Tricky, False Idols

False Idols as an album title is Tricky’s cheeky way of letting us know he’s not entirely comfortable with being scrutinized by the fickle public. False Idols comes two decades after his debut, 1995’s stellar, celebrated Maxinquaye. Since being thrust into the limelight, the Bristol England native has experienced career ups like working with the Red Hot Chili Peppers; but then there are the downs, like people’s on-again, off-again interest in so-called trip-hop. But that hasn’t stopped the music, so here we are again. On False Idols, Tricky has taken with collaborators like Francesca Belmonte (this album’s Martina Topley-Bird doppelgänger), Fifi Rong, Nneka Egbuna and more to give listeners something in between the 1990s Tricky sounds of yore and Tricky’s evolution as an artist.

Available where music is sold.

Estelle, “Call These Boys”  

Estelle has broken her silence on the music front with this new track from her upcoming EP, Love & Happiness. “Call These Boys” is a dancehall/club inspired tune produced by Keith Harris. The high-energy beat is twerk friendly (no thanks, Miley Cyrus), and the lyrics speak to encouraging women to force “these boys” to show some act-right. On the hook she sings, “Call these boys, I’ma turn ’em into men/Call these boys, I’ma make ’em understand,” as she urges women to have higher standards.

Listen here.

Stable, “Love”

I’ve rounded up Stable’s music in the past here on Sonic Boom, but the Harlem representative is back with some newness. One of my favorite things about his music is the storytelling skill, and that’s where “Love” comes into play. It’s a soulful account of stories most of us are very familiar with, whether we’ve experienced or seen it. “Love” is a cautionary tale about drugs and the unsavory things addicts do to chase that high.

“Love” is available on iTunes but you can listen here.

More about Stable at

Statik Selektah, Extended Play

The famed Statik Selektah rounded up some favorite hip-hop players for his forthcoming LP, Extended Play. With contributions from Joey Bada$$, Raekwon, Sean Price, Hit-Boy, Prodigy, Mac Miller, Styles P, Freddie Gibbs, Bun B, Joell Ortiz, Talib Kweli and more, this one is definitely for the head-nodders who pay attention to everything about the track from lyrics to production. It’s soulful, gritty, and very East Coast. Selektah gets busy with the scratches and, in short, you really need this added to your rotation. Extended Play drops June 18, but Selektah’s camp was so confident, they want everyone to listen to it now.

Listen here.

Available for pre-order on iTunes.

George Benson, Inspiration (A Tribute to Nat King Cole)

I hate that the phrase “grown and sexy” has become so cliché, because it’s so awesome. And for the sake of this column, it’s also the best way to describe jazz legend George Benson’s latest, Inspiration, which is a tribute to Nat King Cole. Here’s the thing: both Benson and Cole have similar careers in some ways. They both became known as instrumentalists first (Benson with the guitar, Cole with the piano) but eventually wooed audiences with their rich tenor voices that are also similar.

So, here we are in 2013… and Benson has decided that it’s time to pay blatant homage to a legend. Inspiration features classics like “Smile,” “Ballerina,” “Unforgettable” and more. With help from Wynton Marsalis, Idina Menzel, Judith Hill, the Henry Mancini Institute Orchestra, Nat King Cole himself and more, Benson has produced an impressive album filled with timeless classics perfect for dinner parties, romantic evenings for two, balls, house cleaning, and whenever you just feel like popping in some relaxing good music.

 Available where music is sold.   

White Mandingos, The Ghetto Is Tryna Kill Me

It’s pretty epic that Murs, Bad Brains bassist Darryl Jenifer and ego trip co-founder Sacha Jenkins (also writer and producer) formed a band called The White Mandingos. There’s a lot going on there on purpose. Also, let’s be clear that they are a rock band that fuses hip-hop into the mix. But Black people don’t do rock, right? Actually, they do and anyone who disagrees should get some music history lessons in and take a look at the greats (Fishbone, Prince, Living Colour and other geniuses).

But back to the band at hand. The White Mandingos drop their debut, The Ghetto Is Tryna Kill Me, today. It’s a project best described as Public Enemy goes metal, or something like that. It’s educational, informative and generally bucking the status quo. For some, it can be a jarring listen, but others will certainly fall in love. It’s the stuff that Afropunk dreams are made of and I’m with it.

Available where music is sold. 

Starrene Rhett Rocque is a pop culture junky who often 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 love. Follow her on Twitter@GangStarrGirl.