Over the last few weeks, Alicia Keys stunned us to silence with her new collab with Lil Wayne, Soom T returns to the stage with a folklorish track fit for a fairytale, and Roddy Ricch drops his third studio album titled LIVE LIFE FAST. 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.
SOOM T – PEARL OF GREAT PRICE
Once in a while, an unsuspecting project drops out of nowhere that send seventeen year old me spinning. Most probably know Soom T as the dub culture warrior who blended together her roots in Bhangagra music and her love for Reggae to create iconic rollers like Jump Up Quickly and Close Your Eyes. However, her latest project Victory is a showcase of her singer-songwriter side that explores a folklorish land of her own creation. Pearl of Great Price is somewhere between a Celtic war song and the most beautiful sea shanty you’ve ever heard. Its dope to have Soom T back in the rotation.
MANGA SAINT HILAIRE – SEAT AT THE TABLE
Manga Saint Hilaire has had an unbelievably strong year with every release outdoing the stomach-churningly high standard of the last. On Seat The Table he teams up with Australian bass culture collective Iron Gate Sound for an understated riddim that scores a perfect playground for Manga to drop a madness over. Personally, Manga Saint Hillaire is fighting first on my must-watch list next year.
WET LEG – TOO LATE NOW
Native Isle of Wight duo Wet Leg are one of our fondest diamonds to emerge from the rough (and I mean really rough) year we’ve all endured. Their surf-rock style of song construction and affinity for playful wordplay and nostalgic FX pedal effects creates exactly the heartwarming harmony we need to carry into the new year. Not to mention that the flow pattern of the pre-chorus is an unreal exhibition of lyrical ability.
P1CAPS – ENLIGHTENED FREESTYLE
Manchester has been doing the most this year with artists like K.I.M.E, SVMI, Just Banco and P1 all delivering standout singles. P1 Caps is ending the year strong with a wickedly effortless freestyle that sees the spitter glide over an oriental style beat. Piercing strings strung delicately across a sweeping bassline. It seems like Shelly-Ann season never ends.
ALICIA KEYS FT. LIL WAYNE – NAT KING COLE (UNLOCKED)
It really is Alicia’s world and we are all just living in it. The silver-tongued crooner has completely dominated the airwaves this month after fully releasing her latest album Keys at the start of this month. Besides being a treasure trove of soulful symphonies and a full archive of Alicia’s greatness, Keys also features a number of unexpected collabs with the likes of Pusha T, Swae Lee and Khalid. However, it’s ‘Nat King Cole’ that hits like it has been plucked straight from the opening credits of a Bond film. Effortlessly slick and timelessly performed, this album is a true highlight of the year.
SRUFFIZER – FLUTE FREESTYLE
Scruffizer is coming straight on his Dizzee Rascal Flex on this one, spitting a mean double-time across a more than challenging beat. There is so much open space in this riddim that a lesser MC could easily get lost but Scruffizer clearly has the roadmap across this treacherous terrain. His energy level is always at rave-levels no matter the track and it’s amazing to hear him back on his crud flow after a slew of high profile dance collabs.
RODDY RICCH & GUNNA – DON’T I
Roddy Ricch’s third studio album LIVE LIFE FAST has officially arrived and with it a slew of singles worthy of lauding. However, ‘Don’t I’ may swoop under the radar amongst so many heavy-hitting collabs with artists like Future, 21 Savage, Takeoff and Lil Baby. The eloquent interludes and simplicity of layered string under riding this whole track is a welcome retreat from the undulating spontaneity of a lot of Roddy’s other arrangements. Whilst a lot of fans will undoubtedly debate the standard of this record in comparison to Please Excuse Me For Being Antisocial, LLF has plenty to offer in its own right and should be appreciated in its own time.
NTJAM – WHAT IS LOVE?
Cameroonian crooner and soulful singer-songwriter Ntjam Rosie is dishing up a delicacy of honey-toned vocals and watery guitar licks with her latest album Home Cooking. After the release of her healded 2020 project Family & Friends, Ntjam has continued to build on her budding global appreciation with her single ‘Nothing Can Tear Us Apart’ dropping ahead of this album. If I could only recommend going to one show next year, Ntjam would be a strong contender for sure, her vibes are just unmatchable.