for new ways to express their common love for uncompromised hip-hop and R&B. BLUESTAEB’s soulful approach to beat making complemented Harleighblu’s vocals perfectly as she staked her claim on the neo soul and hip-hop territory she always identified with. Hailed as an up and coming ‘queen of soul’ with references to Nina Simone, Lauryn Hill and Amy Winehouse, HARLEIGHBLU’s signature sound has matured into a frank, self-possessed voice, bringing us honest, feminine, yet unrepentant lyrical touches.

Additionally, the Paris and Berlin based producer BLUESTAEB made his name through his releases via German tastemaker label Jakarta Records, where he released alongside Kaytranada, Ta-Ku and Mura Masa. Both his solo and collaboration projects have been internationally praised for their warm characteristic sound, receiving airplays on Soulection, BBC 1, Rinse.FM and many more.

With a full collaboration album set to drop in this month, HARLEIGHBLU and BLUESTAEB continue to impress with their seamless musical chemistry and mutual passion for classic R&B and hip hop. ‘Call’ provides a taste for what’s to come from the 13-track stoke of genius, ‘She’.

Check it out below…

New Track: Let It Go – Jo Cocco ❨ft HAM the Illustrator, MC Solomon & Hughdem❩

French-born London/based producer, multi-instrumentalist and session player JO COCCO released his first solo project via his new production company Joozzy Records, following international success after having collaborated and toured with renowned acts including Aloe Blacc and Gentleman (on Imperfection), Max Romeo, Sly and Robbie, Sara Lugo.

Wanting to face new challenges, JO COCCO relocated to the UK in 2017 where he recently produced The Wise Bloods latest single Turn The Tide (featured on radio BBC4).

As a well-established Reggae and Blues producer as well as guitarist, Jo’s expansion to Hip Hop was just a matter of time and a long term goal of his. He wrote, composed and produced an extremely catchy summer vibes track ‘Let It Go’, mixing Blues with Hip-Hop, influenced by the 70s/80s and guitar sounds reminiscent of BB King.

The song has come a long way since Jo started recording the beat in 2016/2017 in France. It was only in London that he finally found the voices he was looking for. Supporting the local Hip- Hop scene, Jo enlisted three emerging London rap talents: Ham The Illustrator, a Namibian-born rapper, activist and creative who also designed the cover art to ‘Let It Go’; MC Solomon who is a regular performer in the UK live scene and Hughdem, who forms part of the well-established Brixton Hip Hop collective AndWhat (featured on IAmHipHop).

Together they finessed ‘Let It Go’. Check out the video for the track below:

 

Song of the Day: I Only See You – Napoleon Gold

As he gears towards the release of his debut EP, NAPOLEON GOLD releases his latest number, ‘I Only See You’.

Taking inspiration from artists such as Mura Masa, James Blake, Bonobo & Gorrilaz – ‘I Only See You’ marks a new beginning for the newcomer as he venture out and experiments with rich electronic textures with playful and summer-charged chords.

The French Luxembourg-based producer quickly came on the radar last year, with debut release – also the name of his forthcoming EP – ‘ A New Colour’, which lead him to sign with Cinematic Music Group (division of Sony & label home to the likes of Joey Bada$$ and Public Access T.V).The new-found fame already sees him touring across the globe, opening for acts including London Grammar, Glass Animals and SOHN.

The second single from the EP – out this Friday will feature guest vocals from T-Pain with the full EP release on 25th May 2018.

For now, check out ‘I Only See You.’