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Five on it: the MOBOs celebrate creating your own space

Following the return of the MOBOs, we're thinking about how important celebrating our own communities can be. Plus amazing new music from Channel Tres, Nilüfer Yanya, Kojey Radical, Kamaiyah plus KG and UNiiQU3.

11 Dec 2020

Five on it image: Mahalia via MOBO Organisation/ Michael Tubes

As the end of the year closes in, music discourse is essentially just End Of Year Lists. It remains to be seen how we at gal-dem will approach our 2020 releases round-up (it’s looking more and more like I might just gesture vaguely in the direction of the Five on it playlist).

But, while I love lists, there is at least some music news this week that bears a glance before we are consumed by blurbs. This week saw the return of the MOBOs., While just two weeks ago I cussed out the Grammys and questioned whether there was any point giving them time of day, the MOBOs feel a little different. 

Ultimately, I don’t think that awards alone should be a measure of success, but I do think they can be one solid way of giving people their flowers. And we shouldn’t undersell how important creating those spaces is, not least when existing structures tell us no one will care. I have been thinking about that a lot after reading Habiba Katsha’s interview with MOBOs founder Kanya King for us earlier this week, in which Kanya speaks about how she was told there was no commercial interest in Black music – like, imagine!?

As director Steve McQueen – who won the Inspiration Award – said: “The Mobo awards for me, is part of the idea of Small Axe. When people didn’t want to recognise us, we recognised ourselves and that’s given me the inspiration to go forward.”

The worthy winners included Nines, Mahalia, Ego Ella May and Headie One – all of whom are a reminder, as though we needed one, of just how healthy and varied Black British music is in 2020. The awards are also a reminder that, as Solange once said, “Be the gold you wish to hold”. There is joy innate in creating space to celebrate your community.

And now, here’s Five on it:

Channel Tres – i can’t go outside 

Channel Tres has consistently been proving himself one of the most interesting artists of recent years, with his buoyant sexy tunes. Latest project i can’t go outside adds to this mythology, and with features from Tyler and Tinashe, this has real breezy, sultry summer night energy. So, so good.

Nilüfer Yanya – Feeling Lucky? EP

I want to soak in a bath of Nilüfer Yanya’s music and just feel things. Gorgeous lo-fi tunes – on her new EP, she doesn’t miss.

Kojey Radical – ‘Good’

Kojey is just such a master of tunes inflected with a soulful warmth. ‘Good’ is the soothing song we needed to ease us into this year’s final act.

Kamaiyah – No Explanations

Look, I know everyone is gassed about Taylor Swift putting out two albums this year but how has Kamaiyah put out three projects in 2020? The California rapper-singer does a great job as ever of marrying nostalgia with something new, and it’s a delicious listen.

KG & UNiiQU3 – ‘B2B’ / ‘Black Roses’

Glitchy, glimmering dance tunes from two amazing Black women producers. Turn the lights down and have a little dance.

You can follow the Five on it playlist on Spotify: