ūüéľ #GuelphMusicClub: Best of 2016

TOP EPs of 2016

Snoh Aalegra – Don’t Explain

snohdontexplainHailing from Stockholm, Sweden, Snoh Aalegra (@snohaalegra) could be poised to become the next ‘retro’ success story.

Discovered by veteran producer No ID, Snoh creates soulful R&B with an old school flair in the mould of artists such as Sade (@SadeOfficial), Janelle Monaé (@JanelleMonae), and the fallen Amy Winehouse (@amywinehouse).

With a limited catalogue available, Don’t Explain¬†already shows a tremendous amount of range artistic growth in comparison to previous efforts. This is a musician who¬†looks set to make a much larger impact in 2017. Don’t sleep.

Standout track: “In Your River”

*     *     *     *     *

Gavlyn & Blimes Brixton –¬†Dodgy

gavbbdodgyI got into this late in the year but it’s kinda funny how I stumbled upon¬†it.

I stumbled into the¬†video for the best track on the EP, “Adios“, after watching a few music videos of¬†Nova Rockafeller (@NovaRockafeller) on YouTube. Nova,¬†a Los Angeles transplant from Edmonton, Alberta who was¬†regularly featured on early¬†King of the Dot (@KingOfTheDot) videos, has a co-directing credit on the “Adios” video. Strangely enough, Blimes Brixton (@blimesbrixton), who used to go by the stage name Oh Blimey, was actually a fairly accomplished battle rapper back in the Grind Time days. Not quite a full circle moment but nearly.

Like Blimes, Gavlyn (@HiiGAVLYN) has been rapping for the better part of the past decade, earning herself quite a reputation throughout the underground LA rap scenes. This EP pits the two MCs and their undeniable chemistry against a backdrop of cold and steely beats sourced from the UK which allowed for Dodgy to show up as a nice little surprise towards the end of the calendar.

Standout track:¬†“Adios”

*     *     *     *     *

Harrisun21 – Damn Shawty

h21damnshawtyWith the Doppelgangaz (@TheDoppelgangaz) being one of the more prolific underground rap acts of the moment, it was a welcome sight to see their first solo release emerge from their camp last year.

For the first time, we hear MC/producer,¬†EP, without his partner, Matter Ov Fact, by his side and¬†we’re left with a smooth, humorous, and easy-to-digest project which¬†acts as a nice stopgap¬†in anticipation of the forthcoming, Dopp Hopp.

At 10 songs and 30 minutes, this record may¬†technically be more of a mini-LP than an EP but I felt it was close enough and certainly worthy of inclusion.¬†If you’re already familiar with the Gangaz, none of the material contained here on Damn Shawty is necessarily treading new ground – just more consistent beats and rhymes from one of the best crews in the game.

If you dig the production on this one, an instrumental version is also available for your listening pleasure. Get down with the black cloak lifestyle.

Standout track: “Fake Inspirational (intro)”

*     *     *     *     *

Vic Mensa – There’s Alot Going On

vicmensatagoMy biggest gripe with this EP is the misspelling in its title – fuckin’ annoying!

In spite of this glaring oversight, the Roc Nation artist manages to produce an extremely engaging and honest listen. With There’s Alot Going On, Vic Mensa¬†(@VicMensa) has created his most personal project to date while revealing just¬†how far he’s come since his time with Kids These Days.

In fact, the title track touches upon his split from his¬†aforementioned band as well as a variety¬†of other personal matters that shows a rapper as naked and vulnerable as we’re ever likely to see and hear. A true highlight with a fantastic video to match.

We’re still awaiting an official full length from Vic but this EP acts¬†as a¬†healthy appetizer in the meantime.

Standout track:¬†“There’s Alot Going On”

*     *     *     *     *

Vince Staples – Prima Donna

vincestaplesprimadonnaThis dude is a weirdo.

It took a while for Vince Staples (@vincestaples) to click with me. His two previous projects were cool but I didn’t go back to them often and felt the critical praise was slightly over-the-top.

Dude utilizes often bizarre instrumentals to rap over and has an odd cadence that can have a tendency to grate at times. Saying that, I’m sure many would say the same and more about Danny Brown…but I digress. After repeated listens of Prima Donna,¬†it began to resonate¬†and I quickly appreciated the experience on offer.

Bleak and optimistic, oftentimes within the same breath, the EP is a lot more conceptual than it may appear to be upon first listen and if you stick with it, there’s a great payoff by the time the 21-minute listen¬†completes its run.

Check out the video below as it serves as something of a mini-journey throughout the project in its entirety.

Standout track:¬†“Prima Donna (feat. A$AP Rocky)”

Go to the next page for the TOP SONGS of 2016

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s