Song of the Day: Confusion – M.anifest

award-winning Ghanaian rap veteran and UNICEF ambassador M.ANIFEST‘s latest single, ‘Confusion’ is rich in musicality from the very start. The lush guitar licks and percussion drums are the central elements of the alluring sonic bed of hip-hop and afrobeats which blends seamlessly together.

‘Confusion’ is driven by M.anifest’s captivating wordplay, assured cadence, and infectious melodic rap flow, as he weaves an enthralling tale about the beautiful chaos of living in a modern African city like his hometown Accra. According to M.anifest, “such is the paradox of life in our cities, that there is always a constant tension between the feeling of ‘hurry hurry’ and ‘ok wait’”.

A rap music veteran of over a decade, with six acclaimed projects spanning that time, countless awards over his career and over three million fans on social media, M.anifest is one of the most revered figures in the African music scene. Described as the foremost rapper on the continent by The Guardian UK, with further acclaim from BBC, CNN and Revolt, his musical reach extends beyond Africa, with collaborations that range from Damon Albarn and Red Hot Chilli Peppers’ Flea, to Erykah Badu and Tigga Da Author, to Kojey Radical and Burna Boy.

Have a listen to ‘Confusion’, produced by MOBO Award nominated artist and producer JULS (GoldLink, Kojey Radical, Pa Salieu, Ms. Banks)…

TrueMendous Drops Her Debut Album, ‘Misdiagnosis of Chyvonne Johnson’

A run of exceptional and critically acclaimed singles climaxes with the release of the debut album ‘Misdiagnosis of Chyvonne Johnson’ from TRUEMENDOUS. Marking the release with a fresh, new visual for one of the albums finest cuts, ‘Mood Ring’ is a skippy track that details unpredictability and emotional instability in a relationship. The track has been heavily supported by the likes of Shortee Blitz & MK, DJ Target and fellow Brum native Lady Leshurr, and it is the perfect dedication to mark the occasion.

As one of the UK’s most dynamic and exhilarating rappers, TrueMendous is incomparable. Her music is packed with statements, a point to prove and a refreshingly undiluted determination to deliver her music, her way. Executing a weighty 17 tracks in its entirety, the album is a complete representation of TrueMendous and without a doubt, her most accomplished body of work to date.

Releasing on the ground-breaking, Brighton based hip-hop label High Focus Records, the album features production from Dirty Dike, Illinformed, Chemo, Wundrop, Mark Fear and more as well as guest vocals from the legendary Masta Ace, Kofi Stone and Rozzz. A selection of tracks has floodlit the way to the album release, starting with the aptly named ‘Cause A Scene’ – a torrent of vigour, razor sharp flows and powerful lyricism that was received by thunderous applause. Sophomore release ‘Worst Child’, a conscious Hip-Hop number demonstrating an introspective side to the Birmingham rapper, followed soon after, premiering with Jack Saunders on BBC Radio 1. Produced by Illinformed, the record was teamed with a visual that captured the heart of London Town, from the iconic venue Chip Shop in Brixton, to outside shots filmed in Camden, TrueMendous showcased the spirit of the city through the transcending backdrops of her enthralling music video.

Continuing to set the standard at stellar levels TrueMendous reached new heights with the double hit of intricately lyrical ‘You Don’t Wanna’, which teased the sleek and soulful ‘Y’ that was released in its entirety a week later.

Marking a prodigious milestone in her accelerating career, TrueMendous displays a new depth to her artistry with the ‘Misdiagnosis of Chyvonne Johnson’. Leaning on the connotations of the title, that also acts as homage to Lauryn Hills’ ‘The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill’, the musicality demonstrates the many dimensions to TrueMendous as an artist, which allows her significance as one of the modern-day hip-hop figures to be appreciated in all of its glory.

Preserving a strong presence within the world of Hip Hop over the last seven years and hailed as ‘one to watch out for’ by Akil The MC from the legendary Hip Hop crew Jurassic 5, making her TV debut in the 2020 Christmas Pepsi Max and McVities adverts and landing singles on the Adidas ‘COLD.RDY’ campaign, as well as the FIFA 21 Soundtrack, the career of TrueMendous had already been pinpointed for an exciting year. Shattering the confines of genres, incorporating Hip Hop with Neo-soul, Jazz and Pop, the new 17-track opus delivers on every expectation and more.

With the release adding to an expansive portfolio that spans six independent projects and an EP with High Focus Records, her work rate is equally impressive outside of the studio too. In 2019 she secured an impressive 11 festivals slots, including Glastonbury, Leeds and Reading where she opened up on the BBC 1Xtra stage. Through the course of her career, she has also performed at 10 venues across Atlanta and North Carolina, which includes opening up the UK stage at A3C Festival in Atlanta. She has also graced the Lovebox lineup and performed at the likes of Gloucester’s ‘King’s Jam’ festival, Chip Shop in Brixton and both Exit and Sea Dance Festival, which took place in Novi Sad, Serbia and Montenegro. She was also one of the leading artists on the ‘Queens of Art’ tour and it was the first ever UK all female hip hop tour, which was later covered by the BBC.

Presenting a truly unique body of work, TrueMendous lends her distinctive flow and a sound layered with precision, to an amalgamation of fiery, raw, soulful and weighted bars that are seasoned immaculately with powerful lyricism and unrelenting production. The result is a celebration of hip-hop culture with contemporary understanding applied and an album that will be filed alongside the greats for years to come.

Uprising Star Nápoles Shares Brand New Single,’Circulate’

Photo Credit: Elle Johnson

Coming on the back of the success of her debut single ‘Slowzy’, which has been garnering support from the likes of BBC 1Xtra, Rinse FM, Spotify, DSTNGR, Kingsize Magazine, and PUMA, fast-rising Swedish songstress and creative NÁPOLES circles back for the release of her brand new single,  ‘Circulate’, the second offering from her forthcoming debut EP ‘Slowin It’, slated for release later this summer.

Produced by fellow Swedish creatives Chapee and Wihib Sulaiman, and co-written by herself and Joe Lefty, ‘Circulate’ sees Nápoles making full use of her intoxicatingly enchanting vocals which weaves throughout a captivating fusion of soul jazz, R&B and hip-hop.

Alongside her blossoming music career, Nápoles is also one-third of the popular Swedish-based DJ and creative collective Ladieslovehiphop, with whom she has opened for Beyonce and Jay-Z on their ‘On The Run II’ European tour, collaborated with adidas and PUMA, toured with Sweden’s biggest female rapper Silvana Imam, and collaborated with Red Bull Music to host the Ladieslovehiphop Music Festival, among other accomplishments.

This is too good to pass up…have a listen to ‘Circulate’ below…

Interview with: Kastilano

It’s time to welcome back one of NEW LEASE MUSIC’s dopest staples, KASTILANO into the interview seat.

The Philly rapper first appeared on the blog with track, ‘Still Dreaming in 2013, where the accompanied video received the most views on the blog that year. More recently, his track, ‘Heart & Soul’, was named Song of the Week by the blog in October 2019. 

Find out what he’s been to up and how he’s coping with CoVid19 lockdown. NEW ARTISTS take note as this killer rapper have some valuable advice on how to stay ahead of the game during these challenging times!

NLM: Hey, thank you for taking part in an interview with NEW LEASE MUSIC. It has been some time since we last hooked up (last interview was back in 2014). What have you been up to? (include non-music projects, if possible)

K: Hello and thank you for having me back. It’s been a minute so of course I’ve been cooking up since we last spoke. I dropped at least 8 projects and I’ve even learned to direct and edit my own music videos releasing them on my YouTube channel “KillEm KaStilano”.

I’ve started vlogging this past year on different topics like battle rap, album reviews and other thoughts that came to mind. Those videos can be found on my “KillEmTv” channel on YouTube which I also sat behind the camera and became the interviewer which I actually enjoy so please make sure to subscribe to both if you haven’t already. Any and everything else is in the music so tune in.

NLM: So what track(s)/ project(s) do you have coming up?

K: I’m currently 90% finish the long awaited ‘S.H.I.E.L.D 2’ EP which is the sequel and I’m very proud to say I feel it’s even better than the first, filled with more reality rap at it’s finest mixed with elevated flows and some modern day type of beats plus that old school boom bap sound. Next, I will drop ‘The City’s Hero 3: Sinner Meets Savior’ mixtape which is about 75% done. This has a more conscious feel of approach where I touch on much more topics in detail raising the bar and challenging myself on another level. Switching my style of rap to the content and all. I feel with everything going on it would be a disservice to act blind and not acknowledge the more important things in life, so trust me this jawn will hit different. Expect both of these this year and I might have another project come 4th quarter of 2020.

NLM: For anyone who is unfamiliar with your work, how would you describe your sound and what inspires you to produce your tracks?

K: That’s a good question. I say my sound is uniquely independent of the majority of what you hear today. I remain in my own lane not sounding like anyone nor looking to conform to what is the in sound. I’m stubborn and will only do it my way so expect that. Expect non apologetic reality bars based on my life and those close to more or around me. I paint vivid pictures with a street point of view but also a common sense point of view. I’ll forever give you both sides of the coin.

Now what inspires me is still the beat, I mean it speaks to me 1st and foremost. Outside of that everybody and everything that’s not me inspires me to be me from the dope artist on down to those I’m not too fond of. It all fuels the fire in me to write for our youth and my peers bringing something different to the table creating some sort of balance out here. I always play my music  to people, from old to new so they can see the growth. It’s that acknowledgement that inspires me for strangers to say they really respect what I do.

NLM: How has the current climate (CoVid19 pandemic) and lockdown affected you as an artist who is always pumping out music?

K: Fortunately, it hasn’t affected me at all. I’m always working and such a perfectionist, I usually have a bunch of unreleased music which allows me to drop music consistently whenever I want. Now I have only been to the studio once since Covid19 but I usually record about 3 songs per hour. Recently I haven’t been shooting videos nor performing even before this pandemic but my numbers have actually been up so I can’t complain.

NLM: What advice would you give to new artists who are trying to get noticed in these challenging times?

K: Take your time, dig deep and write your best material. Don’t force anything and if you’re able to record, do so and release some music old or new it doesn’t matter long as it’s good. Take advantage while people are in slow motion. Use your platform to the best of your ability to promote at least once a day. Lastly, but most importantly, believe in yourself and build strong solid relationships with those who believe in you. BE YOURSELF!!!

NLM: If there’s ONE mainstream artist you would like to spend time with during the lockdown period, who would it be and why?

NLM: I honestly was gonna say nobody, but after thinking a minute I’d say Kayne West. He seemed to have struggled spiritually for some time (as we all do or have at some point) but he is clearly gifted musically. Now for me I was never a fan of him nor his music (which I thought was OK). I really only heard his last two albums fully which I really enjoyed. For him to denounce the music he once made and proclaim JESUS Is King on his last album I feel is very courageous and I commend him for it. That actually inspired and gave me the confidence to do many songs on ‘The City’s Hero 3: Sinner Meets Saviour’ mixtape. I’d be honored to sit and bust it up with him about his journey and what led up to this point. I actually can somewhat relate and I empathise with the brother to give up what you once thought was everything only to realise it really meant nothing.

 NLM: What is the first thing you would like to do once the lockdown period is over?

K: Go to the house of prayer and worship with fellow believers! To be truthful I’ve
been having the time of my life being able to spend time with my family I don’t
normally have the time to. I’m working out  more not as stressed because my
worries of fast life have come to a halt.

I’m so grateful my family and I are still blessed during these times so, most
importantly, I can study God’s word more than I ever have during this time right
now. I encourage all to take advantage I mean store bathrooms are clean now,
people are giving you 6 feet in line, life is being taken more seriously. It’s a
beautiful time to be alive I’m in no rush to get back to what is so called normal.

NLM: So what are your plans for the rest of the year?

K: I wanna put these next few projects out and drop some videos along with it.
Continue to build solid relationships with the right people and even collaborate
with more talented dope artists. Hopefully I’d like to bring more great content
vlogging more and doing more interviews with those who bring forth greatness
that I can share with my followers. Most importantly, I wanna continue to grow
level up and mature.

NLM: How can potential fans contact you?

K: Any who wanna support me can follow me @215KKastilano on IG & Twitter.
https://www.facebook.com/215KKastilano/

Get all my mixtapes here
https://www.datpiff.com/profile/KillEmKastilano

Lastly search “KaStilano” on all platforms to find my latest singles!
https://spinnup.link/287965-divide-conquer

NLM: Finally, if music didn’t exist, what profession would you do?

K: Since a youth, I would have normally said a basketball player but now I would
probably say an author or an artist of some sort because I love to create
bringing different thoughts and ideas to life.

Before I slide I gotta say thank you for the continuous support you have shown
me I really appreciate it. Also I want to acknowledge all of your hard work put in
throughout the years and encourage you to keep going. I’m outta here so until
next time it’s KillEm!!!

Mixtape Review: Beats And Pieces: Volume Two – Joshua Luke Smith

JOSHUA LUKE SMITH‘s latest mixtape, ‘Beats And Pieces Volume Two’, stemmed from a difficult time when his wife and his father were in hospital – at the same time.

The result of his latest set could have been predictably dark and melancholic. Instead a soothing and comforting presence of soulful boombap runs throughout the best part of the collection, with Joshua’s lucidly smooth delivery adding some hope and optimism.

Tracks ‘Joy’ and ‘Circles’ provides another dimension to the set with intensively imitate arrangements, prompting the prospective listener to really home in and resonate with the message in each productions.

Now this guy has produced the entire mixtape under a month – he wrote the lyrics of each song in a hospital waiting room whilst being with his wife and father. Joshua gets my utmost respect as, in a time of distress, he produced a stunning collection that displays an unflappable appreciation for life.

‘Beats And Pieces, Vol.2’ should be a reminder to us all that there’s always light at the end of the tunnel…no matter how hard life gets…Check it out below…

Must Listens: Meaningless, Spinnin’, Stay