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Kenny Beats – Family Tree
As one of rap’s most in-demand beatmakers, Kenny Beats’ debut album is an unexpected move from the guy who shows up to a gig with a ridiculous amount of MCs in tow. Where you might expect him to invite the biggest name talent he could find in his stuffed contacts list to vocal the productions, only slowthai and JPEGMAFIA get passed the mic on the mainly-instrumental Louie, and their names don’t appear on the tracklisting. The album is Kenny Beats’ sonic gift to his father, who was recently diagnosed with cancer, and an ode to the radio show-style tapes he made back in the ’90s, so there’s soul samples, psych tracks as well as the voices of boy Kenny and his father. Family Tree is one of the standouts – it’s a funk-bass chugger with an inescapable groove and woozy guitars, co-produced by none other than Mac DeMarco. FM
Karen Nyame KG – Taboo
Karen Nyame KG is one of those artists who desperately deserves her flowers. On 2020 and ’21’s Sensei EPs, the producer and vocalist, who came up through the UK funky scene, nailed her template of polyrhythmic, crowd-heating anthems. Her very welcome return, Taboo, is a sax-peppered party tune with amapiano log drums which groove away steadily. Nyame KG has described Taboo as “a celebration of existing loudly” and fittingly, she dropped it on her birthday. What better present could you possibly give yourself than a dancefloor-destined banger? FM
Shygirl – Nike
Shygirl once again harnesses BDE, flipping Nike’s “Just Do It” slogan to titillate listeners and drily rapping raunchy lines like “Big snack, Big Mac, Hit ‘em with the Cardiac” over a minimal, heavily percussive beat produced by Mura Masa and Oscar Sheller. Nike – the latest taste of Shygirl’s forthcoming album Nymph – is levelled-up but laid-back sensuality, as nonchalant as a slide into the DMs. OP
Talia Goddess – RAGGA
Brooklyn native Talia Goddess takes the foundations of dancehall and mashes them up with the kind of grungy electronic sounds you’d hear at an underground rave. With lyrics that talk big, a familiar beat that gets hips moving and a winding synth that weaves between the two, RAGGA is tailor made for partying. OP
Babyface Ray & Digga D – Goofies
After featuring US artists Moneybagg Yo and B‑Lovee on his album Noughty by Nature, Digga D’s latest transatlantic linkup is with Detroit’s Babyface Ray, who made his first trip to the UK for Wireless this summer. On paper, this collab doesn’t make much sense – Digga is renowned for the punchiness of his flow, whereas Ray’s known for a slippy style and his nonchalant delivery. But both rappers sound cool and comfortable on the Goofies beat, which underpins vintage sci-fi movie sounds with a low-slung trap beat. DR
Yeat – Talk
You either love Yeat’s music, hate it, or you still have no idea who he is. He’s attracting die-hard followers and haters in equal measure, and he’s blowing up despite the fact that he doesn’t engage with traditional media platforms at all. Talk opens with a sample of Yeat fans who are buzzing after a gig which got shut down by police, and here the LA-via-Portland rapper gives an appreciative nod to his devoted following – “All of my fans is my family, my cult, my brother, my slime, my twizzy, my money.” Talk is the first track from Yeat’s upcoming mixtape Lyfë, and it sounds just like his other songs. Over muddy drums and fizzy rage rap synths, he mumbles and flings out AutoTuned melodies which occasionally get stuck in your head. If it ain’t broke… DR