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, the UK’s leading lady Joy Crookes stunned us all with a soulful and heartfelt project titled ‘Skin’, Swindle continued to partner with the most prolific vocalists in the game, Chip, D Double E and Dizzee Rascal ( AKA the holy trinity of UK grime) turned out for a landmark collab on ‘Stuttering’, Masego returned with his trademark honey-toned harmonics alongside Dreamville MC JID and Outkast legend Big Boi, and our very own Nia Archives went back to basics with a jungle anthem fit for any post-pandemic rave. 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.
P MONEY X SILENCER FT. D DOUBLE E, CHIP, DIZZEE RASCAL – STUTTERING
I don’t know what we did to deserve this collaboration but it seems as if the grime gods have blessed us with a spooky offering heading into the Halloween shenanigans. P Money and Silencer have put together a lineup that could easily be mistaken as the shortlist for the first-ever UK Hip-Hop Hall of Fame induction as D Double E, Chip and Dizzie Rascal jump in on a classic road anthem. Tinny high hats, creeping keys and a plethora of rapid-fire D Double adlibs make this track a strong contender for standout collaboration of the year.
NIA ARCHIVES – FORBIDDEN FEELINGZ
Our favourite Drum & Bass triple threat Nia Archives is at it again, crafting another boundary-pushing bassline that can melt your face off. The rapid rise of this multi-dimensional vocalist, producer and DJ has been defined by her unparalleled respect for classic drum and bass, allowing her to blend seamlessly between Jungle and Dub sounds without diminishing a not of her raw DnB sound. ‘Forbidden Feelingz’ is somewhat of a continuation of her recent work with Congo Natty on Lava La Rule’s track Magpie as she seamlessly integrates that uptempo sporadic flow amongst heavy drums and full-bodied 808’s. Check out our full interview with Nia to learn more about her out of the box approach to production!
GREENER KNOTS – MAXO KREAM
Houston hero Maxo Kream is continuing his legacy as one of the most influential MC’s of his era with his riddim ‘Greener Knots’. Maxo is always surprising us with his ingenious flow patterns that truly stand out in a US market, often hitting more like an experimental MC on the UK Alternative scene and this track is a testament to his untarnished credibility as a wicked wordsmith. The often self-deprecating, joke-cracking and goofy demeanour of Mr Kream takes a back seat on this one as he leans more into the straight gangster qualities of his character to create a suave and sophisticated sound that unfolds like a bombastic bouquet of bass and wordplay.
MANGA SAINT HILLAIRE – FINDING OUT
Manga Saint Hillaire has never shied away from picking beats that would present a challenge for many lesser one-dimensional artists. ‘Finding Out’ echoes the inward-looking sentiment that fans of Manga have grown to love as he is able to captivate our attention with production that reached beyond his staple grime-centric sounds and instead relies on intricate composition and the softer side of his often lighthearted and loveable character. Charisma and charm ooze from this track as Manga once again shows us why he is credited as one of the UK’s most relatable MC’s.
JOY CROOKES – KINGDOM
UK underground music has a new leading lady. Joy Crookes has just released her long-awaited 13 track album titled ‘Skin’ and it’s just as sultry and soulful as we all hoped it would be. Turn the volume up high and let the rolling drumline and staccato guitar of ‘Kingdoms’ opening interlude wash over you on a lazy Sunday morning as the coffee bubbles and broils on the hob and suddenly the sunny skies of summer will rear their smiling face once more.
CHARLOTTE DE WITTE – ASURA
This one is for the real ravers. Ahead of her headline show at the legendary Amsterdam electronic festival ADE, Belgian born Techno superstar Charlotte De White has dropped a tantalising 3 track EP titled ASURA. Charlotte has always been beloved for her blend of dark cinematic vocal samples and busking basslines that hit like a sucker-punch to the gut and the title track ‘Asura’ is emblematic of all these qualities. Haunting choral samples layered beneath a spitting bass that grows louder and more cathartic with every passing beat make this track an instant must-see for any techno head making the pilgrimage to ADE this year.
FRED AGAIN – HANNAH
The UK sound has been better and more complex since Fred Again stepped onto the scene and ‘Hannah’ is a perfect reminder of his paramount importance to our scene. Bill Withers is one of those heroes we lost this year and Fred Again uses this track to pay homage to one of music’s greats as ‘Just The Two Of Us’ makes up the bedrock of this track on which every other glowing and warming note is built.
MASEGO FT BIG BOI & JID – GARDEN PARTY
This track is one of those collaborations we never knew we needed but now that we have it we never want to be without it. The sincere sonics of Masego have come to a defining sound of our generation, inspiring everyone from Drake to Jords. Now, he has teamed up with Dreamville MC JID and Outkast legend Big Boi for a truly unique track that twists and turns through many elements of this talented trifectas artistry
HYROGLIFICS – WAITING
Hyroglifics have long been a true bastion of British Drum & Bass and a stalwart defender of the reputation of their parent label ‘Critical’. Their latest release ‘Waiting’ is plucked straight from their recent EP titled Forlorn and is an airy and spacious roller that instantly teleports the listener to those smoke-filled black box nights in Warehouse Project. Great stuff from two of the most consistent DnB artists in the game.
SWINDLE FT JOEL CULPEPPER & MAVERICK SABRE – NO BLACK, NO IRISH
Swindle has been absolutely smashing it in recent months after a number of landmark releases with era-defining artists like Kojey Radical and Loyle Carner. Now he is back to grindstone releasing a track with industry pioneer Maverick Sabre and the humble harmonics of Joel Culpepper. This track is yet another foreshadowing release of an upcoming producer album that sees the production mastermind match up with a comprehensive list of the UK’s best and brightest MC’s.