1. MICHAEL KIWANUKA – BLACK MAN IN A WHITE WORLD
Artist: Michael Kiwanuka
Title: Black Man in a White World
Album: Love & Hate
A number that proved the dazzling highlight, captivating everyone with uptempo hymn set to handclaps, then soulful afrobeat groove featuring funky guitar licks and a Motown string section. Lyrically, Kiwanuka’s mixture of frustration and hope can be seen in similarly themed songs on masterpieces like Marvin Gaye’s What’s Going On. Lechak wey!
2. HERIZEN GUARDIOLA – SET ME FREE
Artist: Herizen Guardiola ft. Nile Rodgers
Title: Set Me Free
Album: The Get Down OST
From the soundtrack of Netflix drama The Get Down, sung by main actress herself Herizen Guardiola, Set Me Free deserves a listen, taking you back to the days of disco and funk, guided by the incomparable Nile Rodgers of Chic’s signature-disco-funk-style guitar. It felt so true to the period like it was recorded in the 70s.
3. MENAHAN STREET BAND – THE CROSSING
Artist: Menahan Street Band
Title: The Crossing
Album: The Crossing
This song refines a rich collection of emotionally complex instrumental soul, with distinct musicianship meeting inspired production and a deep obsession of soul music. It makes for a spiritual and mind-stretching experience one minute, woozy and disorienting the next. Essential for fellow funk enthusiasts, and soul searchers.
4. BIXIGA 70S – GRITO DE PAZ
Artist: Bixiga 70
Title: Grito de Paz
Album: Bixiga 70
10-piece Afro-Brazilian orchestra, heavy in percussion and horns playing extended jams that always threatened to tear the roof off. The farfisa and guitar introduction on Grito de Paz, is a combination of American funk, Colombian cumbia and Nigerian afrobeat.
5. THE ENTRANCE BAND – FINE FLOW
Artist: The Entrance Band
Title: Fine Flow
Album: Face The Sun
Psychedelic power trio never interested in repetition, they revel in discovery, this song has a crazy-ass collection of psychedelic guitar scribbling and acid howls. The unique sound of guitarist/singer Guy Blakeslee, the mind-expanding reverb and delay, playing with the tensions between those extremes, with noodling vocal lines that shift from major to minor mode or float over distorted, magical instrumentals. Messy yet thrilling to listen.