M.I.A. – Matahdatah Scroll 01 “Broader Than A Border”

Bashment, Dance, Hindi, Hip Hop, R&B, Rap, Reggae, Tamil, UK, UK Asian, Video

Score: 8.1

Maya is back in full effect with this stunning (kinda) new video. Comprising of banging new song “Swords”, then morphing into a genial album track “Warriors” (taken from her 2013 album “Matangi”), it’s fascinating when melded with the visuals. She’s the embodiment of female empowerment, and the anticipation for her new album is building. Partnering with *Apple Music is an interesting strategy that seems to be reaping dividends for Drake, so let’s just hope that Maya’s “Matahdatah” comes soon. (Reviewed by Jesal)

*FYI this was originally released in July but was an Apple Music exclusive.

Zack Knight & Raxstar – “Queen”

Hindi, Hip Hop, Panjabi, Pop, R&B, Rap, UK, UK Asian

Score: 6.9

The first verse by Raxstar on “Queen” proves precisely why he’s the go-to guy for sensitive rap: it’s near perfect. It’s a strange song, and you’re never entirely sure who is meant to be the lead artist here; but to all intents and purposes Raxstar simply takes the song from Zack Knight. The beat is probably the only slight letdown, as those synths don’t work as well as they could have down; it’s also a bit fussy and over-produced, with too many vocal layers. But Knight does a solid job, and the Luton MC impresses. “Queen” will certainly find its intended audience. (Reviewed by Jesal)

Raxstar ft DJ Harpz – “Poison (ZAIR)”

Dance, Dubstep, Grime, Hindi, Hip Hop, Panjabi, R&B, Rap, UK, UK Asian, Video

Score: 7.4

An interesting new one from Raxstar. Detailing an argument with his missus, the Bearded One flows well over a DJ Harpz beat that has clearly been inspired by Diplo and Skrillex. The breakdown works particularly well, and although the instrumental could have been a touch more well-rounded, it’s certainly a bit different from the norm. “Poison” is definitely worth your time. (Reviewed by Rahul)

Arjun – “Excuse Me Girl (Ambarsariya)” featuring Rekha Sawhney & Reality Raj

Hindi, Pop, R&B, Rap, UK Asian

Score: 7.7

Arjun himself described the video to “Excuse Me Girl” as “semi-pornographic” (sarcastically, of course, as it’s really not) and he wrote the song on a flight between India and England (we’re guessing this popped up on his MP3 player about 4 minutes prior). He’s still focused on (eventually) cracking the R&B scene in the UK, but for now it’s all about consolidating his rapid expansion within India and the surrounding markets. It makes sense, because the R&B scene in Britain is a relatively limp thing right now, whereas he could be an absolute hero in India doing his Prius hybrid of clean, safe R&B mixed with that desi flavour. The numbers alone speak for themselves, and are truly mind-boggling (seriously, take a look at how many Facebook fans he now has). As for “Excuse Me Girl”, Rekha Sawhney’s “Ambarsariya” sample really helps make it, adhering to Arj’s thus far successful formula of “blending Eastern and Western values” (sorry, that’s totally Shaadi.com). It’s a densely packed few minutes, with relatively simplistic but infuriatingly catchy lyrics burying their way into your psyche. An extremely young sounding chap called Reality Raj (nope, us neither) pops up to rap about 8 arguably needless bars, but it doesn’t specifically detract from the track. EMG is a fresh enough, summery take on a well-trodden path. The ladies at the front (and at the back, too) will indeed love this. Full lyrics below, by the way. (Reviewed by Jesal)

LYRICS:

(ARJUN)

This is for the ladies at the front, at the back
This is your song, where you at, where you at?
This is for my fellas at the crib, at the club
Cruising with your boys, yeah, turn it, turn it up

(REALITY RAJ)

Why you playing silly games, acting like we cannot be together?
I know I give you them butterflies when we see each other
I’ll give you all of it if you just let be me your lover
Miss One Of A Kind, what’s really been on your mind, wassup

(ARJUN)

Excuse me, girl, what’s your story?
I just wanna get to know you better
I would do anything for you bae
Everything about you is so fascinating
Give me 10 minutes of your time, babe
I know that you’re shy but I gotta see you smiling
 
We could be like Romeo & Juliet
Why you playing hard to get, girl?
What you see is what you get
With me…
Just give me something
I’m standing every day underneath your balcony
I’m never giving up until I know your name
 
Excuse me, girl, what’s your story?
I just wanna get to know you
 
This is for the ladies at the front, at the back
This is your song, where you at, where you at?
This is for my fellas at the crib, at the club
Cruising with your boys, yeah, turn it, turn it up

(REALITY RAJ)

Why you playing hard to get, acting like you gon’ find someone better?
I made a promise I’mma shelter you from any weather
I’ll give you 21 flowers to show you to show you I’m forever
Grateful, cos I will be eternally faithful to you

 

Bohemia ft Raxstar & Haji Springer – “Brand New Swag” (Official Remix)

Hindi, Hip Hop, Panjabi, Rap, UK, UK Asian, USA

Score: 6.0

It’s nigh on impossible to tell whether “Brand New Swag” is really good or really shit. The beat sounds awful and brilliant at the same time. The chorus is dumb as fuck but catchy as hell. The rapping is either overly simplistic or perfect for the instrumental. The choice is yours. Sometimes music can be pretty damn confusing… (Reviewed by Raman)

Arjun – “Take It Back”

R&B

Score: 7.8

Well, this is weird. Not the song. Not even the video. No… Someone has decided to spam Arjun’s new video (the Main one, not the previous – and rather excellent – Lyric Video) with massive numbers of ‘Dislikes’. It’s all rather unsettling, and we got the feeling that after this, the unusually quiet Arjun didn’t really feel like pushing his new vehicle as hard. He ended up admitting such via Twitter, a sincere shame – it’s a freak occurance, and the singer should take it as a bizarre compliment, if possible. When you’re a lone bird on a wire, it’s easier for camouflaged lowlifes to shoot from a distance. And make no mistake, it’s songs like “Take It Back” that have made Arjun stand apart from his peers. It’s an infuriatingly addictive song, one that will burrow its way into your brain until you’re no longer able to resist. The verses are a touch repetitive, but the bridge, chorus and – most importantly – concept are superb. It’s the kind of song that marks a genuine mission statement – Arjun is a fan of R&B, and he’s trying to bring it back. The tempo hovers around the 101bpm mark; the strings are vaguely reminiscent of “No More” by Ruff Endz – or at the very least, that era of production; the verses are kind of like Nelly Furtado’s “Big Hoops (Bigger the Better)” in the way they quote/interpolate old school lyrics. Whilst “Take It Back” isn’t Arjun’s ‘A’ game in certain respects (the production isn’t as refined/subtle as that era of R&B, plus the video might not be as polished as “Vampire”), it’s a great start. Plus, you know, it’s just so damn catchy. (Reviewed by Jesal)

Immi – “Fire” (featuring TaZzZ)

Burban, Grime, Hip Hop, Rap, UK Asian

Score: 6.1

The interesting thing about TaZzZ is that innate ability to create his own universe. He constantly cross-references his own music, inviting both the listener and other artists into his own world. Clearly he’s pretty tight with Immi, an throwback MC who isn’t technically brilliant but has bags of character alongside a naturally distinctive voice. “Fire” is an interesting effort: well-sequenced, energetic and it bangs pretty hard. Sure, the chorus and bars aren’t anything special, but altogether it’s solid enough. (Reviewed by Jesal)