The New York-based, Singapore-bred Slodown is adept at conjuring resolute moods that are now familiar territory in modern R&B. His newest single ‘Ample Fruit’, released on Dec 18, is powered by warped sounds and twinkly synth-pads courtesy of producer WY Huang (guest mix).
‘Ample Fruit’ caps off a slew of singles from the artist, who has kept himself busy despite a year like 2020. It arrives at the kind of hushed intimacy that harks back to older soul records, and it’s no surprise that Slodown himself is a seasoned student of the classics.
But instead of handing in a laundry list of the usual suspects for this 10 Tracks, Slodown highlights a handful of lesser-known delights, while schooling us with the talents he believes will come to define the genre in the years (or even months) to come. Of course, there’s also D’Angelo. No discussion of R&B and soul can omit that name.
Piero Umiliani - ‘Ricordandoti’
I know very little about this guy. It’s something Spotify algorithms fed to me. But like it’s in the wheelhouse of something - I’ve been listening to a lot of movie scores recently just because I love films as well. There’s always something about how movie scores can conduct and play with your emotions without needing words or lyrics. At the core of it, that’s something I try to do with my music - to conjure certain emotions. So for me, I feel like movie scores are a really good place to get inspired by.
Mustafa - ‘Air Forces’
This guy has only two songs out right now and are similar in “vibes” but I was immediately drawn to this guy because he wears his identity on his sleeves. He’s not shy to have Muslim symbolism and references in his work and he uses that - he just speaks his truth. The nature of the content is familiar in a sense that it’s still street tales that we may be more familiar with, almost doing this folk/R&B thing while still drawing so much from his heritage. That’s something I try to do with my own Asian culture and heritage.
D'Angelo - ‘Send It On’
That’s my favourite D’Angelo song, and probably my favourite song of all time. That’s my most-played song ever. I’m never not in the mood to listen to this song. It’s probably the kind of vibe that inspired me to make music the most. The feeling that I got from this song was something I wanted to create with my music.
Xavier Omär - ‘FIND ME.’
I found Xavier Omar on Soundcloud, never even knew how he looked like. No photos up. But that song ‘Blind Man’, I was like “Shit!” I think now he’s finally gotten bigger - I wouldn’t say he’s mainstream but he has at least come out of that. There’s a phase to his music now.
Jae Stephens - ‘Emergency’
I found out about her from Xavier Omar, she was featured in one of his singles. She’s a new LA artist and her shit is all upbeat and dancey, and somehow it feels really fresh. I wouldn’t be sure to call it R&B but it’s fresh to me. I’m a bit bored - to me, the sound of R&B has become so mainstream that PARTYNEXTDOOR almost sounds like it could be on the same playlist as an Ariana Grande playlist now. There’s still the new Ty Dollar Sign album, it’s still done very well, but I’m always more excited by fresher takes on R&B that retains the genre’s soulfulness.
Lucky Daye - ‘Love You Too Much’
Lucky Daye, he’s blowing up, and he’s probably going to be mainstream soon. He’s blowing up in the States, but he’s also super talented, and his sound is fresh and different from the regular landscape of R&B right now.
Shelley FKA DRAM - ‘Sweet VA Breeze’
Love when Shelley gets on his soulful shit, especially when it’s in that old school vein like that.
Benny The Butcher - ‘Trade It All’
Been really enjoying this Benny the Butcher album — gives me the same feeling classic rap albums like The Infamous and Only Built for Cuban Linx used to give me.
The Fuzz - ‘I Love You for All Seasons’
It just puts you in a good mood. Every time summer hits New York, that’s the song I go back to. It’s another vibe I’m trying to recreate with my more summery songs. There’s a certain thing about it - I don’t know if it’s the “old” quality of the music, or the vocals - but it’s just so warm and soulful. It’s a blanket statement lah but a lot of new music nowadays is made to be played in the clubs or parties. There isn’t a lot of new music - aside from a few, like from Lucky Daye, a lot of old music was meant to be played outdoors, like if you want to have a picnic at a park. This is one of those songs that puts you in that mood.
Donald Byrd & Booker Little - ‘Quiet Temple’
This is like my shit I pour whiskey and chainsmoke cigarettes to during the winter. It gets me to an emo place, but not a bad kind of emo. To me, this song - way back I’ve always wanted to move to New York as a kid, even before I ever seen New York, this song felt like New York to me. When I hear this song, I think of movies like Taxi Driver, like old New York. It’s a special sign for me.