Snoh Aalegra talks “Bad Things”, Cocaine 80s, more

Snoh Aalegra is one of my favorite new artists of 2014 and her newly released There Will Be Sunshine EP has gems from beginning to end.

One of those gems is “Bad Things”, which features a verse from Common. She shares the organic story of how that song came together to DJ Booth, in the process quelling any notion that Common was merely reciprocating a feature for Snoh’s help on Nobody’s Smiling.

The lead-single off There Will Be Sunshine was “Bad Things,” which featured a verse from Common. It’s pretty remarkable to have an emcee like Common on the lead single off your debut. How did that come about?

“That was amazing! He was recording his album with No I.D. at the same time as me, but I was in Sweden. I went to visit my family while No I.D. was working on the beat and finessing it. What I heard was Common walked in the room, heard the the beat and my lyrics and said, “I love this!” and he wanted to jump on it, right there. So it just kind of happened you know. They called me and said ‘Oh by the way, Common jumped on your song…just so you know.’ I love how it happened. A lot of people assume, that because I work with NO I.D., I would have a lot of features, but I always want them to happen organically. I don’t want to call in any favors; I don’t believe it will turn out the right way. I want to do it if the person I’m doing a feature with really wants it; then there is good chemistry.”

I just love her approach to collaborations, first and foremost. In a music industry filled with politics, I think it’s important for artists on the rise to stay true to themselves and not reach for a name-collaboration unless, like Snoh says above, the person doing the feature really wants it. The authenticity will shine through and given how much “Bad Things” has been in my rotation this month, Snoh and Common is just another example.

The interview touched on a variety of topics so the full read is worth the click. One more excerpt to reel you in is her answer about Cocaine 80s, and probably the clearest, most up-to-date description of the collective.

You also managed a feature from Cocaine 80’s. I know James and No I.D. are the faces of Cocaine 80’s, but it’s more of a collective. Can you shed some light on what exactly ‘featuring Cocaine 80’s’ means?

“Cocaine 80’s is No I.D., James Fauntleroy, and Steve Wyreman. I know Common used to be a part of it, but I’m not sure if he still is anymore. They do features with so many artists and they did a lot with Common so he was almost like a part of it. But No I.D., James and Steve, the guitarist are the core members. They are so amazing! On my song, it was those three. No I.D. on the beat, James singing and Steve playing guitar on the outro.”

Once again, There Will Be Sunshine is a must-listen and in the top-tier of projects, not only in R&B, but in all of music for me in 2014.

Snoh Aalegra ‘There Will Be Sunshine EP’

Swedish singer Snoh Aalegra is one of my favorite new artists of 2014, impacting in recent weeks with a variety of previews and loose tracks, her feature on Common’s Nobody’s Smiling, and culminating in the release of her debut EP this week, There Will Be Sunshine. She releases the project through her new home at Epic Records, and with No I.D. producing for her, she’s got some great, close co-signs for the start of her career.

There Will Be Sunshine is a cohesive 6-track project with nods to her Stockholm home for the definitive intro and a part 2 as the outro. “Bad Things” is the track that follows, an ear-catching single that should appeal to hip hop heads with Common on board for a slick feature verse. The video dropped yesterday and is brought back below for, perhaps, your proper audio/visual introduction to Snoh Aalegra.

I was intrigued by the 3 tracks after the previously released “Bad Things” — all first listens for me and they far from disappointed. “Paradise” is a gripping and surprisingly motivating track that I’ve found myself playing on near-repeat levels since I copped the EP on iTunes yesterday. “You Already Know” is equally as replayable and acts as Snoh’s breakup fallout record. The title track follows and is perhaps the most obvious No I.D. classic sound in the production. Though I enjoy the previous 2 records more, “There Will Be Sunshine” is perhaps the most catchy. The EP concludes with James Fauntleroy harmonizing in a seamless and cozy outro that’s at perfect length.

As a whole, the EP is at the perfect length too. A quick listen that transforms your mood and focus to the music itself with Snoh’s wonderfully grasping vocals and visual storytelling or the pleasing production acting as the base for good background music. From here, I hope for more videos, especially for a “Paradise” or “You Already Know”. Surely, there will be more sunshine for Snoh Aalegra as she kickstarts her career with this impressive EP. Get in tune and listen below!

h/t Hunger TV on the premiere + accompanying interview

Jhene Aiko ‘Souled Out’ Album Stream

You knew it was comin! The full album stream for Jhene Aiko’s Souled Out, available in stores and everywhere in less than a week, September 9th. Souled Out is slim on the vocal features with Common, Cocaine 80s, and Jhene’s daughter and late brother the lone ones. Production is handled by Key Wane, Fisticuffs, James Fauntleroy, Dot Da Genius, and Souled Out is executive produced by No I.D. I’m fans of all of the above and can’t wait to listen/support this week, especially on the heels of the Childish Gambino well-directed visuals for “The Pressure”.

1. Limbo Limbo Limbo
2. W.A.Y.S.
3. To Love & Die (feat. Cocaine 80s)
4. Spotless Mind
5. It’s Cool
6. Lyin King
7. Wading
8. The Pressure
9. Brave
10. Eternal Sunshine
11. Promises (feat. NAMIKO & Miyagi)
12. Pretty Bird (Freestyle) (feat. Common)
13. Remember
14. Blue Dream

Listen to the Jhene Aiko ‘Souled Out’ Album Stream here.

Jhene Aiko ‘Souled Out’ [Tracklist + Features]

UPDATE: The features have been added to the tracklist below of Jhene Aiko‘s debut LP — Souled Out. It really only required one more name: Common, who will be returning the favor from Nobody’s Smiling. I’m definitely fine with Jhene rockin’ the album pretty much solo, but I was also lowkey predicting a big Drake cameo. To no avail, wishful thinking I suppose. 16 tracks in all with the album out September 9th.

1. Brave
2. To Love & Die f/ Cocaine 80s
3. Beautiful Ruin
4. It’s Cool
5. Lyin King
6. Wading
7. The Pressure
8. Eternal Sunshine
9. Limbo Limbo Limbo
10. Promises
11. W.A.Y.S
12. Pretty Bird f/ Common
13. Spotless Mind
14. Remember
15. My Afternoon Dream
16. You vs. Them (Acoustic)

ICYMI: Jhene Aiko for ELLE Magazine | Our Jhene Aiko x Lollapalooza recap

Elijah Blake “6” / “Fallen”

On the heels of his stellar feature on Common’s Nobody’s Smiling, Elijah Blake is prepping his new solo EP, Drift, and does so in a powerful new way by singing slowly on a topic not often covered: child abuse. In it, Elijah describes some dark experiences of his father’s physical form of discipline, yet also concludes with a recollection of a childlike imagination we should still think from today.

I’m 6 years old, full of imagination.

It’s hard not to be pulled in by this gripping story. *applauds* — seen via Fauntleroy’s IG (so I’m assuming they worked together on this one, also given their previous connections).

*Tibs Fav.