Kanye West & Kid Cudi – Kids See Ghosts
Whatever your opinion of Kanye West is, you can’t deny that he has made some great music. The enigmatic figure, love him or hate him, loathe his manipulation of the media and outspoken personality, his relationship with Kim Kardashian, he’s an artist who has consistently released good music, whilst pushing boundaries and often changing perspectives. On ‘Kids See Ghosts’ he is joined by long-term collaborator Kid Cudi, who like Kanye is returning to music after battling depression.
The album feeds off the two oposing personalities, the impulsive brashness of Kanye, as he raps “I love all your shit talking, you ain’t got nothing better to do with yourself” and the melancholy tones of Cudi, who croons his way through the album, ocassionally breaking out into verses reminding us as to why so many have been inspired by him. Like the other projects released in the past few weeks from G.O.O.D musics takeover, Pusha T‘s ‘Daytona’ and Kanye’s solo album ‘Ye’, the album is seven tracks long, packed with various samples, ad-libs and ideas. Sometimes the message gets a bit lost in all of the madness, but there’s still many gems and highlights.
‘Reborn’ and ‘Kids See Ghosts’, featuring Mos Def, are the stand out tracks, in a staccato style project that fluctuates in production, these two tracks are the most solid and concise songs off the album. It’s a project that I feel will grow with each listen, at the time of writing I’ve only had the opportunity to listen to it twice through. However, as far as first impressions go, this is my favourite album out of the three new releases. The creativity, chemistry and magic is there to hear, if only for a glimpse, but not a minute is wasted.
Jorja Smith – Lost & Found
At only 20, Jorja Smith has already collaborated with some of musics biggest stars, having worked with Drake on ‘Get It Together’, and also having her own solo track ‘I Am’ on the Kendrick Lamar-curated ‘Blank Panther: The Album’. Like other artists who have reached worldwide attention through collaborations, like Sampha for example, it’s important to seize the moment and solidify your own career and voice. On ‘Lost & Found’ Jorja Smith shows why she is one of R&B’s biggest talents. Her vocal capabilities and ability to create a melody are breathtaking at times, her fragile thoughts and vulnerability pouring out, particularly on tracks such as ‘Goodbyes’ and ‘Tomorrow’. The album has sprinkles of hip-hop excursions as well, showing off her Lauryn Hill-like bars on ‘Lifeboats Freestyle’, and a nod to the grime scene with a tasteful Dizzee Rascal sample on ‘Blue Lights’. Jorja Smith is no doubt one of the next big things in music, and with an abum as refreshing and beautiful as this, it’s not hard to see why.
Lykke Li – so sad so sexy
A lot can happen in four years, just ask Lykke Li. After moving to LA, the 32-year old went through a turbalent time, having given birth to her son Dion in 2016, her mother and photographer Kärsti Stiege, died. Whereas songs such as ‘hard rain’ and ‘two nights’ suggest the end of a relationship, and the falling in and out of love. Things have changed since the release of her last album ‘I Never Learn’ in 2014. Not only in her personal life, but musically too. The power balads and dreamy-pop of that 2014 release are replaced with trap and R&B, combining these sounds with her beloved signature style she hasn’t jumped ship, but yet explored a new world to take on her melancholic tales. Her new surroundings in LA have definitely influneced the direction of the album too, having access to a wider range of producers such as Rostam Batmanglij, Malay and Skrillex. Like LA, the album is glossy and polished on the surface, but with a deeper underbelly of networks, stories and tales running ever so closely by, peering out every now and then, ‘better alone’ and ‘deep end’ being examples of this, whereas ‘utopia’ is a triumphant ending to an ambitious, and wonderfully enthralling album.