Last we heard about Khalid, he was singing about the “New Normal,” the “Present” and doing Yule-themed collabs with Mariah Carey.
And here he is again with a new album (or is it an EP) titled “Scenic Drive (The Tape).” The 9-track set features Khalid’s relaxed and easy-listening brand of R&B-meets-trap beats-and lo-fi inspired sounds. It also features a couple of collaborations starting with Alicia Keys who can be heard as a sexy voiced radio DJ on “Intro” and, uh, does the proper introduction to get Khalid’s new set underway.
Segueing into previously released single “Present.” As mentioned, Khalid’s sound is rooted in R&B but updated with trap beats and lo-fi-esque feels.
Sexy “Backseat” is a relaxed number that conjures up images of cruising on your cool ride at night with your girl (or guy) by your side. Groovin’ “Retrograde” features some smooth rhythm guitar playing and also features 6Lack & Lucky Daye. Similar sounding but a bit slower is the cool R&B jam “Brand New” featuring the sweet-sounding voice of Quin.
Khalid’s a cool sounding cat. And most of the tracks on his latest record makes a convincing argument for his listeners to give him the time of day. He flows from one song to the other on “All I Feel Is Rain” (feat JID) and on “Voicemail” (feat Kiana Ledé) and into tight beats that push R&B ballad “Open” (feat Majid Jordan).
Title track “Scenic Drive,” a mid-tempo grinder, is equally compelling wherein featured vocals of Ari Lennox cuts through as do rap break cum vocal jam between Smino, Khalid and Lennox.
Following his breakout hit “Double Take,” 22-year old singer-songwriter releases new track “Stable Life.” The “introspective” new track, written by Dhruv, is produced by Sam Ricci of Kendrick Lamar and SZA fame. The moody, R&B inflected single is a preview of Dhruv’s upcoming debut EP titled ‘Rapunzel” which is due out January 2022.
According to Dhruv, the debut EP is “a scrapbook I’ve kept during a really important few years of personal growth. The title is in reference to a lyric in the closing track, which talks about our childhood selves often being our least inhibited and truest selves.” Dhruv adds that the upcoming EP is “in many ways, about me trying to find that version of myself.” Dhruv is singer-songwriter and pianist raised in Singapore with roots in India and the UK.
Alex Bruce is starting early. The 14-year old rapper has just released a self-titled 5-track EP. Lead single “Yakap” features the “prolific young talent with incredible skill set.” The single also features SB19’s Justin De Dios. On writing her own material, Alex says that “I just write wherever my pen takes me to. Every song I wrote has its own story to tell and that depends on how I’m feeling during the process.” Sonically, Alex Bruce’s influences range from “trap to soul, lo-fi hip hop to reggae, boombap to contemporary R&B, new school to old school.”
Meanwhile, IV of Spades’s Blaster Silonga takes the solo route and whiles the time away from his band with an interesting distraction in a Christmas song titled “Pasko’y Hindi Na Masaya.” The new single comes after his initial solo single “Disko Forever ” and puts on display the singer-guitarist’s eclectic influences. The result is an interesting number that takes the listener from retro flavored pop with whispered-like vocals, electronic tinged atmospherics, punctuated with a blast of electric guitar wank. Persuasively delicious.