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Swimming Pools (Black Hippy Remix) – Kendrick Lamar (ft. Ab-Soul, ScHoolBoy Q and Jay Rock)
 
[good kid, m.A.A.D city] 
 
First off, let me say that it’s been over a decade since I’ve come across a hip hop crew whose members complemented each other as perfectly as the Black Hippy MCs do. Between Ab-Soul, Jay Rock, Kendrick Lamar and ScHoolBoy Q, there is no weak link at all. While each MC has their own distinct flow and style, none is weaker than anyone else in the group. It’s just up to you as the listener as to whose rhyming style you prefer. Not since the days of Flipmode Squad and Def Squad (when Jamal was still a member) have I been excited about a hip hop crew as I am about Black Hippy.
 
While “Swimming Pools” thrust Kendrick Lamar into the mainstream hip hop limelight, it was still a quality track, both in terms of beats, lyrics and flow. On this remix, Black Hippy just took the beat and ran with it. They make full use of the beat’s potential and make you fall in love all over again with hip hop. Each MCs verse bears their signature without overpowering the other members, allowing the track to be a posse cut in the truest sense. Even if the world goes to hell in a hand basket  on 21st December 2012 like the Mayans predicted, it won’t really faze people as long as this is the soundtrack to the end of the world while you’re enjoying your favourite drink.

Contributed by Jabu Sigege

One Step Ahead - Aretha Franklin

[ Single ]

You recognise this song, don’t you? It really warms me. I’m so used to hearing the Hip Hop sample, all looped and loud, that this is entirely refreshing; it has a slow, measured and achingly beautiful novelty about it.

Aretha sounds like Autumn and unrequited devotion.

Contributed by Nova

Breathe - Cinematic Orchestra ft Fontella Bass
[ Ma Fleur ]
I don’t remember the first time I heard The Cinematic Orchestra. All I know is that that’s when I started seeing that much clearer.
It’s the kind of music that has never been always a part of my life. And this song particularly voices what I ordinarily can’t about my love for beautiful music.
And more so, my immense love for The Cinematic Orchestra. It carries me out to sea and swallows me into the deep, and comforts me. Every time I hear a Cinematic track, I mean every single time, I find myself thinking how much I hope they decide to come to SA and grace us with this soul lifting, soul cleansing, soul clogging music. I’m still hoping…
Contributed by Dawn Plaatjie

Be a Body – Grimes

[ Visions ]

Like a synthesized punch in the face.  There are a lot of things I would prefer to be assaulted with over electronica but this new brand of electronic industrial pop, with an eerie ambience and masochistic impression makes you feel like you’re doing something wrong by listening to it.  And I like that. Canadian musician and video director, Grimes, contributes her saccharine vocals and piercing pitch over layers of ethereal waves and reverberating bass.  The thread of experimentation and visual arts is so tightly wound around this track that I can just about see the horizon of this sensual dreamscape.  And like all good songs, it has the decency to incorporate a thumping bridge with some head-bumping deep percussion.

Contributed by Nomalanga Humphrey

Why Won’t You Make Up Your Mind - Tame Impala

[ Innerspeaker ]

Guitars on guitars upon reverbed guitars, drums on drums, synths on synths, harmonies on harmonies melodies on melodies and bass on bass on bass and some more bass for good measure. Oh my god, yes, that is the best way I can describe the sound Tame Impala.

This song comes from their debut album, Innerspeaker. Don’t y’all love songs with a slow build-up and towards the end almost sound like they’re on the verge of falling apart, but are kept intact by the sheer skill of the musicians - sort of like improvised jazz? That’s exactly how this song sounds. But the crazy thing is that it’s all played by one man. How he manages to make it sound like it’s four people playing together in a room is beyond me.

*Tame Impala are an Australian one man band - in the studio - and four piece for touring.

Contributed by Litha Gogela

The Meaning of Love - Mads Arp feat. Julie Harrington 

[ Cafe Del Mar & Chill Out Lounge Mix ]

Halo mes amis.
 
I have missed you dearly and I want to to know that I am always with you.
I love lounging to Cafe del Mar whilst interacting with one of my best friends, Mary Jane.
This song shuffled on my ‘lounging playlist’ this morning and what else could I do but share it with you all.
Always in light, love and search of my love. The love I want to give and that I shall receive is one that is beyond our comprehension. I wish for everyone to experience this.
 
Bisous et bon chance,
 
Ipeleng Motuba aka Queen of the *UNIVERSE*

Couple Bars (Honey, Sugar, Darling, Sweetie, Baby, Boo) - Homeboy Sandman

[ First Of A Living Breed ]

Homeboy Sandman is that dude. He’s probably my favourite MC out right now. This song, Couple Bars, is off his debut album off Stones Throw - he has two previous albums.

This song is just cute man. I think all dudes should rap this shit to their ladies. Really cool song!

Contributed by Litha Gogela

Pu$$y - Iggy Azalea

[ Ignorant Art ]

Oh but this is my latest titillation and guilty pleasure, Iggy Azalea. First came across her in a fun story off of the Complex Mag website talking about weird rap names. Obviously the song’s name caused serious eye drag, followed quickly by mouse click. I wasn’t disappointed, how could I be… I am only a man.

But the Grace Jones/Eddie Murphy intro straight off Boomerang is still rib crack funny… now think of Grace Jones doing that Hoola Hoop thing during the Queen’s 50th Jubilee Concert and tell me this song ain’t gansta… rish.

But musically its a strange mix of tequila and Cointreau… kick you hard but soothe you nice, and you are sure gona get effed, up good. There was talk of beef with some other Azalea blah blah blah, you know the rap game. So guess she is working on her rep or whatever. I love the irreverence of it all. I don’t exactly see a Marshal Mathers happening, but my summer sound track is gona be doep.

Contributed by Ewetse Khama

Posers – The New Royales (feat. Jay Electronica)
[ Attack Of The Clones ]

I’m listening to this song as I write this. And I am struggling with finding the right words to convey exactly just how next level this track is. Awesome. Cool. Tight. Dope. Those words just don’t cut it. DJ Khalil’s mesmerising beat paired with Jay Electronica’s deceptively Byzantine lyrics and finished off with the airy vocals of Erik Alcock & Liz Rodrigues is a layered sonic work of art.  

Contributed by Jabu Sigege
 
Devil’s Dance – Vespertina
[ The Waiting Wolf ]
 
Stoupe The Enemy of Mankind (of Jedi Mind Tricks’ fame) has done it again. After creating one of the most elegantly beautiful (non-hip hop) albums “A Bright Cold Day” I’ve ever heard with songstress Liz Fullerton (as the group Dutch), he’s forged another masterpiece. Teaming up with yet another velvety voiced and talented singer, Lorrie Doriza, to become Vespertina, they dropped “The Waiting Wolf” album.
 
Filled with extraordinary tracks that make love to your ear drums, my current favourite on the album is Devil’s Dance.  The word ‘vespertine’ means ‘of, or occurring, in the night/evening’. While the outstanding beat cooked up by Stoupe on this track  certainly sounds dramatic and foreboding, it’s offset by the gossamer tone of Lorrie Doriza’s voice. I really don’t know where Stoupe finds such talented vocalists. But wherever the factory is, I hope it stays open for business.

Contributed by Jabu Sigege