Over the past two years or so, we’ve taken great joy in a certain development in North American popular music. We’ve discussed it once before, and, after a few years of dismal monotony, pop music is (finally) getting weird again. Vocalists and producers are reaching further and further into unconventional territories and for the first time since Virginia Beach ran the charts, pop music is genuinely exciting again. Of course, much of this progress is occurring in the R&B realm and, hate or love his past work, The-Dream is at the pin point of this particular creative explosion. On May 28, Terius Nash will release his fifth studio album, IV Play, which will feature an impressive list of guest spots from Jay-Z, Beyonce, Pusha T, Fabolous and more. You can stream the title track below, a song that takes some pretty overt influence from Ginuwine’s “Pony” and R. era R. Kelly. Like most of The-Dream’s other work, both vocal and production, “IV Play” will sound incredible on a huge system and is sure to incite more than a little bump n grind action.
We were introduced to Figgy back in January when he expertly remxied Drake’s “Doing It Wrong”, melting Aubrey’s vocals into checkmunk territory over a seductive slow house jam. Yesterday, we received another remix in the same mold, this time a timely refix of The-Dream’s “Ghetto”. The-Dream’s falsetto slides right into the grooves of Figgy’s aloof production, which leans towards the pseudo-trance that’s becoming increasingly popular. Stream below and grab the remix here.
Can we talk about Steven Ellison for a moment? Just take a few minutes out of this lovely Sunday afternoon to recognize what the man stands for and what he represents in the 2012 music landscape. This little piece probably won’t include anything that hasn’t been said, but it’s so worth reiterating it, especially this week. As Flying Lotus, Steven Ellison has produced some of the most divergent, thought provoking and challenging
electronic music of the past 20 or so years. Since his arrival, Mr. Ellison has essentially put Los Angeles’ instrumental hip hop movement, known by most as the “beat scene”, on his back, pushing it into international waters. Despite being the figurehead of this movement, touring incessantly and heading a hugely successful label, he is still the very best at what he does. Furthermore, he seems to genuinely enjoy making music, meeting fans and performing. If you’ve ever seen a Flying Lotus set, you know what I’m talking about. That ear-to-ear smile is just impossible not to replicate. That’s why it isn’t even remotely surprising that Ellison devised and followed through on the Captain Murphy project. Ok, his above-average rapping ability is a little surprising, but the fact that he would release a free album featuring a menagerie of the best MC’s and producers in hip hop shouldn’t be. So before getting to the rest of this week’s sounds, can we all take a moment to thank Steven Ellison? He deserves that much from us.
We were last with San Francisco-based producer Charlie Yin aka Giraffage when he remixed Kid Smpl’s “What Kept Us” last month. Yin is back with an addictive remix of The-Dream’s “Shawty In Da Shit”. The remix relies on a dreamy synths and filtered vocals that just exude sex appeal. Sexy yacht music for those rare sunny Fall days. Shawty certainly is the shit. Stream and download below.