londoner kwaku asante bares his soul on “worth”

Twenty-three-year-old Londoner Kwaku Asante has the voice of an angel who recognizes he’s a sinner. This kinda makes sense for a singer whose youthful vocal experiences moved between the hymnal Catholic choir and a swinging youth group that performed Frank Sinatra tunes, which he described as a “fun choir” to Worldwide FM. Heaven and Hell — so near and so far, but both alive in Asante’s voice, are present in his new single, “Worth.”

Co-produced by long-time musical colleague Tom Maudie (aka Mom Tudie) and Luke Reedman, “Worth” is a piano ballad about upliftment, with Asante testifying to the spirit of a person (parent? lover?) who believed in him enough to help him throw off the chains that bound, and freeing him up to love. It’s undoubtedly a spiritual, the song’s musical rise moving in the same direction gospel choirs do when they’re making a point: up. Yet the theme bore by the song-title — “worthy,” “unworthy” and the repeated chorus refrain, “Babe you don’t know your worth” — carries a more loaded darkness.

As with all the best art, “Worth” ain’t easy, but it is one more track that showcases Kwaku Asante as an exciting (unsigned) singing talent in South London. Watch his space. (And that of his friend, the water colorist TJ Agbo, who does all of Kwaku’s art.)

siaira shawn drops intergalactic soul groove “islands”

Insecure x AFROPUNK contest winner Siaira Shawn’s newest single “Islands” is an intergalactic groove and follow up to the equally gorgeous “Wrong Speed”. In it, Shawn paints an angsty image of someone who’s been isolated on their own private island for waaaay too long. This L.A.-based newcomer blends a magical mixture of bass and electro-soul resulting in this effortlessly sultry jam. The perfect dash of futurism and classic R&B, “Islands” is refreshingly unassuming before blooming into a gorgeous loved-up anthem. Eager to hear more from this talented lady in the future. For now, you can catch Siaira Shawn’s music on the soundtrack of HBO’s Insecure season 2!

new shabazz palaces film returns to ‘quazarz’

Though the Shabazz Palaces’ ground-breaking albums, Quazarz Vs. The Jealous Machines and Quazarz: Born on a Gangster Star are now over a year old, they continue to be a source of great creativity for America’s pre-eminent hip-hop afro-futurists, and for their Black Constellation collective.

Exhibit A is this new film by Nep Sidhu made around the Jealous Machines closer, “Quazarz on 23rd,” and a sequel to last year’s film for “Welcome To Quazarz.” According to the Toronto-based, multi-disciplinary artist, the loose narrative is about  “A Being from the Quazarz [who] rises from the Black Constellation System Scramble ® but still finds himself lost tonally and sonically amidst earth’s recent offerings. In receiving Bhai Vir Singh’s response, by way of a familiar female form, he journeys to ready himself to meet her on H.E.R. terms, by way of cleanliness, and a non-deity based ritual. Far from superstition, this is a ceremony that has no place for fake cathartic release. An indigo drenched reflection in drum awaits his understanding of himself.” Got that?

“Quazarz on 23rd” features Michael Singh (in the role of “The Soul”) and Allix Thompson (as “Mother Nature”). It includes work by Michael Reynolds (editing and analog optics); Tiona Nekkia McClodden, Noel Chaput, and Reynolds (VHS cinematography); and Alex McLeod (animation).

Exhibit B is a sculpture/pinball machine: On September 22nd, Sidhu will be unveiling new work at the grand opening of Toronto’s Museum of Contemporary Art‘s first exhibit “Believe.” For Shabazz Palaces/Black Constellation stans, among is a Palaces-inspired “Quazarz Pinball Machine w/ Leisure & Surveillance Enhancement Console” (pictured above). “Believe” is scheduled to be up through January.

future-soul singer sunni colón crafts the perfect end of summer soundtrack on ‘satin psicodelic’

I’m a sucker for the cusps of seasons. When hot summer nights recede into cool fall mornings. The latest EP from singer and songwriter Sunni Colón is the musical equivalent of the end of summer. It’s chilled out but still sizzles. It’s all satin sheets and frozen drinks. It’s the soundtrack to those hazy nights you can only remember in snapshots, but you wouldn’t have it any other way.

His sound is full of 70’s soul vibes mixed with electronic flourishes that wash in and out beneath his reverb-soaked voice. Satin Psicodelic is the sort of record whose spaced out sounds mask a world of detail and texture. It’s as much a soundtrack to summer nights on the beach as it is distant galaxies. Standouts like “Technicolor” and “Strands of the Future” highlight this duality, keeping a dream-like pulse under the satin sounds. It’s the perfect end-of-summer soundtrack.

Photo by Luke Sirimongkhon

video premiere: curvy babes get the worship they deserve in nu-soul singer harleighblu’s body positive anthem

A delicious, self-love-inspiring, body-positivity single, Nottingham funk-n-soul artist Harleighblu’s “Fluffy” is trance-inducing. An empowering ode to women of all sizes, the carnival-themed video is a deliberate celebration that chides beauty industry standards and fatphobia.
“I wanted to write a song that empowered women,” Harleighblu tells AFROPUNK. “Curvy, fluffy, beautiful women in all their glory. All sizes are beautiful but one size is definitely globally celebrated and the beauty industry is biased towards that size. My weight fluctuates, which is healthy and normal in my eyes. Sometimes I’m Fluffy, sometimes I’m a little slimmer depending! I think we should celebrate all sizes… and bigger women should be represented more in the beauty industry. This song is a romantic song about a man absolutely adoring his woman, celebrating and praising her and her curves. Telling her she is attractive, sexy and he more than loves her… just the way she is.”

“FLUFFY” Credits:
Produced By. Jay Lewn
Filmed and Edited By. Ty Healy

Photo courtesy of the artist