Let’s kick things off with a huge album from DJ Khaled. Star studded albums don’t get bigger than this! Beyonce, Jay Z, Rihanna, Bieber, Nas, Alicia Keys, Nicki Minaj, Chance the Rapper, Calvin Harris, the list goes on! The Miami Hip Hop producer seems unstoppable in his quest for world domination, and is a true testament to self evangelism and using social media to build a following. Khaled is doing to Snap Chat what Rihanna did to Instagram back in the day. You can’t fault his drive and enthusiasm and whilst there’s nothing particularly ground breaking in this album, it’s packed full of floor fillers, and potential chart busters. I’m hoping some time soon the vocoder auto tuned vocals will cease to appear in nearly every hip hop track, and this album is no exception as this sound makes an appearance in most of the tracks. Stand out tracks for me include Shining with Beyonce and Jay Z, and Wild Thoughts with Rihanna and Bryson Tiller.
The summer wouldn’t be complete with some Reggae vibes, and Chronixx is back with another masterclass in modern roots reggae. Jamaican born Jamar has been producing riddims and providing vocal support for many years, but his solo career really got going back in 2012. With tracks like Here Comes Trouble and Smile Jamaica. Chronixx has a fairly unique lyrical flow which separates him from many traditional Jamaican Reggae artists. This album is going to get a lot of play time throughout my summer! Stand out tracks include Big Bad Sound and Likes.
Sticking with a Reggae vibe, we have a fresh release from Reggae innovator Damian Marley. Welcome to Jamrock is still a benchmark for modern reggae albums, and Mr Marley isn’t disappointing with this latest release Stony Hill. Named after Jamaican neighbourhood Stony Hill, this album continues Damian’s genre transcending format with Dancehall, Roots and Hip Hop influences sewn together with his razor sharp lyrical delivery. This is another fabulous album and the perfect summer soundtrack. Highlights include Here We Go, Medication with his brother Stephen, Time Travel and Looks are Deceiving. Actually all the tracks are great! Big up the Rasta!
Now this isn’t a new release so I’m cheating a bit this month by including it! But it’s an album which is probably going to be the prominent soundtrack to my summer and I only recently discovered it despite it’s release back in 2013. Bosq is an Afro, latin, Disco, House producer from Boston and you may have already heard of him as 1/2 of the remix masters The Whiskey Barons. I had to include this album as it really is rather special! If this album doesn’t get your foot tapping then you need to go and get it checked out. Stand out tracks include More Heavy, Up and Down and Dem Know all three featuring Nigerian vocalist Kaleta.
Finally some chilled out beats for the balmy evenings. Chillwave pioneer Washed Out brings a dose of chilled grooves with a sprinkle of weird thrown in for good measure. This is the perfect accompaniment to lazy summer afternoons. There seem to be equal measures of interlude and tracks on this album so there are only really a handful of tracks over a couple of minutes long. The whole album of 12 tracks is a whopping 29 minutes, so this is not a very substantial recording. Stand out track for me has to be Burn Out Blues.