Now if you read my playlist article from last summer, you know I firmly believe music is the language of salvation. When I think of how music got me through the darkest, turbulent moments of my life, all I can say is Ase.
Last year was difficult because I was still getting my New York legs firm, but now that I feel more seasoned (and more equipped to deal with angry, entitled Brooklyn niggas, the unreasonable smells, evil landlords and the attitudes), I truly had the best summer of my life. The last time I had a summer this memorable was the summer of ’09, for me that was the summer of growth and great loss
Between graduating and getting my Masters, going to Toronta, working AfroPunk, being in and out of jobs, and experiencing life outside the structure of a school setting, the music from some of these fresh artists made my summer was it was. So thank you again for these artists who made my summer and held me down.
Now without much more introduction, let's get into the music and thanks for listening.
- NoName: “Sunny Duet”
Playfully named by Rolling Stone as the “Chicago poet [with the] hopscotch flow” my summer was blessed with her debut mixtape “Telefone”. Between her bubblegum cadence, 70’s synthesizers, and clever story-telling, NoName already stole my heart. As a fresh, original voice in hip-hop, NoName’s music helped me wake up in the morning, followed me on the long trips back home, but more importantly she gives me hope that perhaps hip-hop can be more hospitable towards women in hip-hop. NoName is a regular girl and it’s the most refreshing face in this game that I’ve seen in a minute.
- NoName: “Forever”
I would be remised if I didn’t talk about how many black bodies were slain, news headline or not. This summer was a uniquely dangerous and difficult time for persons of color and NoName was bold and upfront about this panful fact throughout her music. I lost count of how many times I woke up to a morning of black death. I lost times of how many times I cried, but NoName “sunshine hip-hop” carried me through. I love her and the corner of hip-hop she is beginning to carve. I love how unbothered she is by uninformed opinions about her. I love how she knows no matter what she’ll live forever.
- Des Brenann: “Drift”
As I stated before when I did the initial write-up for this song, before I heard of Des Brenann, it had been a long time since so emotionally connected to. The bravery that it takes for an artist to speak their truth, especially an emerging artist, it is the marking on an artist who will change the change the climate of this line of work with their gifts.
- Radamiz: “New York Don’t Love Me
This song is my unofficial theme song for New York. Radamiz is the kind of emerging artist who, from his music alone positions himself as an artist who takes his craft very seriously. His lyrical dexterity and effortless ability for his words to be in matrimony with the beat solidifies Radamiz is a professional and it’s just a matter of time before the rest of the world peeps game.
- Dyme-a-Duzin: That Chicken (Remix) feat. Fabolous
The young Crown Fried King after getting to perform with the legend Fabolous was able to have him on the remix of his critically acclaimed song “That Chicken”. This song is fun and I wanted something to twerk to when I’m alone in my room. I often get told I’m too serious and “I’m a music critic” but I like to get loose and drink too much henny for my own good. Dyme’s music is no doubt the adobo seasoning of the playlist.
- Dyme-a-Duzin: Stay Up (feat. Kehlani)
I also had a lot, a lot of fun this summer. You may translate that in any way you wish. The chemistry between Kehlani and Dyme was nothing short of instant fireworks, definitely worthy of slow juke .
- Dash Machete: “C’mon”
Emerging rapper Dash, with only two singles out, has already been featured on Vibe and Respect Mag. I loved playing this song when I was getting ready to go out for the rest of the night or when I was about to hit the town with my girls. Red lipsticks, black dress, eyebrows effortlessly done. Bitch, I owned the night with this song. At the age of 19, the new rapper is already charming, sensual, inviting and a stunner. I’m excited to see what the rapper has to give us next.
- Liana Bank$: LVLUP
-Some more party music for the ladies, Liana Bank$ brought us the right vibes for feeling sexy in sweats and / or panties.
- Amine: Caroline
Sometimes I don’t want think or add critical discussions to the music I like and Amine brings the right balance between playful lyrics without bring wildly offensive or demeaning. He’s just riding around with a bunch of his homies (who I am convinced are all his cousins) and enjoying summer like me.
- Ox DaCowboy - “Life I Live”
Is it possible to be in love with a song…? That’s how I feel whenever this track drops. It’s fun and victorious and just hits with lines like “Gang-banging had my momma wishin’ she didn’t birth me”. It’s a song that has the duality to both humble me and pump me up.
- Freakquencee: “Stephen Curry”
It’s been a long time since I’ve believed in artist, and not an artist in terms of their work but also them as a figure. For this reason, Freakquencee is naturally gifted at blending both grit and tenderness all in one sensational track. If you’re a (part time) Warriors fan like me, then I hope you’ll love this tribute to one of the greatest basketball players out right now.
- TruthCity: “Summertime”
I couldn’t not have had any kind of summer without this song. It was so critical for me to end my playlist with this. As you know, TruthCity is an artist we’ve watch grow for some time now. Yes, I would be as bold as to state this is a classic summer jam. I could very well play this song during the winter and feel like summer has returned. BBQ, Cupid Shuffle with you auntie, lazying in the pool, chasing down ice cream trucks. One of TruthCity's many statements is "I'm here to make the soundtrack to your life" and that proves true for me in this outro.