We’re just one week into the summer of 2017, but if you’re anything like me, your calendar is already filled with outdoor concerts and unmissable tours. From the Waterfront Blues Fest to Project Pabst to Pickathon to Bruno Mars, it’s set to be a very busy summer, music-wise. Chances are you’ve already begun soundtracking your beach trips and daytime parties with songs that reflect your wavy mood, but the more the merrier, right? Here are four recently released singles from Portland hip-hop and R&B artists that’ll make great additions to your summer fun playlist.
Blossom, “So Cool”
Last month, local R&B sweetheart Blossom dropped the HOT16-produced track “So Cool” from their upcoming collaborative release, Tease. It’s basically the audible embodiment of everything that’s breezy, sunny, and wet: “Let’s take a trip down to the strip where we can find a pool and take a dip,” Blossom sings. “Got shots for us, let’s take a sip/Get real drunk, the night is what you make of it.” Blast it with the windows down on your way out to Sauvie Island or play it loud while you pre-funk on the patio. “So Cool” offers a small, but quenching taste of the neo-soul singer’s sexy-smooth, funk-infused new project.
Myke Bogan, “Mango Tree”
This Friday Myke Bogan—one of Portland’s most talented rappers—is releasing “Mango Tree,” a single produced by the UK’s SiM. I was given an advance listen of the track, which begins with the sound of waves crashing (sampled from the Ursula Andress beach scene in Dr. No) and later features dreamy, island-esque backup vocals from Blossom and Janaeture. In addition to references to it being “time to chief,” some of these lyrics are just so Portland: “We can link, we can get it poppin’, order drinks and the vegan option.” The Rare Treat member plans to release a new album this August.
Portland songstress Reva DeVito and Los Angeles producer B. Bravo recently teamed up as Umii, a musical match made in heaven. Last week the R&B duo released an enchanting music video for “Masquerade,” the first single from their forthcoming debut, This Time, which is being released through the Fresh Selects label. The song is about all the ways we hide our true selves and secrets when playing the “wicked game” of love. The video is a series of shots featuring the artists’ partially masked faces, the distorted silhouettes of dancers, a keyboardist hiding behind a curtain, and disembodied hands holding a crystal ball. The groovy and soulful production is just as gorgeous as DeVito’s tender vocals; it’s one of the only songs that’s been able to break up my current SZA binge. My one complaint is that it’s only three and a half minutes. Repeat button it is, then, until the next single drops.
After landing a spot on XXL’s Freshman Class cover, Portland rap star Aminé earlier this month released the heartfelt single “Turf,” which blatantly confronts gentrification in his hometown. With the music video filmed in an LA grocery store, Aminé raps about childhood memories and what he sees when he looks at his neighborhood now, gives a shout-out to local establishment Du’s Grill on Northeast Sandy, and calls out the “dirty” Portland police. Aminé sings the chorus until the song’s final reprise, when the legendary Charlie Wilson takes over with soulful vocals that’ll make your heart melt into a puddle on aisle six: “I look around and I see nothing in my neighborhood/Not satisfied, don’t think I’ll ever wanna stay for good.” While the track is kind of sad, I believe this is Aminé’s best and most thoughtful contribution yet. It’s the first single from his debut LP, Good for You, which is set for release in late July.