The music industry is moving faster than ever with more and more era-defining albums and singles seemingly dropping every week. With such a wide variety of releases swooping under the radar, it’s imperative that we pause to highlight the best production, lyricism and overall artistry exhibited by the best underground artist the music world has to offer. Over the last couple of weeks, J Cole joined Joyner Lucas on ‘Your Heart’, Headie One dropped a standout album titled Too Loyal For My Own Good, Kojey Radical pushed sonic and artistic boundaries with ‘War Outside Ft. Lex Amor’, Conducta brought the Garage heat we all needed alongside Rachel Chinouriri on ‘Right Together, and Leicester’s own Sainte built on the success of Local MVP by teaming up with A2 & Knucks on ‘Summer In Blue’. Whether it’s hidden gems, standout singles, revolutionary remixes or archetypal albums, come celebrate the overlooked exceptionalism and individualism of today’s best musicians with the CULTED Release Radar.
JOYNER LUCAS – YOUR HEART FT. J.COLE
After teasing it for weeks on end on social media, Massachusetts MC Joyner Lucas has finally released his first collaboration track with J Cole titled ‘Your Heart’. This is the second consecutive appearance from J Cole in the last two weeks following the release of ‘Heavens EP’, a J Cole twist on Drake’s Certified Lover Boy beat ‘Pipe Down’. However, unlike many Cole collaborations in which the title artist often picks a jazz-inspired orchestrated track, Joyner has stuck to his own style on this one, bringing J Cole onto a bass-heavy cathartic riddim that explores the turmoil of heartbreak. It really is a treat to see J Cole in the spotlight for this long, fingers crossed there are more appearances to come.
HEADIE ONE – CRY
Headie One‘s brand new album Too Loyal For My Own Good is officially here! There are so many standout singles from the project that it’s hard to narrow down to just one, it’s definitely worth a full listen through. However, ‘Cry’ is certainly a standout riddim with a deep plunging bass line that hits like a London twist on a DaBaby beat, while Headie exhibits his inarguable lyrical evolution as he continues to take his spacing and flow to a new plateau
KOJEY RADICAL – WAR OUTSIDE FT. LEX AMOR
Kojey calls on Lex Amor for an ice-cold collaboration of his new single ‘War Outside’. Produced by Swindle & KZ, this track sees Kojey bring to light many of the societal ills and injustices experienced throughout the world over the last two years in a spine-chilling visualiser directed by Dumas Haddad. Kojey’s patented rap/sing flow pattern makes the perfect accompaniment to Lex’s raspy guttural vocals. Mr Radical is inarguably one of the most out-of-the-box thinking MC’s in the game today who never shies away from a chance to comment on the state of society in a creative and conscious way, ‘War Outside’ is the epitome of this.
OTIS MCDONALD – DO YOURSELF A FAVOUR Ft. DANIEL CASARES
Producer and multi-instrumentalist extraordinaire Otis McDonald has returned with his second single of the year, ‘Do Yourself A Favour’ alongside Daniel Casares, Adam Theis & Max Daniel. Following on from the success of ‘Thanks Man’ earlier in the year, Otis returns with a boom-bap and Motown influenced groove that is certain to add a little needed Funk to your autumn playlist. Swooping saxophone solos and a crisp drum beat create a tapestry of technically baffling instrumentation that surrounds the listener in an old school aesthetic yet still sounds contemporary in ints composition.
AITCH – PARTY ROUND MY PLACE FT. AVELINO & TODDLA T
The cheeky chappy of the North, Aitch, is back at it again but this time has teamed up with a true legend of UK Hip-Hop and one half of the greatest ‘Fire In The Booth’ performance ever, Avelino. The track is produced by Toddla T and comes with the bounce you only expect from one of his productions. Avelino has never been one to conform to one set image of his artistry and this appearance embodies that spirit as he lays down a polished and effortlessly sung chorus instead of his exhibiting his traditional rapid-fire pen game.
NALU – DEEPER FT. YOUNGSTACPT
Nalu has been one of the brightest stars to emerge during the pandemic following the release of her debut soulful single ‘Lockdown Blues’. Now the 23-year-old singer from Cape Town has teamed up with South Africa’s MC of the moment YoungstaCPT to craft an instant banger titled ‘Deeper’. The range of Nalu’s silky covers is on full display on this track as she blends a Jorja Smith and Corinne Bailey Rae sort of sound to make something ethereal but grounded in a relatable and unforced hip-hop aesthetic. Nalu is certainly one to watch over the next year.
METRONOMY – 405 FT. BIIG PIIG
Brighton based production collective Metronomy have just released their fourth studio album Posse EP Volume 1 more than 10 years after bursting onto an international stage with their revered album The English Riviera. They are joined by an array of standout vocalists such as Sorry, Pinty and Brian Nasty, however, it’s Biig Piig’s performance on ‘405’ that has us captivated. 80’s synth-infused keyboard progressions and echoed panning vocals strung across a delicate drumline create the perfect foundations for Biig Piig to add a graceful and layered vocal performance.
CONDUCTA – RIGHT TOGETHER FT. RACHEL CHINOURIRI
Conducta has been at the forefront of UK Jungle since founding the trailblazing Garage label Kiwi Records in the early 2010s. Now he has teamed up with Rachel Chinouriri, the leading lady of the UK underground scene right now, to delivered a good vibes only rolling riddim that can turn up any dancefloor. ‘Right Together’ is an airy and spaced out track that plays on the delicate nuances of Rachels haunting vocals to create something that seems simple at first but reveals itself to be layered with hidden pockets and spine-tingling vocal textures.
X AMBASSADORS – BEAUTIFUL LIAR
Admittedly, many of us probably haven’t thought about the X Ambassadors since our teenage years screaming ‘Renegades’ at the top of our voices at Reading & Leeds, and quite frankly…shame on us! Now the Brooklyn based trio has returned with an inspiring new album A Beautiful Liar that takes on a novel style layout with tracks being broken down into two distinct ‘chapters’ with a track l=titled ‘Authors Notes’ ending the project. The title track ‘Beautiful Liar’ is a truly epic production that feels like it’s been plucked straight from the next Bond movie. Inclining crescendos and raw industrial samples create a bottomless soundscape that swallows the listener into the imaginary world they create throughout the album.
SAINTE – SUMMER IN BLUE FT. A2 & KNUCKS
Fresh off the enormous success of his debut EP Local MVP, Leicester based MC Sainte is back to the grindstone with a brand new star-studded track, ‘Summer In Blue’ featuring fellow headliners of tomorrow A2 & Knucks. As is typical of Sainte’s patented sound, ‘Summer in Blue’ fuses the UK flow patterns he grew up on with a bass-heavy production style straight of the sunny shores of the West Coast. Local MVP did absolute numbers and it’s clear that the young up-and-comer has no plans of slowing down.
HIGH CONTRAST – BOURGEOIS IMAGERY FT. ALAN FITZPATRICK
This weeks standout Drum & Bass heavy roller is a spine-tingling arrangement by the liquid funk pioneers High Contrast. Joined by British DJ Alan Fitzpatrick the talented tandem create a futuristic and dystopian sounding track that revolves around the notion of tearing down the bourgeois system as a hauntingly anonymous voice protrudes over a rapidly escalating harsh metallic beat.