Review: The Saturday Knights are a culmination of three freaks, a jaw-jacking combination of performing personalities: storyteller and entertainer Tilson, who can tickle any lady's funny bone; low-income yarn spinner and urban graffiti poet Barfly; and pumped up by the big beats and psychedelic turntable-artist, DJ Suspence.
The Return (feat Thando, Jace XL, Alien & Whosane)
Don't Give Up (feat Mandarin Dreams)
Made Us Better (feat Blue Lab beats, Boadi & Lori)
Review: After Sampa's magic debut album it makes sense she's been signed by Ninja Tune for a follow up. Once again here the Zambian-born Australian singer-songwriter and rapper is in excellent form, delivering slick, complex verses that she says are "the most me to date". Exploring notions of race and relationships, amongst other things, her voice is couched in gorgeous broken beat, hip hop and r&b production. Highlights are plentiful throughout - "OMG" is a funky afro beat, "Any Day" is neo soul in the mould of Erykah Badu and "Final Form" is a trumpet lead, warrior queen anthem to get your chest pumping. Essential.
Review: Having previously worked with SBTRKT, Kanye West, Drake, Jesse Ware and Frank Ocean, amongst others, Sampha is no newcomer. This, though, is the British singer, songwriter and producer's debut album, and it's something of an understated gem. One particularly enthusiastic reviewer called it "an R&B album for the ages"; while that may be pushing it a bit, there's no denying that Process is an impressive collection of tracks. The beats are inventive, the electronics crisp, the samples carefully chosen, and the musical touches pitched just right. At the centre of it all stands Sampha, delivering thoughtful, heartfelt and sometimes poignant lyrics in his wonderfully evocative voice.
Review: Some have called Coolaid, Snoop Dogg's fourteenth full-length, a "back to basics" triumph. Certainly, the album has a familiar feel, with the veteran West Coast rapper's decision to include a number of G-funk inspired cuts - many reminiscent of his key early '90s work - paying dividends. Of course, it's not all synth-laden head-nodders; "Super Crip" is a crisp, Golden Age slammer, "My Carz" samples and loops up Gary Numan with great success, and the auto-tune heavy "Light It Up" doffs a cap to radio-friendly R&B (and, yes, Snoop sings). At 20 tracks deep it's something of an epic, but flows impressively. In other words, it's the kind of entertaining, thrill-a-minute set we'd all been hoping for. Snoop, it seems, is still the big Dogg.