EP Review: Nightshades – Herbivores

Picking up right where they left off on their self-titled debut EP, which was released back in the summer to rave reviews and strong support from tastemakers such as SoulBounce, Gigwise and SingersRoom, prolific Brooklyn neo-soul collective HERBIVORES  have unveiled their sophomore EP and second project of the year titled ‘Nightshades’.

Written by all four members, Bel-Ami, Reddaz, Misha Savage and Will Sacks, the EP invites you into a lush offering of featherlight neo soul paired with unmatched powerhouse performance.

Second offering, ‘Mama Nose’ stills retains their signature sound but the second-to-none vocal performance gives the arrangements a reggae riddim twist. ‘Boomerang’ possess a spirit of Southern soul: the confident guitar plucks leads the way in the track, later joined by the infectious bounce of the bass and gleeful trumpets, pulled together by gusty vocals that really hits the spot.

A bed of airy electronica-ish backdrop is added to their neo soul vibe in the latter part of the set, creating a real intimate and euphoric experience.

Now I’m ashamed to say that I’ve never heard of these guys before this EP – but I’m glad I did as the name Herbivores will be firmly on my radar for 2021. Have a listen to ‘Nightshades’ – I have a sneaky feeling that they’ll be on your musical radar too.

Must Listen: Walk Away

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: 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: For The Uninformed – Nicki Knightz

I’ve always known NICKI KNIGHTZ to be that rapper who fiercely take on the boldest of the boldest arrangements with her no nonsense flow, but her latest EP, ‘For The Uninformed’, has caught me off guard. With the exception of the drum bass heavy/Congolese guitar sample, ‘Blacker the Berry,’ which pays homage to her father’s work ethic, the EP shows a soft and perhaps a more vulnerable side to the Hackney native.

The three-track set sees Nicki focusing on the neglected identity issues of being biracial, eliminating any glamorized images of being a light skinned person. In second effort, ‘India Arie’, Nicki gives a vivid account of the problems her parents faced when contending with her hair, over a warped soulful/jazz instrumentation. An old-school soulful drive makes its presence known and runs sombrely throughout concluding track, ‘1964 Howlett Drive’, serving as the perfect backdrop for Nicki’s uncharacteristically emotive delivery, which gives an insight of her experiencing her mother’s culture and its heartbreakingly stark contrast to their life in the innercity area.

A complete 180 to her sonically boisterous 2018 debut EP ‘Hate’, ‘For The Uninformed’ takes on a more minimalist theme, allowing the uninformed to really soak up and resonate with the experience of her childhood.

Have a listen to ‘For The Uninformed’ below…

Must Listen: India Arie