Is it me or did this week just fly by? Even time can’t wait for that next Verzuz episode. I’m glad we all could make it together to enjoy another episode of ESSENCE’s The Playlist.
We’re rounding out of May and the question I ask is, “What is summer anyway?” I’m sure we’ll all be outside enjoying social-distance free concerts and quiet parties on rooftops, but what will summer 2020 sound like?
That’s why I’m here to help. If you’re still enjoying these sounds from your friendly neighborhood audiophile, I am happy to share these songs with you as we go into the weekend. Today’s edition features a soulful solo number from Yebba Smith, a throwback funk fest with Anthony Hamilton and Rick James, and an end of the night jam from Chelsie Denise.
Find a cozy corner, grab your dance shoes, check out The Playlist, plus share any thoughts about the songs with me @KevitoClark.
1. Chloe x Halle — “Do It”
Upping the ante are Chloe x Halle with a party-starting number called “Do It,” which is from their sophomore set Ungodly Hour. The Bailey sisters take us to a time we all miss—enjoying a night out with friends sans social distancing—and makes it an official “good vibes only” anthem. Co-written with Victoria Monét, this R&B tune is for those just with the crew and not out looking for boo.
2. Yebba — “Distance”
Twenty-five-year-old soul singer and arranger Yebba Smith has been making waves for the past few years now. She’s gotten the party started with PJ Morton (“How Deep Is Your Love”) and continues to make noise despite having only a few singles to her name. “Distance” is the first single from her upcoming album and is an emotive, bossa-nova tinged ballad that expands on her signature sound and melody. This is one’s for the steppers.
3. Anthony Hamilton — “Back Together” (ft. Rick James)
What’s summer without a little deep-rooted fire and desire? Producer 9th Wonder makes music lover’s dreams come true as “Back Together” serves as a duet of sorts between Anthony Hamilton and Rick James. The two crooners add that hip-hop soul that makes you hype for the next BBQ or brunch function. #BrunchGang. Hamilton pens a solid effort as he sings from the heart to get his girl to come back home.
4. Adeline — “After Midnight”
Adeline makes her return to The Playlist with this fan-favorite dance track called “After Midnight.” This one is ripe for the Soul in the Horn and Makossa crowd! A summer party jam that is bouncy from head to toe, the former frontwoman for nu-disco band Escort delivers a perfect groove for those who frequent Club Quarantine. Fresh, fun, flirtatious, and funky—”After Midnight” is exactly a song that adds some energy for her forthcoming EP Intérimes.
5. Brasstracks — “Change For Me” (ft. Samm Henshaw)
For those who are checking in from #KevitoSays (thank you!) — you know my thoughts on Samm Henshaw. Henshaw’s last joint, “Church” (ft. EARTHGANG), had people saying “hollaback, hallelujah” with their hands to the sky, which is why “Change For Me” is a welcomed sunshine offering. Alongside the songwriting-instrumentalist team Brasstracks, the single discusses self-worth and self-love over an intricately beautiful and uplifting melody.
6. Bree Runway — “Damn Daniel” (ft. Yung Baby Tate)
Budding UK musician Bree Runway is a musical wunderkind. Blessed with the inventiveness and strong work ethic to create her own world, “Damn Daniel” is a fun and bouncy romp that throws back to when clubs used to rock left and right. Keisha (Bree) and Felicia (Yung Baby Tate) are two rappers who go ham-and-turkey-burgers over this LIOHN-produced number. Lace-up your dance shoes, play this on repeat, and please stop sleeping on Yung Baby Tate. That’s it. That’s the PSA.
7. Jacob Collier — “All I Need” (ft. Mahalia & Ty Dolla $ign)
Before you step off the dancefloor, give this one a few plays. Jacob Collier is the Quincy Jones-managed musical prodigy who went from getting likes on YouTube to praise from legends both past and present. “All I Need” is a biggie that will have you dancing and smiling with its infection hook and groove. Mahalia and Ty Dolla $ign on this song is a guaranteed pocket that’ll make everyone get up and flex their best moves. If you’re still moving, Jacob Collier‘s upcoming album, Djesse Vol. 3, is one to keep an ear out for.
8. Col3trane — “Clutch” (ft. Kiana Ledé)
Col3trane and Kiana Ledé have been on this audio adventurer’s radar for a minute. Now as two exciting voices emerging out of R&B, their collaborative song, “Clutch,” marks an interesting future for them as artists. Perfect for the beach, the backyard, or the block itself, the J Moona and Mojam-produced track displaying Col3 and Kiana’s buttery vocals with a peppering of afrobeat influence in the percussion. “Clutch” is going to make a splash at the next Everyday People party very soon.
9. Teyana Taylor — “Made It”
Summer for the graduates is vastly different than in the past. Teyana Taylor is joining the chorus of other artists and public figures in congratulating the class of 2020. “Made It,” a praiseworthy song about overcoming obstacles and staying faithful to your dreams, is for the hardworking students who definitely deserve some accolade. Produced by The Aunties, Teyana delivers a passionate message to the 2020 graduates and should be shared by everyone who wants to celebrate excellence.
10. Chelsie Denise — “Call Me”
Every summer party needs that song that closes out the night like a good, cool breeze. Enter: Chelsie Denise. The Canarsie, Brooklyn native takes us to a Friday summer night overlooking the Belt Parkway. Over Lil Wayne’s “Single” sample, Chelsie delivers quarantine-and-chill type energy that’ll have you scrolling through your contacts to find that special somebody to slow wine with.