Skepta – All In (EP) (Boy Better Know)
Veteran London MC, producer, and record-label owner Skepta releases his five-track EP, All In. Since forming the grime label Boy Better Know with his brother J.M.E and Wiley, Skepta has been an influential figure in grime’s shift from the underground to the mainstream charts. Before releasing All In, Skepta’s 2019 solo album Ignorance is Bliss debuted at No. 2 on the UK charts, was certified silver, and received acclaim from The Guardian, The Independent, and Complex to name a few. Throughout his outstanding career, Skepta has shared a stage with Kanye West, worked with superstars from Mick Jagger, Gorillaz, Pharrell Williams, and A$AP Rocky, and continuously topped global charts with his music. Unsurprisingly, All In is also shaping up to be a huge success. Among the EP’s multiple features, Skepta’s track “Nirvana” includes a guest appearance from the Colombian “Prince Of Reggaeton” J Balvin. All In also boasts features from two-time Grammy-winner and platinum-selling artist Kid Cudi and Nigerian artist Teezee. Be sure to check out Skepta’s newest music video for “Nirvana” (featuring J. Balvin) below.
Lady Donli – WILD (Badmoon)
The “Pan African rockstar” Lady Donli’s newest EP Wild reflects her rich heritage and cultural experiences. Born in Cleveland and raised in Nigeria, Donli grew up traveling between Toronto, London, and Lagos. Donli draws inspiration from her travels, shown through her discography that dips into genres from R&B to alternative, to Afrobeat, to highlife. She cites the artists that have influenced her sound in an interview with Zikoko Magazine, stating “Because I make many different types of music, different people inspire me…. There’s a wide range of people that have inspired me; Brenda Fassie, Asa, Angélique Kidjo, Fela, Erykah Badu, and many others. Right now, I inspire myself.” One common theme in Lady Donli’s sound is its undeniable nod to African music, a characteristic also present in her Wild EP. Since her music debut in 2014, Lady Donli’s discography has received critical acclaim and solidified her as a prominent voice in African music. The Nigerian artist explains that her newest release, Wild, was created from the solace she experienced during the 2020 Covid-19 lockdown and the desire to know more about herself during this difficult time. The EP’s title track “Wild” and lead single “Searching” follow this journey of self-discovery, while the songs “Put it On” and “Lova Gyal” emphasize the hope that arises from this introspection through its bursts of energy and confidence. Like the EP’s title, Donli’s music demonstrates her ability to be wild, with her courageous experimentation with sounds, playful tracks, and emotionally raw lyrics.
Kiana V – Dazed EP (Kiana V)
Filipino R&B singer-songwriter Kiana V presents her EP Dazed, a 5-track project that she describes as “a soft exploration of how self-love affects the love we are able to give to others.” Kiana V explains her creative process for Dazed, including how her mental health challenges throughout the 2020 Covid lockdown inspired her songwriting. Dazed centers around strategies for healing, a theme explored in songs such as “Simple,” which signifies confidence in shutting down external pressures. The EP’s third track, “Better,” explores the frustration of wanting to give more than you can, and also analyzes the importance of comforting oneself before moving forward in the world. Kiana V not only displays vulnerability and authority in her music, but also through her advocacy. The 28-year old connects to her fans by addressing the struggles she personally faces with mental health and emphasizes the value of normalizing conversations about these topics. In Dazed, Kiana’s dreamy, moody track accompanied by stunning visuals showcases her artistry and deepens the emotions behind each song. Watch Kiana V’s movement visual for her EP’s title track, “Dazed.”