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Five on it photography: Nnena by Yana Yatsuk

In news that is probably good for my mental health but bad for my ability to do my job, I don’t feel like I’ve been especially tuned into what’s going on in music discourse lately.

Scouring my memory, the past week has seen the beginning of the Whitney Houston hologram tour (which looks jarring and exploitative?), Duffy emerging from the woodwork with the horrible truth of why she disappeared from the limelight, and debate about R&B on Twitter that I don’t really know the origin of… And for once I feel okay just noting these conversations are happening, maybe watching how they pan out – but it is exhausting to partake in every battle.

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It’s important to be tuned into what’s happening, of course – but sometimes to effectively rest, it’s okay to switch off from hourly discourse on Twitter.

Anyway, thus concludes my standard strange and highly-caffeinated intro. Here is five on it:

Nnena – ‘Work It Out’

We first shouted out Nnena on Five on it last year with her track ‘Lovesick’, and we are very very happy to keep supporting this rising Ohio rapper – this track bangs. It’s got all the fascinating creative energy of someone like Leikeli47, and it bursts with abundant confidence and joy.  

Princess Nokia – Everything Is Beautiful / Everything Sucks

Princess Nokia really said, hey, it’s been a while, why not put out two albums in one day? As such I cannot give all that much insightful commentary bar the fact that what I’ve heard so far really slaps. Destiny Frasqueri has moved away from the emo rap of her last project, but is still showing different sides to her personality/ Everything Is Beautiful is full of rich, warm samples and deft, soft words about star signs, Harry Potter and happiness; Everything Sucks is full of hard delivery and chaotic, powerful energy while she considers villains and the stains on her teeth.

Anik Khan – ‘Regardless’ ft. Robin Dey

With bars like “Know my Visa denied but tell your girl I’m the flyest” and “Baby, fuck a dowry / if there’s a price on your head that’s a bounty”, there’s no doubt the latest from the Bengali-American rapper is kinda cheesy but also kind of great. The track deals with his experiences with US immigration via his melodic, potent delivery over the swirling, catchy beat. The video (created almost entirely by PoC, with clothing from 25 black and brown fashion brands) is gorgeous too.

Lost Girl – ‘I Won’t Give Up’

Is there anything out there as polished and slick as a good UK Garage track? I would argue not. This is a track from emerging Reading artist Lost Girl, that’s all caramel smooth vocals and skittering shiny beats that sound perfect for feeling yourself on the dance floor. 

Aminé – ‘Shimmy’

“Let’s not front, it’s my year” – Aminé is back, and the Portland rapper did not come to play. Sampling ODB and accordingly channelling greatness, while also repping his hometown in the video, this track perfectly encapsulates how Aminé can switch up between cold rawness and warm melodic rap. Bring on the new album.

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