Pulse is officially an adult; it can vote and drink alcohol (legally). That’s right, our little music feature is all grown up, and turns 18 today. Of course, that’s in editions, not years, because, as amazing as I am, I’ve not been pulling quality music journalism like this out of my arse since I was 7.
No, back then I was probably playing pretend, plagiarising stories, drawing graphically violent cartoons, interviewing myself, and worrying about death. Unusual little munchkin.
Anyway, seeing as it’s Pulse’s 18th, what better way to celebrate than by doing the same thing we do every edition? Try to take over the world! No, sorry, I meant round up the best new music that you absolutely need in your life. Then we’ll try to take over the world with it all as our domination mix.
You wouldn’t normally welcome a balaclava clad confrontation, especially one openly stating that they are ‘here to have fun, stir it up, and make you uneasy.’ However, when it comes to Brooklyn’s anonymous Leikeli47, that balaclava clad confrontation is more than welcome. Why?
Well, having fun, stirring it up, and making us uneasy, comes accompanied by complete musical variety coated in a sleek veneer; Leikeli47 delivers abrasive, in your face, rap via an eclectic technical flow, as well as a smooth R&B purr, atop beats and production that manage to sound both club-ready and darkly experimental.
Leikeli47 might be keeping her identity close to her chest, or, more accurately, under her mask, but one thing that won’t remain anonymous is her music. Sounds like the future to me.
Philadelphian, rapper and model, Chynna does not rap like a 20 year old. That’s not to say she hasn’t got the fire or hunger of a 20 year old; she does – in droves. Rather that she reels rhymes off with the technical skill, finesse, and confident power of a practiced veteran.
Now, that might be because at 15 she chased up A$AP Yams to try and intern for him, but instead ended up having him encourage her to write her own lyrics; finding herself a firm friend in the process, as well as a strong association with the A$AP Mob. Then again, it could just be because Chynna is a natural. Maybe a little of column A and a little (more) of column B.
Either way, Chynna doesn’t just know how to ride a beat, but how to choose one too, if her penchant for electing to drop bars over deep, woozy, atmospherics that pack a punch, is anything to go by. Don’t even get me started on her working on her upcoming debut with Hudson Mohawke and Rustie.
‘No, don’t compare me to no other artist.’
Well, that’s me fucked then. What else is a lazy music journalist – and I use that term exceptionally loosely – to do? Comparing things to one another is my bread and butter, but, in the case of Little Simz I’ve got no desire to compare any other artists.
Little Simz is a genuinely unique and fresh sounding talent; a varied lyrical technique that sees rhyming with bite, riding and contradicting the beat, switching up tempos between rapid fire flow and a more considered, deliberate delivery shows she studied the best; punchy lyrics that a full of flare boasting sincere self-awareness and an honest thoughtfulness, but best of all some seriously sarcastic and witty punchlines – her appropriation of well known hooks are brilliant.
Musically, you can feel her North London upbringing, as well as getting the impression of a sponge-like absorption of Britain’s rich music heritage when it comes to your more urban inclined soundscapes; echoes of grime, garage, trip hop, dub, and IDM, reverberate throughout.
Brooklyn rapper DonMonique keeps things minimal from the ground up . The beats backing her precision lyricism are frequently as frugal as her bars, leaning on sparse instrumentation, taut percussion, and rich with reverb.
Speaking of her lyrics though, her rhymes are tight and concise, keeping her lines laconic, but with DonMonique less is more; with just a sprinkling of words and what feels like minimal effort, DonMonique hits all her marks, rides the groove hypnotically, but still boasts both bite and bark.
On top of that, DonMonique knows how to write a hook, and bolsters her rhymes with enough attitude that she cuts through her spectral surroundings, but knows how to camouflage too.