Read Listen Up


Mahotella Queens, Banks + Shlomo, Habibi and more in the music we tweeted this week


Big Boi feat. Phantogram and Sade: CPU 2.0

2014 may well be the year of OutKast. The “Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik”-bumping duo is set to headline over 40 music festivals throughout the year, including Coachella and Governor’s Ball, plus both Big Boi and André 3000 are slated to release solo albums (we can only hope for another Outkast record too). In anticipation of his new release, Big Boi is dropping re-imaginations of tracks from his previous albums. This week Big Boi released “CPU 2.0” a reinterpretation of the original track injected with a healthy dose of funk and soul via Sade’s “Nothing Can Come Betweeen Us.”


Habibi: I Got The Moves

Brooklyn-based Habibi dropped their self-titled, full-length album this week and in the midst of a long (and very cold) winter, it’s a welcome taste of warm weather to come. The lead single “I Got The Moves” is a minute and 45 seconds of garage pop bliss. Lead singer Rahill Jamalifard was inspired by pre-1979 Irananian music and art, and the band’s name comes from the Arabic term of affection meaning, “my love.” A surf rock rhythmic riff bounces over a tambourine-backed beat with vinyl-ed out Motown female vocals. Listening to the track instantly transports you to a summer afternoon—a much needed respite from the depths of the polar vortexes.


Banks: Brain

LA-based songstress Banks has already been gaining well-deserved international attention for her seductive, soulful tunes, but this week the Clash magazine cover girl may have outdone herself by teaming up with critically acclaimed producer Shlomo on the new track “Brain.” It’s a perfect pairing; Shlomo plays to Banks’ beautifully haunting vocals through his signature style of provocatively slow beats, for a song that entrances you with its surge of echoey harmonies and arresting lyrics. We can’t wait to hear even more from this already outstanding artist.


Mahotella Queens: Wozani Mahipi (Hippies Come to Soweto)

Originally formed in 1964, South Africa’s Mahotella Queens are still going strong (if missing some original members). The trio of enthusiastic ladies perform all over their native South Africa, as well as to sold-out shows across the UK. Our friends at Amateurism recently tipped us off to the talented ensemble with a blog post about the funky township song “Wozani Mahipi (Hippies Come to Soweto).” The video montage alludes to the track being an anthem about the country’s battle with oppression, but the Mahotella Queens live up to their name and sing about it with the utmost style and grace.


Nadus: Higher

This week’s #PrivateJam comes from NYC’s beloved Queen Bee and Good Peoples‘ founder Katie Longmyer—a woman who exemplifies the term cutting-edge. She tells us, “Claiming DC nightlife as my first home means being bred with Go Go and Bmore club music in my veins, so it’s no surprise that the Jersey Club movement that pulls some inspiration from those sounds is constantly bumping in my headphones these days. One of the kings of the movement right now direct out of Newark—Nadus—is pushing out some crazy edits of everyone’s favorite top tracks but I’m even more partial to his own music, which has a ton of depth and thoughtfulness all woven in to HUGE beats. ‘Higher‘ is one of my favorites because it’s so multi-layered on a production level. I can listen to it when I’m lost in my thoughts or hear it bangin’ through some club speakers. His next record drops in March on Pelican Fly and I’m counting the days.”

ListenUp is a Cool Hunting series published every Sunday that takes a deeper look at the music we tweeted about that week. Often we’ll include a musician or notable fan’s personal favorite in a song or album dubbed PrivateJam.


More stories like this one.