This week we’re looking at the many different sides of queer, Black music, spanning drum and bass to pop and reggaeton, then house and indie-rock.
Grove – Your Boyfriend’s Wack
Starting off this week’s “what’s good” is genre-less London based Grove. Releasing their “Queer + Black” EP last month, spanning genres from garage to jungle/drum and bass and more, their lead single ‘Your Boyfriend’s Wack’ is a prime example of the London artists talent for genre-blending. Covering topics on sexuality, race and society, Grove’s lyrical content is just as expansive as their genre usage, as hyper-pop fights it out with rapid drum and bass on ‘Your Boyfriend’s Wack’. In taking the sound of London and processing it through the algorithmic monster of internet genres; Grove successfully creates abrasive queer material that is made to be openly embraced by all, just as the genre-bender does with their music style.
Symon Plante – Too Much
South-Florida based artist Symon Plante shares his latest slice of synth-pop ‘Too Much’; taking a candid look at embracing sexuality and the struggle that some face with this. With a backdrop of gorgeous synth hooks layering together into a lucid synth-wave post-pop mix, the juxtaposition from the heavy nature of Symon’s lyrics showcases the softer positive moments of this lover’s conflict. Falling into deep embraces where they “sanctified the Calvin Klein’s”, his lover’s conflict plays out with constant cuts back to his female partner who he ultimately chooses, denying this side of his sexuality with Symon pleading “I don’t know what went wrong, but I don’t want to lose your love” throughout. It’s a bittersweet end to a gorgeous pop track that showcases the complexity of sexuality with brutal honesty.
Talia Goddess – Never Wanna Fall
Next up is 18-year-old NYC artist Talia Goddess with her shapeshifting track ‘Never Wanna Fall’. Determined to help foster a safe and inclusive space for queer Black people with her music, Talia Goddess embraces her heritage and queerness equally. Piecing together reggaeton and dancehall with synth-pop and R’n’B before falling into a kaleidoscopic display of nu-disco and hip-hop, the NYC artist splits ‘Never Wanna Fall’ into two parts of a heartbreak anthem. The first part, a guarded and angst fuelled reflection upon the many downs of a past relationship, while the latter is the gamut of post-breakup emotions. Dropping bars that are just as filled with anger as they are with self-worth, the NYC artist succumbs to the realisation that she is far greater than her ex will ever be.
Cakes Da Killa & Proper Villains – What’s The Word
So the last time Cakes Da Killa was featured on Velvet, I made the misjudgement of declaring the Brooklyn based rapper as having a ‘newfound’ love for house music. Ten minutes into Cakes’ back catalogue will show you a long time love of house throughout all of his work. So I still send Cakes my sincerest apology for my prior-laziness. Now, on his newest track ‘What’s The Word’, collaborating with fellow New Yorker Proper Villains, it’s sensuality and ballroom at its finest. A steady rapid-fire house beat sets the stage for Cakes to unleash razor-sharp bars as the MC of the event divulging the handling of trade before a night out at the balls. Gobbling ‘up the geese so you never get clocked’, and telling us all “just don’t gag when you see what’s in the bag”, it’s unfiltered, brazen queer-house and hip-hop at its finest.
Shamir – Ocean Eyes
So closing this week’s what’s good is the stellar cover of Billie Eilish’s ‘Ocean Eye’s by Shamir. The Las Vegas artist has been labelled as ‘the future’ for a while now, and he tweeted about this last month and how everyone still needs to catch up almost a decade later and honestly, truer words have never been typed. Shamir transforms Eilish’s spaced out ballad into a thunderous shoegaze/indie-rock track, working his magic and demonstrating just how skilled of a musician and producer he is, further cementing the question, “when will Shamir become the moment and not just ‘the future?”.