ANNOUNCEMENT! Our first Next Gen Greats podcast is set to launch tomorrow. Our first podcast series finds artists and storytellers taking us through the journey behind some of their projects. The podcast will be available on platforms like Buzzsprout, Apple Music, Spotify and Mixcloud! Here’s a brand new sneak peak of what’s to come tomorrow with Scaling The Snake’s Skin: The Tyson S.T Story.
Now back to our scheduled programming. We are back with the seventh edition of Artists You Shouldn’t Sleep On and this one finds us stretching the borders past South Africa! This is an article series where we cover rising artists who we believe are releasing great stuff and/or have amazing potential. In this edition, I bring forth four more artists with compelling discographies and so without further ado, here is the seventh edition. You can read on the first, second, third and fourth, fifth and sixth edition respectively.
Basic Info: Our first artist is an Eswatini native rapper that is currently based in Taiwan, Bauer Larson. From Mbabane, this 21-year old is multi-faceted creative whose credits also stretch into the realms of executive-producing and sound engineering. One the projects where he takes the helm on both, is 2Bear’s Grey Tick the Blue Ticker. As an artist, his music comfortably fits within the realms of contemporary hip-hop music with how quirky his approach is, with genre-infusions from genres like jazz and drum and bass. At point of publication, Larson has mutliple bodies of work including The Existential Asthmatic (2018) and Behind Closed Doors, released in April 2020.
Breakdown: Moving Day (produced by. ULTRV). As a rapper, Bauer Larson has a quirky appeal to him that’s not only bolstered by his style of delivery and vocal affectations but in his story-building. He has a great knack for exploring his existentialism, often soberingly, through the use of visual metaphors, which is a common theme within Behind Closed Doors. Moving Day is one of the more optimistic records on the project that finds Larson playing within an aspirational and braggadoccious place as he crafts his underdog story of ascent. Backed by an energetic Ultravelli production, Larson teams up with Yellow Bud in a song that finds them actively leaving their comfort zones with their eyes set on the stratosphere. This song is packed with an unbridled sense of optimism that is so infectious within the chorus that it carries through the verses. Both of their verses are filled with fun self-gasses, and within the context of the record, feels like Larson coming into his own space after cutting out a lot in Eviction Notice. This is amplified further by Yellow Bud’s boisterous doubling down of the theme and injecting the song with a genuinely relentless energy. Moving Day is a swift jolt that gets you motivated and showcases Bauer Larson quite dynamically.
Filah Lah Lah
Basic Info: Hailing from Pretoria, our next act is a singer-songwriter, Filah Lah Lah. Born Reabetswe Ranamane, Filah Lah Lah is an LLB Graduate that also juggles modeling whilst being an active musician. Her style of music sits well within the blues spectrum, with influences ranging from smooth jazz to contemporary R&B and soul. At point of publication, this chanteuse had just recently released her debut body of work, Filahsofy, with the remainder of her catalogue being stand-a-lone singles.
Breakdown: This Is (produced by Mike Kalombo). Filah Lah Lah is a singer-songwriter armed with a disarming tone and an imaginative pen. As a body of work, Filahsofy, is a love record that takes us through Filah’s different states within her current relationship, from infatuation to uncertainty and arguments. This Is is the leading track that sets the stage for this project, and what a stage it sets. Introduced by a sparse piano, Filah takes us back to the moment she set her sights on her partner and the carnal feelings of infatuation that soon ensued thereafter. Moreso, it introduces the concept of their comfortable relationship as she describes herself as his Eden. Sonically, Kalombo’s production is incredibly intimate. It puts Filah and her harmonies centre stage with all the room to fly and she flutters, hovers, lilts and soars throughout the production. Her engrossing vocal pulls you into her world view and dazzles you with its skill. This Is is a brusque slice of contemporary R&B, that not only opens up the world of Filahsofy but adequately teases what Filah has to offer as an artist. This is a spin for your feels.
Basic Info: From one chanteuse to another, our next artist is Cape Town recording artist Hunter Rose. Hunter Rose is a full-time musician whose work has seen her selling out shows and festivals within Europe whilst establishing a local footprint. Her style of music is incredibly soulful and smokey, with her sonic landscapes revisiting textures like neo-soul, contemporary jazz and blues. Thus far, she has released a collection of singles as well as bodies of work like her brisk yet viral Slow Slummer and her latest, fuller-length Love & Trust which was released in May 2020.
Breakdown: I Just Might (produced by Echln). Hunter Rose is armed with an incredibly rich and husky tone that works wonders within spaces that are jazz-infused. Her output is sonically consistent in that it has this mellow yet groovy appeal to it. I visually imagine being at a speakeasy whilst listening to it; it’s incredibly soulful and mature-sounding. I Just Might is a song that pushes her mellow sound into more uptempo spaces, bringing forth a more playful energy to this chanteuse. Conceptually, I Just Might finds Rose at a party with her girls waiting for a guy she’s feeling to make his move on her. Performance-wise, she provides her most flirtatious vocal which begins quite assured and smoky as she starts the song. She then elevates to more playful grounds in the hook, her delivery turns staccato as she sings “Come-on-ov-er-babe, let-me-hear-you-say… my name” whilst backed by adlibs that show off how pretty her head-voice is. Echlin’s drums and bass-lead production provides a relentless groove that Rose really just dances on top off. Hunter Rose really has set herself up as a commanding voice rising within the soul space. If you’re a fan of that genre and she hasn’t grabbed your attention, she just might in the near future.
Basic Info: Our final act is a growing Next-Gen fave from Pretoria West, Thato Saul. This 24-year-old Pheli-native is a full-time rapper and entertainer whose online catalogue stretches close to 4 years. Saul’s musical output fits squarely within the family of hip-hop, often playing both within contemporary genres like trap whilst harkening to styles that are more vintage in the genre’s history. Thato Saul has released multiple bodies of work including For God’s Sake (December 2019) and the collaborative At Your Service (March 2020) whilst having released a catalogue of singles, including a streak of 5 stand-alones since April this year.
Breakdown: Promising (produced by Zarro). Thato Saul as a rapper stands as one of the most well-rounded and singular acts currently rising. His sound has come to encompass an aesthetic that is gritty and soulful, bears on unsettling yet is still soothing and familiar. Whether he’s on an uptempo banger or on more bare settings, his current context always comes into play and unabashedly so. His latest solo project was aptly titled For God’s Sake. It explores Saul’s plea for a justified existence whilst living in a surrounding plagued by unemployment, uncertainty and depression. A solid introduction of this existence can be found in Promising. Backed by a soulful Zarro production, Saul launches into a song that finds him contrasting all the things he’s promised himself and consolidating that against the reality he lives in; a reality he describes as soul-crushing. Saul launches into the various ways he’s working on himself, mentally, physically and spiritually and towards these promises that continuously seem out of reach, so much so that he toils with the idea of pushing drugs. Thato Saul is incredibly candid, unnervingly so, about his surrounding and sentiments. This is encapsulated within the song’s final refrain “How can I beat this boy? Money bag, I can not reach this point? Play with time I can not beat this toy? Blow it back, I can not reach this joy.” Thato Saul is an incredibly engrossing storyteller and serves as one of the more frank storytellers of his class. Moreso, he also stands as one of the current propellers of Spitori within contemporary hip-hop, effortlessly switching between the dialect and English with an unflinching flair. Well-rounded singular, Thato Saul is an acquired taste that can feel richly rewarding if you connect with the palette, or are slightly adjacent to it.
Thank you for your time. And just for getting to the end, here’s another teaser from tomorrow’s podcast in which Tyson S.T tells us about the recording process for his single Pocket Watching featuring Doou$hii.