Seattle singer/songwriter/producer SassyBlack recently dropped off a new EP titled Stuck, a feeling I’m sure many of us can relate to during the pandemic. The four track EP begins with the annoyingly accurate “Karen Don’t Care,” with Sassy rhythmically singing (warning) about the Karens of the world, and how they weaponize their whiteness when calling 911, for instance. Similar to her 2019 album Ancient Mahogany Gold, SassyBlack’s songs feel like having self-care mantras read aloud over funky, space-aged production. The uptempo “Anxiety (The Head)” is, well, anxious, but a repeated refrain of “Anxiety ain’t got the best of me/not yet” might just help an anxious listener to get out of their head and into their body instead via dancing. After “What Do You Want,” which centers on feeling drained and depleted from things like meetings, the project ends with the vibey “Therapy,” which encourages one to “Go ahead lighten your load/ lift your burdens.”
“You’ll Never Walk Alone,” Brittany Howard
On Election day, Howard released a cover of the Rogers & Hammerstein classic "You'll Never Walk Alone," from their 1945 musical Carousel. You may have watched her impassioned performance of the song during a political ad from Johnnie Walker whisky and Anomaly New York. As one would expect, Howard’s cover is bluesy, soul-drenched and stunning as ever, as she croons about having hope during dark times.
“Minefields,” Faouzia, John Legend
On November 5, rising singer-songwriter Faouzia and John Legend teamed up for “Minefields,” a duet co-written by Faouzia, Sam Martin, Ali Tamposi, and J Kash. The powerful ballad also features Charlie Puth on piano, and of course, both singers’ vocals are soaring here. While I’m relatively new to the Canadian singer, the major collab lured me down an internet rabbit hole, and led me to find more of Faouzia’s music, like her excellent 2019 single “Tears of Gold.”
“Fall Off,” Keyshawn, feat. Parisalexa
Appropriately kicking off with some Street Fighter-esque music, “Fall Off” is a self-confident anthem that sees Seattle rapper Keyshawn and Seattleite-turned-Portlander Parisalexa taking control of their narrative: talking their shit, bigging themselves up for the hard work they’ve put in, and how they could never fall off. While AutoTune is often hit-or-miss for me, Keshawn’s chill, self-assured vocals are impeccably accentuated by Parisalexa’s fierce delivery at 1:25—a mix of melodically rapping and then singing triumphantly over excellent production. “Don’t wait for me to fall off/You’ll be waiting for so long, eternity/ A real bad bitch, you can’t murder me.” The song just continues to grow on you.
"OHFR?," Rico Nasty
Rico Nasty just dropped a single “OHFR?,” produced by 100 Gecs’ Dylan Brady. The song joins two other lead singles, “Own It” and “iPhone,” which will all be included on her forthcoming LP Nightmare Vacation, out December 4. “OHFR?” is significantly more hype and gritty than than the previous lead singles, and features that super-scratchy, loud vocal Rico is beloved for a la “Smack a Bitch.” The single is full of shit talking and begins with a hilarious exclamation of “Bitch!” and ends with a “Fuck!” Perhaps the biggest highlight is in the second verse: “I'm making money smoothies, blend it up, I'm steady mixin'/Like I got the ball, go to the mall and they steady blitzing/They wanting pictures and they wanna know just how I'm living/What I make a show vs. you is a big digit difference/I do the same thing that you do, it's just with me, they feel it/Oh, you mad that you can't hurt my pockets or my feelings?”
Keyboard Kid vs Bryson the Alien, Bryson the Alien
What kind of girlfriend would I be if I didn’t shout out my boo Bryson the Alien’s new five-track project Keyboard Kid vs. Bryson the Alien, which is out today. With production almost entirely from Seattle’s Keyboard Kid (and one interlude from Sumalienz member Alfa), highlights include opener “Wolves Fly,” as well as “The Way,” a tribute to women who may profit from their OnlyFans accounts, featuring an excellent verse from Fat Tony. There’s also an appearance from Lil B on the final track “Classic Clouds.” He recently did an interview via Zoom with OPB in which he discussed the project, as well as recent collab opportunities, and how the pandemic and social climate have impacted life for the DIY music community.