R&B/Hip-Hop Fresh Picks: Shenseea, Syd & Amaal

Swinging her Rapunzel-like ponytail from the hood of a Jeep, Shenseea chases after a man who is quite literally holding her heart. The exuberant Jamaican singer remains consistent, delivering yet another catchy, empowering single and visual filled with coordinated dance moves and a rich story line. “Run Run” carries traditional dancehall elements, while Shenseea’s melodies give the song a pop feel.

Joy Denalane, “Forever”

Channeling the sound of 1960s and ’70s soul, German singer and Motown signee Joy Denalane releases “Forever.” The powerful single, accompanied by an equally captivating visual, tells the story of a troubled marriage, cutting back and forth from tender to broken moments. Denalane sings, “As the wildfire circles us/ We can burn up in reverie… When forever is more than just a word we say,” her voice projecting a timeless quality, reflective of the classic nature of the single itself and the era it pays homage to.

Cultgabe, “40 wishes”

If you want to get to know Gabriel Cabrera Caswall, a.k.a. Cultgabe, watch his latest visual for “40 Wishes.” The oceanside video and song capture the 22-year-old singer’s beach town beginnings, surfer persona and genre-bending sound, pulling influence from hip-hop, R&B and alternative rock. Although unique, “40 Wishes” still feels familiar, reflecting Caswall’s own influences, which include Frank Ocean and alt-rock veterans Incubus.

Amaal, “Honey”

In her latest single, “Honey,” Somali-Canadian songstress Amaal channels futuristic R&B icon Aaliyah, both aesthetically and sonically. The accompanying visual showcases Amaal in a ’90s-esque black leather trench coat, strutting through an equally dark and edgy corridor, mirroring the sensual Aaliyah videos so many of us grew up on. The NickyDavey-produced instrumental features sharp snares, simple hihats, cowbell and a dark, simplistic bass line, further leaning into the ’90s Timbaland sound. While the track clearly reflects a past era of music, Amaal’s melodies and vocal performance are fresh and current, cementing the emerging artist’s mainstream potential.

Fana Hues feat. Mereba, “Desert Flower (Remix)”

Alt-R&B singer Fana Hues enlists Mereba for the remix of her ethereal ballad, “Desert Flower.” Featuring not much more than a single guitar decorated by heavenly falsettos, the track is minimalist perfection, captivating listeners with the two women’s crisp, emotive vocals and reflective lyrics.

Reggie Becton, “Issues”

Reggie Becton is unapologetically jaded on his new song. The first single off his upcoming album California, “Issues,” explores the inevitable grievances that arrive when a relationship has lasted too long after the attraction ends. “Used to be lovers, now we strangers,” he laments. 

City Rominiecki, “Done It Again”

City Rominiecki’s new song is dynamic, expressive and layered with resonant synth sounds. The up-and-coming rapper’s confidence and skill are striking as he ponders everything from summer fun to the inauthenticities of modern rap. 

Syd, “Fast Car”

Syd’s new song, released July 16, is the latest in the recent upsurge of car-themed music. A simple beat backs up the Internet frontwoman and Beyoncé-collaborator’s breathy vocals as she yearns for her muse to “kiss me like you mean it,” before a can’t-miss electric guitar solo closes out the chill track. 

Planet Giza feat. Ivy Sole, “Out of Touch”

An addictive, repeating piano line announces the beginning of this new track from Planet Giza and Ivy Sole. The collaboration’s mellow vibe is cleverly deceptive — though the beat is groovy and laid back, the lyrics reveal a harrowing anxiety over losing the person you love. “Are you still my person?” Planet Giza sings.

Lawrence Mace feat. Rayana Jay, “We Should”

Rayana Jay gives the subject of her lyrics a simple ultimatum on her new collaboration with Lawrence Mace. “Don’t got much time so what’s it gonna be?” she sings. “Make up your mind, you stay or wanna leave.” The aloofness of the syncopated synth flares match Jay’s cool demeanor as spells out the bare minimum she expects of her relationship.

Source: News | Billboard

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