With so many surprise releases lately, you’re probably spoilt for choice in the music department. Luckily, there’s no such thing as too much good music, so gal-dem’s got you covered for keeping up with new releases to refresh your Spotify (or that new Tidal membership you got to cop the new Kanye). Check back in with us in April for a forecast of 2016’s summer releases.
Majid Jordan – Majid Jordan, 5th February
We’ve been waiting for Majid Jordan’s album ever since Drake’s Hold on We’re Going Home and that was almost three years ago. After two solid EPs, they released their first studio album on Friday and it hasn’t disappointed. Majid Jordan are the only R&B act signed to OVO so their smooth serenades already feel like a signature part of the OVO sound. This is of course credited to resident producer Noah “40” Shebib who is responsible for all these irresistible dance tunes. There are too many great hits to choose from on this, so I’d suggest you go and download it now, now, now.
LION BABE – Begin, 5th February
Let’s be clear, Lion Babe are not neo-soul no matter how good an Erykah Badu impression lead- singer Jillian Hervey can do. But that doesn’t mean that Begin is not a great pop record. Radio-friendly hits like Jump Hi and Wonder Woman (courtesy of the one and only Pharrell Williams) set the tone for this album, which is more Disclosure than it is D’Angelo. All of which is not a bad thing because it’s endlessly fun and catchy. Start with the disco-inspired Where Do We Go.
Kanye West – The Life of Pablo, 14th February
The Life of Pablo, formerly known as Waves, formerly SWISH, formerly So Help Me God came out this week and you’re probably sick of hearing about it already. Word is still out on whether Kanye has reached peak fuc*boi after bringing up another man’s infant son in a Twitter beef last month, or whether he reached that point a long time ago. Though Rhymefest’s claim this past week that Kanye is going through a mental health episode gave me pause, the kind of antics he’s been pulling have been going on for a long time now and it’s starting to eclipse his musical accomplishments. TLOP is only available on Tidal (and according to Kanye it is going to stay that way) so I’ve not heard it in full, but the release of two new snippets last month at least promised a return to form for the Kanye I knew and loved. What can I say? It is Yeezy season after all.
Mya – Smoove Jones, 14th February
Mya has been out of the spotlight for a while now but she’s back to grace us with a new record – reported to be her first major commercial breakthrough since 2003’s Moodring – on Valentine’s Day. That’s more than 10 years since her last Top 40 hit My Love is Like..Wo was released, arguably one of the most iconic R&B music videos of the 2000s. Smoove Jones will be her third independently self-released album, after following the advice of her mentor Prince and starting her own music label Planet 9 in 2008. Listen to her channel Jeremih in her new single Team You here.
BJ The Chicago Kid – In My Mind, 19th February
I was less than impressed when That Girl came out this summer, even though it had a guest verse from OG Maco (and we all know I’ll listen to anything if it features OG Maco). After collaborating with everyone from Schoolboy Q to Chance the Rapper to Kehlani, I expected a lot bigger hit from BJ The Chicago Kid. But it wasn’t long before he released Church and followed it up with Resume, forcing me to go back and re-discover his soulful debut album Pineapple Now-Laters from 2012. I was pretty late to the party on this gem, but you don’t have to be.
Santigold – 99¢, 26th February
We’ve been big fans of Santigold here at gal-dem, even from the days she was still going by Santogold. That debut album was the coolest thing – 8 years later and it still sounds so fresh and original unlike anything else you’re likely to come across. Santi White has always been a fearless genre-bending artist ahead of the curve and painfully underrated as a result. She’s even added rapping to her repertoire on her new single featuring ILOVEMAKONNEN, listen here.
Zayn Malik – Mind of Mine, 25th March
I know what you’re thinking but Zayn Malik is so much more than just a desi thirst trap. His first solo single has certainly left much to be desired, but the fact that he’s working with Frank Ocean’s Channel Orange producer Malay means big things ahead. We predict that this could be a Justin Timberlake leaving NSYNC kind of scenario. Stay tuned.
Potential “surprise” releases:
Beyoncé – Unknown title, TBA
Beyoncé was the original one to start this surprise album business, and as she proved on Saturday night, new Beyoncé could be coming at any time or moment- you can’t be safe. I do wish she would set a date for this record so the Beyhive can wait and look forward to its release the old-fashioned way.
Tinashe – Joyride, TBA
Even though most of Aquarius was filler, she had so many bangers that, we can’t wait to see where she’s going next. Tinashe’s sophomore effort was expected to be released autumn 2015 before being pushed back to January of 2016, but no official date has ever been released. With a world tour kicking off in May, it’s expected that Joyride is coming out any day now.
James Blake – Radio Silence, TBA
With rumours that he’s working with Justin Vernon in a follow-up to their Fall Creek Boys Choir collaboration for this upcoming record, both fans of James Blake and Bon Iver are heavily anticipating the possibility of new material from both musicians. Bon Iver’s third album is also expected to be released at some point this year.
M.I.A. Matahdatah, TBD
If you ever though M.I.A was one to keep quiet for long, her fierce political statement Borders proved otherwise. M.I.A does what she wants, so no one knows what her forthcoming Matahdatah is going to sound like. Her discography has often been hit or miss, but that’s often the case for visionary artists. One thing is for sure, whatever she does it won’t be boring.
Frank Ocean – Boys Don’t Cry, TBA
Why is Frank smiling as if he doesn’t have responsibilities? pic.twitter.com/XaQ3M9t5tH
— – Benzee’ (@Jxmal44) February 13, 2016
A gal can dream right?