Sango - Da Rocinha 2 By now Sango has already made a pretty good name for himself thanks to his ability to flip tracks in a crazy way. But the most defining part of Sango’s sound is probably the heavy Brazilian influence. Earlier this year he released Da Rocinha 2 on his Bandcamp page as a follow up to 2012’s Da Rocinha. The albums are named after one of the biggest slums located in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil which is where baile funk—the music that inspired Sango—originated. Usually a beat tape wouldn’t even be considered as one of my favorite things to happen during the year, but to even categorize this as just a beat tape seems disrespectful. On Da Rocinha 2, Sango combines Brazilian samples with R&B records and layers some heavier bass, claps and drums to top it all off. The result is brilliant (just like basically everything else Sango does) and has been in heavy rotation for me since January.
Phony Ppl - "Take A Chance" Phony Ppl is a band from Brooklyn that has perfected and coined the term "Brooklyn Soul" to describe their music, because there's really nothing else that can do it justice. To be honest, anything from Phony Ppl is immediately my favorite thing as soon as it drops but since we're just talking 2014 here, their latest single "Take A Chance" is my current favorite. The bells in the beginning make it sound like it's about to a groovy Christmas song but then the bells disappear and it switches up a bit, almost fast forwarding through the seasons to find a summery vibe. In other words, if you're looking for a song that's going to sound good year round, this is it.
Chronixx - “Spirulina” Dancehall has been getting a lot of attention from new ears this year and rightfully so. Chronixx is a new young artist from Jamaica who has been making waves in the music scene for the last year. While the majority of his music tends to lean more towards reggae than dancehall, Chronixx is able to successfully go back and forth with either sound. In April, he released his debut album Dread and Terrible which featured “Spirulina”—a stand out track in my opinion. Somehow Chronixx found a way to make singing about a healthy diet sound infectious enough for me to want play on repeat, dance along to and almost consider giving up pizza. Almost!