Move over, Paula Dean, your reign is over. “Butter,” the silky smooth hip-hop, soul and jazz blend is pure hydrogenated goodness in music form. This slow grooving genre is equally equipped for unwinding as it is for dancing. Let these songs whet your appetite for more buttery goodness.
‘Whipped Cream’ – Ari Lennox
Out of Washington, D.C., Ari Lennox is a young R&B artist at the beginning of her career. She only has one EP and several singles currently up for streaming. Regardless of her small catalog, Lennox has amassed 55,690 followers on Spotify alone. As soon as her voice bounces off the trampoline of your eardrum, it is easy to see why Lennox has enjoyed so much success.
Lennox’s sunny, soulful vocals rise from a horizon of blanketed keyboard and gently rolling hills of electronic beats. A song for the hopelessly in love, “Whipped Cream” will draw you in with Lennox’s sultry soul as she croons, “I’ve been eatin’ whipped cream, havin’ vivid dreams/ Of your face and through people on TV screens/ You’ve been everywhere/ And I wish I didn’t care.”
‘Poke Bowl’ – Radiant Children
The London trio Radiant Children currently have an even smaller offering than Ari Lennox with only one 2018 EP available to stream. That hasn’t stopped them from reaching verified status on Spotify with almost 5,000 followers.
A song built from jazz piano up, “Poke Bowl” begins with isolated tri-chords before bass guitar joins the dance with electronic beats. The addition of hip-hop vocals gives the track a swagger all its own: “Now you’re gone, gone, gone/ Said I’m up in the kitchen/ Listening to sad songs/ Hoping that you won’t be gone too long.”
A band with a key sense of arrangement and masters of neo-funk soundscapes, Radiant Children are a band to watch.
‘Bad Bad News’ – Leon Bridges
Leon Bridges is known for his ability to emulate the late, great soulster Sam Cooke. His first album “Coming Home” is full of ’60s soul and R&B, complete with the echo of period appropriate microphones.
“Bad Bad News” is off of Bridges’ latest album, “Good Thing,” and sees him expand on his sound with the edition of jazz elements. Muted trumpets, simple cymbals and saxophone hold down the jazz end of the song, while bass guitar and keys maintain Bridges trademark R&B soul. This song is infectious to sing along to with its call and return format as Bridges sings and the backup singers respond: “Let me slip through (let me slip through)/ Why you tryna hold me back? (I ain’t)/ I’m just tryna move up front/ Lil more of this, lil less of that (can you feel me?)/ Let me come through (let me come through)/ I’m tired being in the back (a’ight).”
“Bad Bad News” takes over your body with its infectious rhythm and lyrics.
“Tints” – Anderson .Paak, Kendrick Lamar
Both Anderson .Paak and Kendrick Lamar are veterans of the music industry. Lamar is best known for the poetic genius of “DAMN.” while Anderson .Paak rose to fame for his contributions to Dr. Dre’s “Compton.”
The subtle jazz influence of the background percussion and keys is not surprising. At the beginning of his musical career Anderson .Paak toured with jazz singer Haley Reinhart as a drummer. “Tints” has the most undeniable hip-hop flavor of the included songs with its tempo and lyricism. The playful nature of the song should remind listeners of Bruno Mars’ “24K Magic” album with its ’90s hip-hop flavor and attitude.
Anderson .Paak opens the track with a question: “Hey, why you got the roof off, roof off/ You know it never rains here.” Lamar answers back as he spits, “I need tints so I can look at the snakes and posers/ (I need tint) ’cause bomb is head is nondisclosure/ (I need tint) so I can live with a peace of mind/ Without n—-s takin’ a piece of mine.”