Raheem DeVaughn & Apollo Brown: When A Man

A stunning soulful cut here from Raheem DeVaughn and Apollo Brown, as they announce their forthcoming album, Lovesick. It looks set to be a significant step away from the usual Detroit grittiness that Apollo Brown has become synonymous with, but as soon as DeVaughn’s vocals soar into life on When A Man, the collaboration feels like it should have happened a lifetime ago. The full album is due for release on 4 June via Mello Music Group.

Mello Music Group: Bushido (Stream)

As reported a few weeks ago, Mello Music Group have put together a compilation featuring a whole bunch of new material from their increasingly dope roster and some equally compelling guests. The album kicks off with a track from Quelle Chris and Alchemist, which should give you some idea of the levels at work here, if you’re not already familiar with Mello’s insanely consistent back catalogue. As we progress we’re treated to new joints from The Lasso and Zackey Force Funk, Cambatta and Apollo Brown, Homeboy Sandman and Eric Lau, as well as three new tracks from Oddisee, including the previously featured No Trouble. You can explore the full array of musical brilliance below and then go check the usual spots for all your streaming/download needs.

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L’Orange & Namir Blade: Corner Store Scandal

A welcome return by L’Orange to the blog, as he announces his latest venture, alongside fellow Mello Music artist, Namir Blade. We last heard Namir on his 2020 release, Aphelion’s Traveling Circus, which shone bright during another exceptional year for the label. Now he’s returing to the fore with L’Orange, a producer who has yet to put a foot wrong in my eyes and ears, with this latest album shaping up to continue that trend. The first video, for Corner Store Scandal, was released this week, which you can see for yourself above and pre-orders for the album, Imaginary Everything, are available now.

Oddisee: No Trouble

There is a fresh Mello Music Group release on the horizon, a compilation to be precise, featuring new music from their ever-increasing roster of talent. There aren’t many labels who can lay claim to such a lengthy and consistently high-quality run of releases, but Mello show no signs of easing up either, with new albums and artists frequently announced. One of their most popular artists, Oddisee, offers up the first taster from the Bushido compilation, with his latest self-produced single, No Trouble. As well as Oddisee, we will also be treated to new bits from the likes of Marlowe, Skyzoo, Open Mike Eagle, Quelle Chris and Elaquent. Definitely one to look forward to. You can listen to No Trouble below and you can also pre-order Bushido via Bandcamp. The official release date is 1 April.

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Small Bills: Don’t Play It Straight (Rooftop Performance)

While music fans around the world try to fill the void that has been left by the absence of gigs, there are still a number of artists trying to give us a taste of the live experience. Last November, on a Brooklyn rooftop, Small Bill – aka ELUCID and The Lasso – did just that, with a riveting rendition of their debut album, Don’t Play It Straight. They were joined by fellow album players Kayana, Malachi Mabson and Saxsquatch, and the performance was filmed by Richard Ross. Don’t Play It Straight is out now on Mello Music.

The Lasso: 2121 (Video)

The Lasso is gearing up to release a new solo album, following on from a very successful 2020, which saw the release of three superb collaborative projects. 2121 is the name of the album and it features a cavalcade of features from the likes of Hemlock Ernst, Ill Camille, Fat Tony and previous collaborators, Psypiritual and Lando Chill. A video for the title track saw its release this week, featuring the awesome vocal work of Rachele Eve and A. Billi Free. You can watch it above, and pre-orders for the album are available via Mello Music. The album is due for release on 19 February. Stay tuned for my review coming in next month’s edition of The Wire.

Small Bills: Banneker’s Almanac

A new arrival from Small Bills, as ELUCID and The Lasso continue to deliver the gems from their recent collaboration. Standing as one of the highlights from last year, the abstract brilliance of the project is experienced in all its glory in the glitchy joy of Banneker’s Almanac (Google: Benjamin Banneker). The track is accompanied by some absorbing visuals from Joseph. Don’t Play it Straight is out now on Mello Music Group.

Quelle Chris & Chris Keys ft. Merrill Garbus, Cavalier & Homeboy Sandman: Sacred Safe

A good start to the week as I bring you the latest video from Quelle Chris and Chris Keys. Not only was Innocent Country 2 one of the best releases from this year, but Sacred Safe was also one of my most played tracks of the last 12 months. The track features superb contributions from Cavalier, Homeboy Sandman and Merrill Garbus, as well as a new layer of dope, thanks to the video from Santa West & Quelle. Innocent Country 2 is out now on Mello Music.