The UKGospel.com Essential UK Gospel Tracklist – April 2011

2011: April. The good music keeps coming.

Last updated: 21st April 2011

Month four already, and if the response to this new series of ‘Essential UK Gospel’ blog posts is anything to go by, then it looks like we’re all on to a good thing.

If you missed the first one, here’s March 2011’s Essential UK Gospel Tracklist’.

Meantime, let’s get straight into it.  As usual, I’ll be updating this throughout April, and the tracks are presented in no particular order. 

Name: L’Dubzy (find him on Facebook)

Track: ‘Welcome to Africa’ (single) feat Karl Nova, Chuka Royalty, Papy Message, and Andrew Bello.

Release date: April 2011

Availability: http://www.UKGShop.com

Comments: funny story about this: got it by email last week around 4:45am as I prepared to head out for ‘Gospel Breakfast‘, the show I co-present (with Nage Adjaye) on Premier Gospel.

I played it as part of ‘New Tune Tuesday‘, the segment in the show where we introduce new songs to the show (and sometimes to the station too).   The reaction was immediate.

In short: if you like your Afro-Pop with some Afrobeat thrown in for good measure, plus a dash of Hip-hop and Grime sensibilities to keep the pace pumping, then you need this in your life.

Name: Jay Ess

Track: ‘X Diva’ feat Melody (of Nu-Soul) – taken from the Good Friday Mixtape

Release date: April 2011

Availability: free at www.jayessonline.com

Comments: part old-school vibe, part 90s RnB/Hip-Hop hybrid (with an 80s throwback vibe – weird, I know), this is one of those songs that’s going to sound familiar and fresh at the same time.

Melody sings the hook with total tuneful commitment, and Jay Ess delivers his discourse with typical control and conviction.

In short: one for those that like their street music warm and smooth with a bit of melody – no pun intended. 🙂

Name: Brewer

Track: ‘Close’ feat. Lola Godheld – taken from ‘Alone With My Thoughts Part 2′ mixtape

Release date: April 2011

Availability: free at www.ItsBrewer.com

Comments: decent, guitar-driven, summery love song, with sterling production work from The Confectionery.

It was hard to choose a track (I had APX-7 feat Mega, and No.7 feat Guvna B & Franklyn on the shortlist).  I went for this to mellow out the current selection of hard songs with something softer for this list.

In short: great example of the Poppy-but-still-harder-edged sound starting to expand the range of contemporary UK gospel music on offer.  Lifted from the huge follow-up to the equally awesome debut, 2010’s ‘Alone With My Thoughts’.

Name: Secret Weapon

Track: Regardless feat Promise, Judah & 3rd Son

Release date: October 2010

Availability: free at http://www.secretweapon.bandcamp.com

Comments: drummer, producer, solo artist and DJ/producer for GreenJade, Secret Weapon’s stock in trade is classic, sample-based Hip-hop in the proper Old School/90’s tradition.

‘Regardless’ is an international effort, with Canadian Promise’s assured, almost confrontational posturing working well alongside Secret’s former GreenJade bandmates Judah Racham and 3rd Son in their usual good form.

In short: excellent example of accessible, mainstream-friendly Hip-hop with a killer sample and an equally engaging saxophone hook!

Name: MyM (follow on Twitter)

Track: Hold Me Down

Release date: April 2011

Availability: Buy on iTunes

Comments: About 95% of the artist and music bios I come across claim to be influenced by genres outside the Black music staples of RnB, Hip-hop and Soul.

While that may be true, very few of them actually successfully translate that influence into their sound.

That’s what makes ‘Hold Me Down’ so refreshing.  The Indie roots in this Gabriel Woods-produced, inspirational little ditty shines through, as new artist MyM takes UK gospel music to territory it rarely visits, pitches its tent and does a decent job of living like a native.

In short: this is genuinely different and the music scene is all the better for it!

Name: Jay Dolph (find him on Facebook)

Track: Faith, Love and Power ft Guvna B

Availability: free – click here to download

Comments:  I’ll probably get crucified for making this reference, but remember Snoop Dogg and ‘Drop It Like it’s Hot’?  Well, if you liked that stripped-down, Neptunes-esque vibe, this is going to be right up your street.

And if you need a gospel reference: remember Lecrae’s ‘Jesus Music’? Yep, you’re about to get all excited about belting out a Hip-hop tune at the top of your voice again…

I’ve had this for less than 48 hours. Played it on the radio, and within 30 minutes of it going on air two presenter/DJs listening to the show wanted it for their respective shows and stations.

In short: Skyboy Records’ Lionel creates an awesome, sparse-but-terrifically-contagious track, Jay creates a compelling call-and-response anthem, and Guvna B brings it all home.  Definitive UK gospel – and proudly Christian to boot.

More tracks to come!

ABOUT THE ESSENTIAL UK GOSPEL TRACKLIST:

You know this anyway, but:

This is a list of songs that I’ve come across on the UK gospel scene: from the classics to brand new stuff on the street.

This includes official releases from major record labels to the latest hot track to come off a bedroom-producer’s computer.

These are songs I think you’ll play in sometime in future and find to be good examples either of the genre, or good representative(s) of their time, or – ideally – both.

This is music I like.  And – of course – you don’t have to agree with my choice.

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