Tracks of the week Reviewed: Cordae, DijahSB and Little Simz

Cordae - Thornton Street

Thornton Street” features on Cordae’s latest EP “Just Until.…”. This four-pack of songs moves to form Cordae’s first project since his Grammy-nominated debut album “The Lost Boy” in 2019. His astute collaborations look to continue as A Tribe Called Quest's frontman Q-Tip and Young Thug feature on tracks within the project ; this follows “Lost Boy” as projects which have seen him collaborate with a rich calibre of artists. The DMV rapper also teased the drop of his new album on the cover art of “Just Until.…” as Cordae wrote on the project's artwork “See you soon, Album almost done.” He also looks to have teased the title of his sophomore project in the closing line of the track “Thornton Street” which looks to be “From A Bird’s Eye View

Thornton Street” sees Cordae address very personal matters within his life as he can be seen to discuss his mothers teenage pregnancy , the controversies and ultimate regret surrounding his track “Family Matters” and being robbed at gunpoint. There is an almost candid degree of transparency that reverberates from his song as Cordae acutely brings attention to the intricacies of these trials and tribulations. Cordae does also finely intertwine these sentiments with intimate victories as references were made to his Grammy Nomination , his Puma and Givenchy partnerships and the gold certification of his debut album as this track moved to perfectly reflect the ebbs and flo’s of his life.

The track's lyricism is perfectly reflected within its instrumentation as it is nostalgic in nature and utilizes a measured soft drum pattern , a reminiscent piano progression within the chorus and intermittent soft coos to harness this emotive space.

DijahSB - Big Waves

Big Waves” is a part of DijahSB’s latest EP “Head Above The Waters”. The EP is a beautiful assortment of 8-tracks that moves to include the vocal prowesses of Ray HMND, Chris Castello, and Terrell Morris. The project also features production from Harrison and Cheap Limousine.

Dijah said the following on her new project - "Head Above The Waters follows a theme. I wrote this album with that in mind, because at the time, it's what I needed to hear. So I know someone somewhere might need to hear it too. The waves might be cracking into you and trying to keep you from floating but you gotta keep coming up for air and try your hardest to keep your head above it." (1)

“Big Waves” sees Dijah reimagine the definition of waters and use them as a metaphorical space to symbolise a region that requires conquering. The identity of the waters are made increasingly clear throughout as Dijah can be seen to depict a story of hardship that ultimately concludes in the vanquishing of the unknown. Large degrees of vulnerability are exercised within this track's lyricism and this is an emotion Dijah can be seen to tap into with a degree of regularity.

In an interview with Xtra Magazine, DijahSB spoke about musical vulnerability, explaining,

People have told me they appreciate my willingness to speak about things like my anxiety or depression. I want to be a voice for the voiceless, because people don’t always have the capacity or know how to express themselves when they’re going through something hard. I know that I’m good at it, and I’m okay with being vulnerable and naked.

The backdrop is heavily jazz and funk infused and leans on a foundational bass guitar loop , an upbeat piano riff and subtle percussion to cultivate this sonic environment.

Little Simz - Introvert

Introvert” is the latest single Little Simz has released and it also forms the prelude to her upcoming album “Sometimes I Might Be Introvert” which is scheduled to be released on September 3 via her own Age 101 label. Simz produced the album with her regular collaborator Inflo, and it will feature guest appearances from Cleo Sol, Obongjayar, and The Crown star Emma Corrin. This album follows her Mercury Nominated 2019 album, “Grey Area”.

Little Simz said the following about the song - ““Introvert” is essentially me finding power within my introversion”. “Turning inwards and finding peace within myself amongst all the chaos that’s happening in the world; just trying to centre myself, ground myself, and ask myself real and honest questions in order to grow.” (3)

The lyricism perfectly reflects these ideas as “Introvert” sees Little Simz provide running commentary on the state of worldly affairs and her overall state of being as an introspective examination is offered on the issues that cloud her mind. Themes such as the economy and rampant gang culture are addressed and finely wielded with a barrage of rhetorical statements aimed at herself, as a true journey through the perplexing mind of an Introvert is offered within the lyricism. The quasi-chorus within this track does however move to offer a temporary reprieve from the labyrinth of issues addressed within the verses, as Cleo Sol delivered a beautiful ode to a higher power with her wishful sentiments lacing optimistic futures. “Find a way, I'll find a way / The world's not over / I will make it, don't you cry / In God we trust / 'Cause we're not alone

The instrumentation present within this track defies description, an orchestral symphony of sounds is built out from a backing military akin drum salute and an array of brass instruments, this layered concoction continuously switches with a pensive piano riff, a steady drum pattern, percussion and intermittent violin additions. This moved to form a melody that is both rich and refined in musical heritage.

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