Dive into SOULECTION
Get ahead of Spotify’s algorithm with Hummingbird’s Music Feeder, a bi-monthly dose of invigorating and soul-pleasing tunes
With this Feeder, we feature a smooth album from Elujay & J.Robb, some words from Heart Bones, and new releases from Greentea Peng, Fire in Little Africa, and Young M.A. Make sure to subscribe, forward, or share if you’re enjoying the music!
Elujay & J.Robb — GEMS IN THE CORNERSTONE
With elements of R&B, soul, hip-hop, and lo-fi, GEMS IN THE CORNERSTONE might be the most widely likable album we’ve written about in this newsletter thus far. With Elujay’s baby-powder vocals and J.Robb’s funky basslines and futuristic styles, this album is one of 2020’s best and a strong introduction to each artist.
Released Dec. 3, the album flew under the radar for many — but not for longtime fans of SOULECTION, a producer-driven label with a roster deeper than the 2019 Washington Nationals. J.Robb, a longtime SOULECTION standout, has been putting out some of the most innovative hip-hop and R&B production over the past half decade. With two installments of Monetary Purposes under his belt, GEMS IN THE CORNERSTONE does well to build on what are largely instrumental efforts.
The addition of Elujay’s soulful vocals is helpful to hook listeners that can’t be bothered by the game’s best instrumentals. And Elujay’s been building important work in his own right, with a pair of impressive albums Adojio and Jentrify and notable collaborators including Saba and Still Woozy.
That said, GEMS IN THE CORNERSTONE eclipses any project these artists created solo. The floating melodies and cheeky lyrics of “SWING THRU” give way to heavenly vocals from J.Robb’s Play Nice friend, Zilo, on “WASTING MY TIME.”
Part of what makes the album so easily replayable is its sequencing —there are no big jumps in mood or BPM that could fuck with the album’s effortless flow. The album’s caboose is “LADY,” traced by a high-pitched vocal sample and plenty of ornaments, most notably rhythmic bed frame-creaking sounds that go perfectly with Kyle Dion’s romantic lyrics: “Steamy like a wet towel, wet, soaky / Ain't talkin' 'bout your shower head (Talkin' 'bout your shower head) / Talking 'bout when you are all up in my bed.”
GEMS IN THE CORNERSTONE should be your go-to album when you’re telling friends about how this newsletter is consistent with providing interesting, ear-opening music. Use it as a reason to stay tuned to Elujay and J.Robb as much as you do with Hummingbird ;)
Hear from Hummingbird’s Nest: Deetranada
Almost a year ago, we had the chance to speak with Deetranada, the undeniably talented Baltimore rapper. Check the rest of the interview here.
How did you settle on a name for the project?
Deetranada: I always felt like it was me vs. everybody. I’m only 18, but I seen, been through (and done) a lot of shit that would mess with your head over time. For a while I felt unwanted and that I couldn’t talk to anybody. So growing up my mind split into different people, and last year I felt like even THEY weren’t on my side anymore, so I came up with “DEEvsEVERYBODY!” I had the name floating in my head since 2017, but I kept scrapping the album because I wanted it to be PERFECT. I wanted to perfectly embody the feeling of thinking everybody is against you.
What do you hope people learn about you from DEEvsEVERYBODY?
That they favorite artists have demons too. Everybody has demons. It just depends on if you want to fight them or fight with them. Throughout the first part of the album, it’s me trying to fight everything and everybody because I’m not happy with myself. As the album goes on, I become more aware of myself and my surroundings. And then finally making peace with my demons and deciding to work along with them and use them to my advantage. I hope my album inspires everybody — Black youth in particular to break generational curses and be open about what they feel and what they want to do with their lives.
Tune In: Best Drops of the Past Few Weeks
Greentea Peng ~ MAN MADE
Following a strong Rising EP that showed hints of a deep, thoughtful artist inspired by the likes of Lauryn Hill and Erykah Badu, MAN MADE is Greentea Peng’s moment in the sun, an effusive introduction to her value-driven philosophy and desire to inspire those around her. On “This Sound,” Peng describes MAN MADE as physical, metaphysical, mystical, sensual, literal, plentiful, alchemical, and medicinal. Peng is correct on all counts.
Fire in Little Africa ~ Fire in Little Africa
Dedicated to the many victims of the burning of Black Wall Street in Tulsa, Oklahoma in 1921, Fire in Little Africa sees many Tulsa artists come together for an impressive and eclectic concept album. Learn more about the album, tragedy, and more on their website.
Gonzo & Beez ~ Prove (feat. Keagan)
Mixing R&B and rap, these three share the difficulties of trying to make it as a recording artist. While they sound weathered, each shares their deep talent with dexterous flows and thoughtful lyrics.
Young M.A. ~ Off the Yak
Fans of drill and trap music are missing out if they don’t realize Young M.A.’s talent. There’s plenty more where “OOOUUU” came from on Off the Yak, one of the hardest-hitting albums of the year thus far.
goodtree ~ If I Ever Was a Child
goodtree’s debut song is a cover of Wilco’s “If I Ever Was a Child.” It serves as a gentle introduction to an exciting young folk band.
Muwosi ~ Of Compassion
A bite-sized EP at three songs and seven minutes, Muwosi flexes her playful vocals and light melodies. Look out for our next Feeder for an interview with Muwosi herself!
Too often in popular music, vocals can get in the way of talented instrumentalists strutting their stuff. Named after the avian vocal organ that plays an important role in understanding hummingbird song production, this playlist is dedicated to musicians that are verbose and effusive without saying a single word.
Audiophiles are having a party in the streets with the news of lossless audio coming to streaming services this summer. Apple announced Apple Music is bringing industry-leading sound quality to subscribers with the addition of Spatial Audio with support for Dolby Atmos.
While Tidal has been offering lossless audio for some years now, it’s great to hear that other companies won’t be sacrificing audio quality any longer.