Those that know me understand that my musical tastes don’t follow the radio/satellite radio norms. While most are boppin’ to Tank, Charlie Wilson, Ledisi, and Kelly Rowland, I’m digging through websites finding the latest from Choklate, Muhsinah, Res, J*Davey, Foreign Exchange, Eric Roberson, and Janelle Monae.
For the longest time, I would visit site after site of independent R&B and Hip Hop mags that would occasionally introduce me to new artists. As time has gone by, I’ve frequented Okayplayer.com and Soultracks.com to get my fix but as of late, I’ve come across yet another site.
Called Thisisrealmusic.com, the site is dedicated to the latest in risqué alternative soul and hip hop music. You are more likely to find a new Raphael Saadiq or Median track than a Rihanna or Ace Hood track.
What’s even better is the fact that the site has free previews and downloads of the various tracks that they highlight as well. This results in not only discovering new artists but acquiring some of their music on the spot for free! I’ve even managed to find unreleased tracks, mixtapes, and EPs by artists I love such as Dwele, Teedra Moses (who has 2 or 3 free mixtapes available), Jesse Boykins III, and Zo!.
Now, since I don’t frequent the radio waves enough to stay on top of the music scene, this is a fantastic way for me to ‘stay in the loop’. This has resulted in me stumbling onto a few new artists that have quickly made their way onto my buzz-worthy or must-have list. Here are a few:
Jhene Aiko – This 23 year old multicultural singer/songwriter has been around since the days of B2K (of Omarion fame) whom she opened for during their tour in 2003. Since then she has dropped singles on soundtracks such as You Got Served, The Proud Family, and Barbershop. She’s also recently been featured on Drake’s debut album “Thank Me Later” as a featured artist on the song ‘July’. She dropped a free EP that was featured on the site for a while entitled “Sailing Souls”. Featuring production by Fisticuffs and artists Miguel, HOPE, Kendrick Lamar, Drake, and Kanye West, it is a stunning display of her soft yet appealing voice.
Frank Ocean – This 24 year old singer/songwriter has written for the likes of Beyoncé, Justin Bieber, Brandy, and John Legend. He is also a been featured on recent efforts by NAS, Pharrell Williams, and the new “Watch The Throne” album by Jay-Z and Kanye West. With his hit single “Novacane” putting in work on the charts, I noticed Frank’s work via this site where two of his mixtapes are available free: “nostalgia, ULTRA” and “The Lonny Breaux Collection” (which by the way is 64 tracks worth of creativity). I am in love with how he writes. It is fresh and very subtle with a depth that can be picked up without having to think too hard yet still far more intense than most popular songs you here today.
Emily King – Many of you have probably heard of her thanks to her 2007 Grammy Nominated album “East Side Story” but I had not. Apparently J Records had her in hopes of discovering the next Alicia Keys and after hearing her voice, you’ll know why. I was blown away. Her latest EP “The Seven” is her testament to grinding and finding your own way.
Andy Allo – This Cameroonian sensation has been seen as a guest host on G4TV’s Attack of the Show but is also a singer. Now she has managed to find her way into the graces of the Purple One himself, Prince on his international leg of his most recent tour. I’m looking forward to seeing how she develops her sound after working with this legend and hope that the relationship is better than the ones Bria Valente and Tamar Davis had! You’ll find a few of her recent recordings for free on the site.
Definitely keep your eyes on this site for some great music, album reviews, and videos!