beabadoobee: She Plays Bass
Influenced by the ’90s and dedicated to her friend and her band’s bass player Eliana, London-based beabadoobee’s “She Plays Bass” doubles as both a wistful love song and an ode to a best friend. beabadoobee (aka Bea Kristi) is set to release her third EP Space Cadet in October, on which “She Plays Bass” will appear. And though the song is sonically of another era, it’s also undeniably current.
Burna Boy: Pull Up
From his critically acclaimed album African Giant, Burna Boy’s “Pull Up” is a lively Afro-fusion track with massive pop appeal. In the new Meji Alab-directed video Burna (aka Damini Ebunoluwa Ogulu) is seen riding through London pleading his case to various women. The sultry Afro-Caribbean rhythm bopping under Burna’s effortless, soulful vocals proves to be infectious.
Tuxedo: The Tuxedo Way
Accompanied by a video directed by choreographer Ian Eastwood, Tuxedo’s “The Tuxedo Way” (from the new album Tuxedo III) is an anthem and a sonic mantra. The duo—comprised of Mayer Hawthorne and Jake One—is dead-set on resurrecting funk, complete with plenty of R&B, boom-bap and disco influences. While the tune is nostalgic (with just the right amount of self-aware kitsch), it’s also contemporary—and undeniably infectious.
Mura Masa feat. Clairo: I Don’t Think I Can Do This Again
Initially more reminiscent of Clairo’s recent work, “I Don’t Think I Can Do This Again” grows into a true duet—with her voice nuzzling seamlessly into Mura Masa’s mold. With sometimes sweet, sometimes distorted vocals by Clairo (aka Claire Cottrill) the song’s video follows suit, with wholesome images in nature becoming glitchy and trippy. All the while, the instrumental builds. With handclaps and a thumping bass-line, Mura Masa’s beat is grungy and juxtaposes Clairo’s delicate vocals perfectly.
berhana: Health Food
With a debut album due later year this year, berhana teases audiences with lead single “Health Food,” a playful, disco-tinged track about balancing the good with the bad. The accompanying video—directed by Sam Guest and Julia Baylis—was shot on 16mm and depicts berhana in a maze-like set wherein junk food abounds and green juice is a heavenly reprieve. Altogether it’s funky and lighthearted, and leaves audiences anxiously awaiting his forthcoming project.
London-based singer/songwriter Havelock has released a new bop inspired by the Neptunes and Justin Timberlake. “Pheromones” is a breezy, groovy tune that ebbs and flows in a delightfully laidback manner. Over an at-times thumping bass-line, plenty of synths and danceable percussion, Havelock’s vocals tell a story of science and desire: “Baby I’m drowning / lost in your pheromones,” he sings.
Inspectah Deck: Can’t Stay Away
Taken from Wu Tang Clan member Inspectah Deck’s Chamber #9 album, “Can’t Stay Away” pays homage to those who inspired his younger self. Backed by an instrumental built from dozens of samples (including The Fascinations, Eric B & Rakim and others) Deck recalls rappers and DJs he grew up admiring: from Mr Magic and DJ Kay Slay to Chuck Chillout and Jazzy Jeff. While he rhymes about the past affectionately, he admits that he’s never giving up on hip-hop: “I must admit without hip-hop I’d disappear / It’s like my heartbeat’s one with the kick and snare.”
Listen Up is published every Sunday and rounds up the new music we found throughout the week. Hear the year so far on our Spotify channel.