This week in dance music: Kygo announced that his Palm Tree Music Festival will debut in Aspen with co-headliner Jack White in February, Drake made a rare showing as Billboard‘s top dance chart artist of 2022, LCD Soundystem paid homage to the late Christine McVie amidst their Brooklyn Steel residency and Sam Smith’s and Kim Petras’ unstoppable “Unholy” hit No. 1 over on the Dance Mix/Show Airplay chart.
You want more? We’ve got more. Let’s dig in.
The Martinez Brothers & Tokischa, “Kilo”
Back in 2016, The Martinez Brothers linked up with Miss Kittin on “Stuff in the Trunk,” an after hours-type heater on which Miss Kittin half-sings, half-chants suggestively over frenetic percussion. The duo’s’ newest track, “Kilo,” is its spiritual successor. “Kilo” channels that same 4:00 a.m., blurred-vision vibe while dipping into the Brothers’ oft-visited Latin roots, mixing their groovy tech house with reggaetón into an alluring track with frenzied, hard-hitting drums and trippy melodies. On vocals this time is Dominican artist Tokischa, whose melodic rap conveys a playfulness with a glint of mischief. A summer favorite throughout The Martinez Brothers’ Hï Ibiza residency, “Kilo” has staying power for fall and winter’s dark days and darker nights. — KRYSTAL RODRIGUEZ
Nocturnal Sunshine feat. Cha$ey Jon£s, “LDN”
Did you know before Maya Jane Coles was a known queen of deep house, she was cooking up nasty hip-hop beats with her boy Cha$ey Jon£s? “How long have we been friends, like 20 years?” the producer recently asked in an Instagram video. “24 to be exact,” her masked friend replied. “Yeah, we’re basically family.”
The pair first started making music when they were 14, and four years ago, they reconnected in the studio to produce LDN, a five-track EP that Coles calls “just the beginning of a new chapter.” Released under her Nocturnal Sunshine alias, the titular lead track is a dark and brooding bit of grimy goodness; a beautiful blend of her sensibilities to build a complex mood and a very clear understanding of golden era boom bap style. Cha$ey Jon£s delivers a smooth and mean performance on the mic. It’s an inspiring sound, a little bit evil and a little bit sexy, and we’re very happy to hear there’s yet more to come. – KAT BEIN
WayOfLife, Insides Outed
WayOfLife is the artist name of Russell Wardlow, otherwise known as resident #78756 of Nebraska State Penitentiary. A longtime musician currently serving a 14-year sentence, Wardlow spent a two-week period of solitary confinement (due to a covid outbreak) making music, which found its way to Eli Goldstein of Soul Clap, who’d become acquainted with Wardlow via the non-profit Give a Beat, which uses music to fight mass incarceration and recruited musicians, including Goldstein, to recite Wardlow’s lyrical poetry for a radio series.Initially passing on the solitary confinement tracks, Goldstein took a deeper listen and found that the lyrics brought him to tears. He then professionally produced the music and is now releasing the nine track album via Soul Clap Records. Revenue from the album will go towards a fund for Wardlow’s eventual reentry to life outside of prison.
“The poem was about fatherhood and my first child had just been born so I connected deeply with his words,” Goldstein tells Billboard. “We started talking on the phone during his incarceration in Nebraska and built a deep relationship… When we got to re-connect, we agreed to release the music as an album on Soul Clap Records. Over the last few months I’ve been working with BK based producer Taylor Bense to make beats worthy of the raps, and it’s an honor to take a new step for myself and the label with this supremely talented artist!”
“My desire is to grow in my personal development, as a father of two great sons, and in my creative works to be an effective messenger and bridge from prison to the world,” Wardlow says. “There are stories behind these walls the world needs to hear; until that can happen, I will have my ‘insides outed’ to create that insight of the strife of those inside.” — KATIE BAIN
RL Grime & Nero, “Renegade”
A hot track ID since RL Grime debuted the song in his annual Halloween mix, “Renegade” marks the first original music from Nero since 2018, and the group’s first collaboration with Grime. While Nero has indeed been out of the spotlight for a minute (besides a handful of remixes, including one of deadmau5′ 2021 single “XYZ”), there’s no forgetting the voice of Nero vocalist Alana Watson, whose chromatic wail glistens above a tough electro production. “Renegade” is out via Grime’s Sable Valley imprint. — K. Bain
Lachi, “Black Girl Cornrows”
There’s nothing better in this world than feeling good in your own skin, and Lachi’s latest single “Black Girl Cornrows” has a bumpin’ beat and self-love lyrics that can build you up to a higher state. The song is released in celebration of International Disabilities Day, a cause championed by the legally blind singer and producer, whose work with Recording Artists and Music Professionals with Disabilities (RAMPD) and other organizations has brought her to meet President Biden and help reshape the inclusion riders at this year’s upcoming Grammy awards. Outside of its positive and important message, “Black Girl Cornrows” simply bangs, with co-production on its energetic grooves from Black Caviar and two ferocious features from Question ATL and Yvie Oddly. When you put this song on, you’ll be ready to hit the streets in your weirdest look, stalking the sidewalk proudly and joyously for all to admire. – K. Bein
Snakehips feat. Lucky Daye & BIA, “Solitude”
U.K. duo Snakehips are ending 2022 with some exciting news: their debut album, never worry, is finally headed our way early next year. (“Probably shoulda done this years ago but better late than never,” they joked on Twitter.) With the announcement, they’ve shared their latest track, “Solitude” featuring Lucky Daye and BIA. Sweet yet wistful, “Solitude” is a plea from one lover to another to take the leap: “Come and break my solitude, ‘cause I wanna share it all with you,” BIA sings. It’s the type of song you play when you’re missing that special someone in the flesh, and texts and FaceTime no longer cut it. In addition to “Solitude,” never worry will feature previously released singles “Who’s Gonna Love You Tonight,” “All Around The World” and “Water.” — K.R.
GloRilla and Cardi B both return to No. 1 on Billboard’s Mainstream R&B/Hip-Hop Airplay chart as “Tomorrow 2” races 5-1 to lead the list dated Dec. 3. The coronation traces to the song’s 8% jump in spins that made it the most played song of the week at U.S. monitored R&B/hip-hop radio stations, according to Luminate. As “Tomorrow 2” seizes the top slot, GloRilla goes two-for-two in terms of having […]
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