Neak Reflects On The Black Experience In America Through Latest Album, ‘Die Wurzel’

Everything can be traced back to its roots. Sometimes, those roots are ignored, overlooked, unattended to, and uncared for. At the heart of American culture, the roots of African-American became nurtured through the historical beauty and ugliness of American society, and those cataclysmic experiences still resonate within the black culture, mindset, and way of life.

Conscious rapper and producer NEAK‘s latest album ‘Die Wurzel’, explores black life post 1619 to the present day. It is designed to make you pause, think, and reflect on the black experience in America with a level of compassion and sensitivity that has made way for perceived cultural black norms deriving from African-American’s trials and tribulations. Jammed back with black musical roots: gospel, soul, jazz, funk, and rap, ‘Die Wurzel’ is an intellectual, witty, and soul-driven musical journey that will hold a dear black in the heart of black urban society.

From the days of his childhood, Chicago-based Neak was bound to capture the same soulful essence of his father; Robert Kelly of the 60s R&B soul group, The Kelly Brothers. With soul and gospel music playing constantly throughout his household growing up, Neak soaked in stories from his father and uncles on their glory days of touring alongside legacy artists such as James Brown, Sam Cooke, Patti LaBelle, etc. It was only a matter of time before those stories became the backdrop for his inspiration to create music that reaches the inner-workings of humanity from the context of the black American cultural experience.

As time went on, Neak began building a foundation for himself as an MC, producer, event curator, and artist consultant. By collaborating with the likes of GLC, Add-2, Rashid Hadee, Rita J., Slot-A, etc., he developed an extensive discography that aesthetically reflected his soulful upbringing and love for golden era-esque style hip-hop–influences by hip-hop greats such as Nas, 2Pac, Common, MF Doom, Jay-Z, Lupe Fiasco, and Kanye West. This led him to begin touring the U.S. and Canada; performing in major cities such as New York, Vancouver (BC), Detroit, Seattle, Atlanta, Philadelphia, London (ON), Portland, St. Paul, Washington D.C., etc. He also was invited to and performed in major festivals such as A3C, Silver Room Block Party, and North Coast Music Festival. Sharing stages with music notables such as Pete Rock, Chance The Rapper, and Vic Mensa, his creativity continues to evolve and adapts to reflect the signs of the times.

Neak’s musical releases combined currently stand at over 450K streams, but his hunger to create beautiful music for the masses has just begun. Fresh off producing Rita J’s new album ‘The High Priestess,’ and joint effort with fellow crew members of NRFS (consisting of Neak himself, Rashid Hadee, F.A.B.L.E., and Since9ine6ix), as well as gearing up to release a collaborative album with singer/producer/director Cam Be entitled “a film called black”, his next solo effort ‘Die Wurzel’ is now available on all major streaming services. Check it out below plus the blog’s song recommendations…

Must Listens: Home, Famous, Black on Black Black on Blue, Memoirs of a Lost Nigga

Song of the Day: 1NE People – Monie Love (ft. Nana Fofie)

MONIE LOVE has been a pioneer for British Hip Hop in the late eighties and nineties who uses the hip-hop platform to drive the message of love, unity and equality. She joined forces with fellow females emcees such as Queen Latifah, for pro-feminist song ‘Ladies First’, proving that women (who were mainly invisible in Hip Hop at that time) can rap just as well as men can.

After impressive guest performances on songs by De La Soul, The Jungle Brothers and Adeva, Monie was given a recording contract with Warner Bros, an impressive achievement for a British female rapper. Her debut album ‘Down to Earth’ featured two hit singles that were Grammy nominated – ‘Monie in the Middle’ and ‘It’s a Shame (My Sister)’.

With all the achievements she made over the years, there’s no dispute that Monie Love is one of the rap artists who paved the way for female rappers of today. Now almost 30 years later, she returns, still spreading the message of love, unity and equality in latest single ‘1NE People.’

Sporting a unique blend of reggae, hip-hop and R&B, ‘1NE Peope’ sees Monie Love dig deep into her West Indian roots and performs a melodic, reggae chant in Jamaican patois, inspired by the heartfelt mantra by Marcus Garvey – “Out of Many, One People”.

For this single – produced by up and coming music producer/engineer Roctimus Prime and legendary Grammy Nominated hip-hop producer, Baby Paul/BpZy (formerly of Da Beatminerz) – Monie enlists upcoming Ghanaian singer/songwriter Nana Fofie, who just recently signed to Nicki Minage’s new record label. Currently residing in Rotterdam, Nona Fofie drops an infectious verse, delivered in English and French, making it the perfect addition to Monie’s vocals offering a substantial and inspirational tone.

Monie Love recently guest appeared at the curated De la Soul career catalog launch and Plug 2 Tribute event which was held at Webster Hall in NYC. She performed an impromptu segment of the classic song ‘Ladies First’ with Queen Latifah, along with sharing her exuberant energy while on the stage with De La Soul as they ran through a few of their classic songs.

She’s now working on her new music project, #LoveStruck which is executively produced by Baby Paul/BpZy formerly of “Da Beatminerz” with pending collaborations from a few legends and new talent to watch out for. Look for’ Monie project, but for now, listen to ‘1NE People’, which is out now available across various music platforms

Connect with Monie Love via:

Connect with Nana Fofie via:


Shades Lawrence Goes Back To Her Roots With Latest Single, ‘No Return’

When it comes to pride, there are few more empowered and emboldened by their homeland than SHADES LAWRENCE, and these badges of humility and coat of pride are worn boisterously in the Quebec-based artist’s new single, ‘No Return’.

Shades Lawrence is a queer, Montreal-born hip-hop artist of mixed British, Jamaican, Irish, and Scottish descent. As she’s progressed through the journey of finding her sound, Shades Lawrence has performed over 40+ shows as a spoken word poet and hip-hop artist and shared the stage with a variety of artists — including Princess Nokia, Big Freedia, Cakes da Killa, and more.

Since stepping onto the scene, Shades Lawrence has released three full-length albums — Trust Takes Time (2022), 4th Quarter (2021), and East West Road (2020 — in addition to three EPs — Formidable Time EP (2017), Mind Right EP (2019), and Second Life EP (2019); the latter of which was also featured on Bandcamp’s homepage in their New & Notable section.

Looking through her own history, as well as that of those around her, Shades Lawrence stepped forward into her new project. A journey inspired by the story of refugees and immigrants who have found their way to Canada, in one way or another, Shades Lawrence’s lyricism drives this uplifting single while keeping environmental justice at the forefront.

“This song is inspired by my story — coming from a background where three of my four grandparents were immigrants to Canada,” she shares. Why not check it out below…

Duo ISYLA Share Their Album ‘Of Blood And Star’

Following on from the success of their 2020 debut release ‘Where She Walks’, which received acclaim worldwide, duo ISYLA have released their latest album, ‘Of Blood And Star’, on Earth Day (22nd April).

Their newest collection of work possesses a deep meditative and earthy blend of soft alt folk/pop throughout, with heavenly soothing vocal performance which is very reminiscent of acclaimed singer-songwriter Dido. The tranquil soundscapes are, at times, infused with a kick of funk (in ‘Pretty Lies’) and elements of 60s and 70s style soft soulful tones (featured in ‘Colours Of The Rain’ and Beautiful Change’)

UK singer-songwriters Lizzie Freeborn and Amy Woodburn formed ISYLA back in 2020 to offer a musical response to raising the profile of the climate crisis. The two combine their love for cinematic arrangements, dynamic harmonies and sultry grooves to sing for life on earth.

‘Of Blood And Star’ represents the deeper connections with the earth and each other. Have a listen to the album below…

Song of the Day: Dreamin’ – Kelly Besd (ft. Jackie Art, K-Riz)

As we look ahead to 2022 and the tumultuous journey the world is embarking on for the nth time in history, it’s words of encouragement from activists, free thinkers, and musicians like Canadian singer/songwriter KELLY BESD and her single ‘Dreamin’,’ that remind us to keep pushing forward.

Taken from her debut album, Back To Me, released in November, ‘Dreamin” is a poignant and hard-hitting track shining the spotlight on racial injustice and discrimination. Harnessing the use of slow drums and her signature R&B vocal structures, Besd creates a warm, open, and ethereal listening experience for audiences while highlighting the need for change. On the track, Besd teamed up with artists Jackie Art and K-Riz to offer their reflections and words of hope throughout the song.

‘Dreamin” is available across various digital music platforms. Before you head off, check out the video for the soothing single below…