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 few weeks, Big Zuu proved why he is the master of collaborations brining in JME and Novelist on ‘Offline’, Obongjayar father established himself as a future face of UK music with ‘Message In A Hammer’ and Conducta crafted an instant anthem alongside Coco. 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.
OBONGJAYAR – MESSAGE IN A HAMMER
Fresh off an instant classics appearance on Lil Simz sultry single ‘Point & Kill’, Obongjayar is back with a surreal track titled ‘Message In A Hammer’. This track hits like an old SBTRKT record with a heavy panning baseline composed of a number of different drumming styles. Obongjayar has established himself as a future face of UK music. With tracks like this arriving swiftly after a landmark collaboration, he is sure to set him in good stead for breakout artist of the year.
BONOBO X JAMILLA WOODS – TIDES
Bonobo has been killing it as of late, surpassing even his own exceedingly high standard. As those cold early evenings set in, ‘Tides’ offers the perfect balance of moody melancholic orchestration and youthfully optimistic violin progressions. Warm yet aloof, this track is the perfect blank canvas for the sole restoring tones of Jamilla Woods.
CONDUCTA FT. COCO – WANT YOU
Conducta has long been king of rave anthems and ‘Want You’ is just the latest in a longline if examples as to why his reign continues. Straight garage influences on this one as Coco boasts a bashfully eloquent verse that glides seamlessly across a constantly shifting pocket. Few artists have been added to my ‘post-lockdown’ concert wishlist ahead of Conducta and ‘Want You’ is exhibit A in this reasoning.
HAPPI – TWISTED
Hailing straight from the heart of North London, Happi is a keen curator of good vibes and positivity. ‘Twisted’ will have you smiling from ear to ear as it just radiates good times with a soulful symphony of instrumentation and wordplay. Plus with the addition of a bad ass guitar solo, it’s like sunshine in a single!
BIG ZUU FT. JME AND NOVELIST – OFFLINE
Big Zuu is ahead of the pack when it comes to orchestrating stone cold collaborations. Whether it’s a Royal Rumble clash tape with Capo Lee and Kamakaze or a staple Grime tune with D Double E, Zuu always seems to find a way to call up the biggest heavy hitters in the game. Of course this wouldn’t be a true best of UK grime track without a saucy Sir Spyro production. This track is taken straight from Big Zuu’s latest album Navigate.
MUGUN – WALKING STREET
Mugun is the latest tastemaker from the newest class of Coventry creatives causing waves across the UK scene. Following in the footsteps of artists like Jevon and J1, Mugun is delivering a raw and original Afrobeat sound that takes the bounce and humor of J-Hus and the straight crud wordplay of Headie One to create something new altogether. ‘Walking Street’ is a perfect example of why Mugun is a must watch artist this year.
SASHA KEABLE X JORJA SMITH – KILLING ME
Although this track dropped a few weeks back it would a shame not to recap on it this week having got the chance to live with it for a while. Simply put, ‘Killing Me’ is a haunting display of vocal acrobatics by two of the UKs leading ladies. Plucked straight from a future James Bond title scene, this track is a sophisticated samba inspired track that sees a honey-like flamenco guitar strung delicately across a piercing violin and . I’m always surprised by Jorjas constant willingness to collaborate with up-and-coming artists and ‘Killing Me’ is yet another nod of approval to a rising star of London’s deep R&B talent pool.
KOJEY RADICAL – HARDEST BARS FREESTYLE
Ok, it may be a tad cheeky to include a freestyle in our release breakdown but for Kojey Radical I think we can all make an exception. Last week the Newham lad graced us all with a surprise appearance on the latest installment of the Hardest Bars cypher. He appeared as effortlessly cool as ever, dropping numerous references to the long list of legendary MC’s that have co-signed the wicked wordsmith. To get a glimpse of true lyrical mastery make sure you check out this freestyle whilst it’s still hot off the press.
LORD KEZ FT SHEKHINAH – BELLADONNA
We love it when a new artist pops up on our radar and we will be paying close attention to both Lord Kez and Shekhinah going forward. Belladonna is mellow as mellow can be with tasteful 80’ Parisian style synths and a gentle rolling baseline that creates a stunningly simple yet captivating beat.