SCRATCHTHEBLOCK PRESENTS: ROOTS (A TRIP INTO NEO-SOUL WONDERLAND)
We grew up with a steady diet of great great music performed by D’Angelo, Jill Scott, India Arie, Leela James, Calvin Richardson,Maxwell,Dwele,Brian McKnight,Amell Larrieux,Lauryn Hill,N’Dambi,Eric Roberson and the list goes on & on!
In terms of sonorities we love to define this kind of music as neo-soul , u know da groove , da warm rhodes notes and the feel-good vibrations..
Roots is a trip into neo-soul wonderland packed with the most impressive joints imbued with a sound that gravitates towards nu-soul melodies.
Let’s get the ball rolling with a goose-bump inducing neo-soul piece performed by Thabo Mkwananzi. Originally from Zimbabwe , the talented singer/songwriter/producer earned notoriety with his band The Real Deal ( Aron Kyne on Rhodes piano, Emmanuel Allert on acoustic guitar and Ali Mac on percussion) sharing the stage with well-known neo-soul artists such Avery Sunshine (check out her last effort Twenty Sixty Four), Eric Roberson,Dwele among others. The U.K based performer will literally seduce your ears and your soul with a superb and succulent downtempo song called More Of That wisely produced by musician/producer Aron Kyne .
Los Angeles group Moonchild represents a rare example of musical project able to wrap three masterpieces in a mere five years! Infact through the superlative Be Free , Please Rewind and the new Voyager, Amber Navran, Max Bryk, and Andris Mattson have proven themself to be a staple amongst the jazz/neo-soul scene becoming an in-demand group for dope collaborations with artists such as Rapsody (appearing on her sumptuous Crown EP) and Tall Black Guy (Let’s Take A Trip). Today we continue to celebrate Moonchild art selecting another brilliant piece from their recent majestic opus Voyager. The track is called Every Part (For Linda) and now sit back,relax and contemplate something that stands for quality.
THE PLAYLIST FEAT. GLENN LEWIS – SUPERMAN
And now we can define Jeff Townes aka DJ Jazzy Jeff not only as a gifted turntablist/record producer/disk jokey but also as a “patron of the arts”. The Playlist is the brainchild of the Philly veteran hip-hop artist, described as
an intimate gathering of progressive artists for the purpose of inspiration, motivation and collaboration
In accordance with the principles of making good music through collabo between musicians,producers as well as singers and rappers Jeff invited a fleet of superlative acts to his mansion in order to give them the opportunity to work on a project which led to the amazing Chasing Goosebumps featuring the brilliant neo-soul canadian singer Glenn Lewis (the underexposed genius behind the neo-soul classic masterpiece World Outside My Window)
We purchased the outstanding album and one of our favorite track is da supa-dupa-mellow Superman. Superman is definitely a tasteful cocktail, whose ingredients are blended together to create a perfect balance between melodies,harmonies and vocals. These ingredients go by the name of the most impressive artists of the international urban scene! Oh yeah, we got Eric Roberson,Maimouna Youssef & Muhsinah as background vocals ,we got Stro Elliot & Steve McKie on drums,we got James Poyser, Kaidi Tatham and Daniel Crawford on keys and Jeff Bradshaw, Matt Cappy, Rick Tate on the horns!
Genuine, raw,organic and pure ! PJ Morton got an abundance of skills which have made him a great in-demand musician/composer/singer/songwriter but also a mature triple-threat able to wrap compelling albums. During his career PJ had the pleasure to work with a plethora of renowned artists such as Robert Glasper Experiment,India Arie,Anthony David,Jeff Bradshaw,Jagged Edge,Faith Evans,Monica,Lil Wayne and many others. This year the New Orleans-bred artist launched his fourth album entitled Gumbo under his own imprint Morton Records.Let us serve you up the smooth Claustrophobic featuring New Orleans rapper/singer Pell
Los Angeles grammy nominated guitarist/producer/singer/songwriter and member of The Internet , Steve Lacy has welcomed the huge international success of his band but he’s smart enough to use this success as launching pad for his solo career (just like his bandmates). In parallel with a series of fruitful collabo along side Kali Uchis, Big Sean,GoldLink and last but not least Kendrick Lamar (he worked on Pride from the acclaimed Damn) , Steve had time to drop Steve Lacy’s Demo , a set of pieces released as solo artist that served as little tasteful appetizer for his fans. Scratchtheblock crew really loves Lacy eclectic and experimental approach so allow us to recommend the dope C U Girl.
Terrell McMathis better known as Ta’Raach is a multi-faceted producer/rapper,grew up in Detroit , whose brilliant mind graced us with majestic pieces such as Gone Baby, Don’t Be Long by Erykah Badu. J.Dilla, Blu & Exile,Waajeed,Platinum Pied Pipers,SA-RA Creative Partners,Samon Kawamura are just few names of the artists which collaborated with Ta’Raach . In 2006 , Ta’Raach released the excellent opus The Fevers written, produced, and mixed entirely by himself and packed with some interesting artists like Big Tone,Amp Fiddler and los angeleno rapper Blu among others. We selected the extra-refined neo-soul cut called Liberations Lullabye featuring the incredible voice of East LA experimental vocalist Joy Jones (which delighted us with her project Godchild, an exquisite blend of future soul,postmodern funk and intergalactic grooves ). This year in February Ta’Raach composed and arranged a compilation to pay tribute to Detroit sound: The Unseen – A Detroit Beat Tape Soundtrack
The next track is a masterpiece finely wrapped by two dope artists from U.K: Alfa Mist and Emmavie. Alfa is young and talented self-taught pianist/producer from Newham,East London. His production skills unveil a penchant for jazz sonorities and hip-hop music and his signature sound is imbued with dark/contemplative beats intertwined with soul and jazzy elements. Emmavie is definitely one of our fav artists from U.K! Her intoxicating style, her incredible vocal prowess,her creative and intelligent approach behind the boards as producer make her a genuine,extraordinary international talent! In 2014 Alfa Mist and Emmavie joined their forces to record an impressive collaborative project entitled Epoch from which we chose the soulful Easily, I Forget. The joint will provide intense goosebumps,your brain will flush with dopamine and a tingly chill will whisk down your back!
Oh yes…the young New York singer Samantha Nelsen aka Samnelly is a rookie but as you know the most important thing in music , is the ability to instill emotions and damn…with her track called Like That she literally knocked we out! Taking advantage of the mellow jazzy beat designed by Hamburg based beatmakers Dave White and Dr.Slice known by the stage name Blunted Beatz , Samnelly bewitched us with her soothing vocals.
We live in New York, Flatbush to be exact but damn…we have to admit the Los Angeles area is cranking out a lot of quality music.Recently great projects poured down on us , exciting our senses …so we can sing the praises of Ill Camille and her Heirloom , Terrace Martin is almost ready to release Sounds Of Crenshaw Vol.1 with his side project The Pollyseeds , Iman Omari warmed up his fans with Move Too Fast from the forthcoming IHY LP , Matt Martians dropped a solo project called The Drum Chord Theory and we can go on again n again……Today we’re happy to listen to a brand new single written,produced and performed by Tay Walker.Try to define the talent of Mr.Walker without falling into the trap of banality is not easy !The Inglewood multi-talented artist is known for his collaborations along side The Internet (playing the keys on Purple Naked Ladies and working on the masterpiece Feel Good as composer, featured Artist, keyboardist as well as producer) but we prefer to focus our attention on his individual skills.In 2015 Tay Walker released his debut project entitled 25Hours A Day giving to the world a taste of his boundless potential and seducing with pieces like Karma.During a little conversation Tay told us he’s currently working on a new project called OWSTN (One Way Street No Nowhere ) and we want to share with you the sublime song titled A Crazy Thing Called Love.It’s a slow burning track that will enrapture your senses and will take you to the clouds above!Make sure you to check out the official music video which hosts young los angeleno artist Kleva GTD.
Washington, D.C singer/songwriter/producer Lena Chanel invites us to experience da refreshing old-school-esque sound of her single No More. Inspired by iconic artists like Lauryn Hill, Aaliyah, Janelle Monae,Erykah Badu,Stevie Wonder and Sade , this beautiful and talented artist delighted our ears with an astonishing song masterfully produced by Kansas City rapper/producer and cousin of veteran underground hip-hop artist Tech N9ne , Marcus Yates.