It’s Friday, which means we are back with another installment of ESSENCE’s The Playlist
Your newest audio adventurer, Kevin L. Clark (@KevitoClark), is back with more grooves to add to your rotation. Our first time together was really magical as you all showed plenty of love to Heather Chelan, Khadijah Lopez, and Giveon via social media, so I am extremely happy to drop another round of gorgeous grooves (and a fresh premiere) for your enjoyment.
1. India Shawn — “Not Too Deep”
Los Angeles singer-songwriter India Shawn has put in work writing for the likes of Usher, El Debarge, Monica, and others. Now, following her first single of 2020, “Cali Love,” the sultry performer aims to turn heads and make waves with the ESSENCE premiere of her video for her newest cut, “Not Too Deep.”
Featuring her longtime friend 6LACK, Shawn champions womanhood and a new love over D’Mile’s evolved production, making this track a psychedelic-drenched R&B cut worth keeping on repeat. We spoke to the SoCal songstress via email to get some insight behind the song and video, which was conceived by Shawn and Varren Wade.
“Varren assisted with the top line for the song. My creative director Charleene Al-Chamaa imagined this dreamy world with really strong beauty shots of me dripping in crystals, along, and vulnerable, which I feel represents the emotional boundary I’m singing about in the song.” Those Swarovski crystals are a reoccurring theme in both this video and her cover art, which, according to India Shawn, hints at a larger meaning.
“The coming project is about exploring human emotions, and for every emotion, there’s a different outfit. ‘Not Too Deep’ is about stepping out of the normal constructs of a relationship, so I decided to visually step out of my norm. With animation by Robin Eisenberg that hits a bit differently than what we’ve seen in other music videos, Shawn’s insistence of keeping a newfound love “light and air” are symbolized in the second half of the video.
“[6LACK] and I were really happy with how she portrayed us [in animation]. He and I came up together in the Atlanta music scene, and he’s a genius artist and one of the kindest, most zen people I know,” she told ESSENCE via email. “After I recorded ‘Not Too Deep’ I sent it to him, and he sent it right back with his verse. It was perfect and after seeing what she had done, I wanted the whole video animated [laughs].”
2. Maségo — “Veg Out (Wasting Thyme)”
Audiophiles instantly fell in love with the musical polymath known as Maségo after his combo of hits (“Tadow” and “Queen Tings,” respectively) took him to new heights. After touring the country with VanJess, Uncle Ségo returns from his hiatus with “Veg Out (Wasting Thyme),” a small, but delectable taste of new music that follows his recently released “Kings Rant”.
3. Brittany Howard — “Stay High” from Spotify Singles
Everyone is celebrating Brittany Howard’s re-recording of her No. 1 AAA radio hit, “Stay High,” for the Spotify Singles program. But it is her B-side that also needs to blast from rooftops and speakers worldwide! “You And Your Folks, Me And My Folks” is Howard’s powerful interpretation of a Funkadelic classic (from 1971’s Maggot Brain) — and serves as a siren call for us to trust and provide for one another — especially during these urgent times.
4. Lizzo — “A Change Is Gonna Come” from One World: Together at Home
Lizzo is so amazing that anyone watching the One World: Together at Home performance couldn’t help but to tell her so. With everyone from Stevie Wonder to Paul McCartney to Lady Gaga championing the Grammy Award winners performance of “A Change Is Gonna Come,” we all get to vibe out to her angelic vocals now that the 79-song album is available on all streaming services.
5. Adeline — “Twilight”
Adeline, the former singer for nu-disco outfit Escort, contemplates the end of a relationship on her new song, “Twilight,” which is slated to appear on her upcoming EP, Intérimes, out on June 12th. An honest portrait of fading love, the French-Caribbean singer and bass player colorful paints over the track using bright and dextrous vocals, which she coproduces with her partner Morgan Wiley.
6. Lion Babe — “Into Me”
New York’s own LION BABE isn’t letting the coronavirus crisis stop them from bringing love and joy to their fans. Their video for “Into Me” is a feel-good, throwback track that harkens to a period when we all could enjoy live shows full of human connection and excitement. The time they hope to continue on their global virtual tour which begins in South Africa at the Alchemy IG Live on April 25th.
7. 21 Savage and Summer Walker — “Secret”
Two of ATL’s finest — 21 Savage and Summer Walker — link up for their second collaboration since last year’s “Triggered (freestyle) Remix” with Jhené Aiko. The Slaughtergang MC brings his propensity for singing R&B classics on IG Live to “Secret,” this Xscape-sampled diddy that finds him describing his would-be love in exacting detail. With Summer on the hook, the two recapture a bit of that magic from the 90’s courtesy of production by Kid Hazel.
8. Victoria Monét — “Dive”
While Victoria Monét has been inspiring fans with the “Pull Up On You” challenge, the SacTown songstress is ready to take us under with her newest sing, “Dive.” The third single off Monét’s forthcoming project, Jaguar, “Dive” exudes confidence and champions sexual exploration at the same damn time. If you’re unafraid to get it in, then this flirtatious-dynamo cut is dripped in honey-glazed goodness your ears will enjoy.
9. Jean Deaux — “Moody”
Chicago’s own Jean Deaux has been making her own path for years, appearing on tracks with Isaiah Rashad, Smino, Mick Jenkins, and more. After releasing her second EP, Empathy, this multi-hyphenate with the cult-like following returns with her first single of 2020 called “Moody!” featuring Saba. Showcasing her velvety, hard-nosed rap flow, Deaux and Saba have a compare-and-contrast vibe that makes for an exceedingly dope trap-fused-banger.
Dive into this week’s featured songs above and tell us your own favorites by telling us on Instagram and Twitter @Essence.