Kindred the Family Soul, A Couple Friends
Our favorite contemporary soulful husband and wife duo are back with A Couple of Friends. They haven’t strayed from what works for them: relatable, uplifting music that touches the soul. Some of their fifth album’s most notable tracks include “Call Me Crazy,” “Never Loved You More,” “Everybody’s Hustling” and the title track, featuring Valerie Simpson on piano. (Apropos, considering the precedential example of musical married duo Ashford & Simpson.)
José James, While You Were Sleeping
José James’s music has been described as jazz for the hip-hop generation. The Minneapolis native’s eclectic musical approach is evidenced by his jazz standards that experiment with hip-hop, funk, neo-soul and whatever sounds good. He cites Nirvana, Frank Ocean, Radiohead and Junip as inspirations for his latest, While You Were Sleeping, which he says represents everything he presently loves about music. After listening, you’ll also hear influences like Hendrix, Madlib, Flying Lotus and even Tracy Chapman. There’s a romantic but also brooding quality to this project, commanded by James’s rich baritone. It’s alluring and entrancing. You absolutely want to add this to your collection.
Available today here.
Randy Class, “True Story”
This newbie from the Bronx has a refreshing romantic approach to R&B and (get this) he can actually sing! He also plays the guitar. Get into the acoustic sound of “True Story,” the first single of his upcoming Metanoia EP (out June 25), which also has an accompanying video. Class sings his heart out in a lovely tenor/alto, about his strong desire for the love of his life. He comes across as raw, honest and extremely talented. Randy Class is definitely one to watch.
Sa-Roc ft. David Banner, “The Who”
Sa-Roc the MC isn’t a name that rings bells on a mainstream level but she’s someone that everyone needs to know. The talented lyricist—whose style is along the lines of golden era hip-hop icons like X-Clan, Public Enemy and Queen Latifah—hails from the southeastern area of Washington DC. She’s been slaying mics independently for years. The latest from her world is the video for “The Who.” Here, she and David Banner demonstrate a Black history lesson through rhymes and a cute video set in a classroom. This one’s for the head bangas.
Janine and the Mixtape, “Hold Me”
“Hold Me” might sound familiar because it was recently featured on an episode of Love & Hip-Hop Atlanta. The low-key, dreamy song, part of her Dark Mind EP, is an Anthony Plant-directed video primarily set in a bedroom, where she and her “love interest” expose their vulnerability.
“The EP was about taking something horrible and turning it into something beautiful. As a strong woman, I’ve always struggled to ask for help,” says Janine and the Mixtape. “ ‘Hold Me’ was a turning point where I realized that true strength was being able to communicate what’s going on, and to allow those I love to be there for me. ‘Hold Me’ is one of my more vulnerable songs where I’m saying, ‘I got a lot going on right now and I need you to hold me.’ You know we all love a good cuddle.”
Redhead, “The B-Side Interlude”
Redhead, from PG County Maryland, has made a name for himself over the last few years based on his quirky appearance and delivery. His latest track is “The B-Side Interlude,” where he flows wittily over a mellow beat about the “girl who thinks that he’s a weirdo.” Essentially, it’s a flirty song that channels Slick Rick and even Biz Markie. It’s the latest in his forthcoming project Exxxactly, where he plans to “experiment with sounds and structures.”
Starrene Rhett Rocque fantasizes about becoming a shotgun toting B-movie heroine, and aspires to save the world from the impending #ZombieApocolypse… In reality she’s a freelance entertainment journalist/blogger who muses about music, TV, movies and fitness. Follow her on Twitter @GangStarrGirl or at GangStarrGirl.com.