The Bold and the Bootyful - 2004's top RnB, Soul and Hip Hop

2006-07-14 15:59
 

And hey, there's so much out there. It's almost certain we've missed a thing or two. If we have, post a message below and we'll be sure to try do something about your favourite artist on MWEB next year.

Note: because the borders between RnB/Soul and mainstream radio pop are so blurred, some of the artists that you might expect to find here may appear under Pop. Sometimes it's hard to work out where things fit. (If you're interested, check out our pick of 2004's best pop CDs.)

Anyhow: here are the albums WE think every RnB, Soul and Hip Hop fan needs in their collections. CDs are arranged in reverse order of release - that's oldest last!

Alicia Keys - The Diary of Alicia Keys
Just how do you follow-up your 5-Grammy winning debut without merely re-hashing its impassioned neo-soul formula? Well, if you're Alicia Keys then you colour your signature urban contemporary canvas with a bewitching array of old school soul sketches, of course. Bittersweet bedroom ballads and intimate grooves.
- Review and sound clips
- Buy it

Aretha Franklin - So Damn Happy
When Aretha reaches high up into those upper registers or delivers an impromptu scat it's impossible not to be seduced by the sheer beauty of her soul. So Damn Happy is far more a stellar return to form, proof that when it comes to soul singers Aretha Franklin remains the standard.
- Review and sound clips
- Buy it

Nana - Five Loaves and Two Fish
Like the five loaves and two fish that the Bible tells us Jesus used to feed the 5000, Nana's debut will feed you with her funky, bountiful soul.
- Review and sound clips
- Buy it

Godessa - Spillage
Like Brasse Vannie Kaap, Max Normal and others on the SA Scene, Godessa are part of the something-to-say hip hop scene, not the bling bling (c)rap crowd. They rhyme in proudly South African, Cape Flats accents. Their progressive and rich musical style is fresh, fun, feminine, designed to set your mind ablaze.
- Review and sound clips

Beastie Boys - To the 5 Boroughs
Imagine three middle aged, middle class Jewish guys from Manhattan rapping old school rhymes over the kind of heavily sampled break beats that went out of fashion at least five years ago. Sounds pathetic, right? Wrong. "To the 5 Boroughs" is a brilliant return to form.
- Review and sound clips
- Buy it

340ml - Moving
Dub flavoured, soul flavoured, relaxed but funky, melancholic at times but never depressing, these three boys with their cool names (their vocalist is called Pedro Da Silvo Pinto!) float with slightly goofed smiles in their voices through 17 delicious African-tinged tracks.
- Review and sound clips
- Buy it

Second2Last - Babble-on
"Original man never needed bling!" - this lyric from Babble-on sums up the spirit of the shiny music by this trendy new outfit. Every now and again, someone pushes the musical boundaries and bursts up with something really beautiful. Second2Last have done this on Babble-on, their second album.
- Review and sound clips
- Buy it

Slum Village - Detroit Deli
Laid back Detroit locals T3 and Elzhi blend the soulful sounds of Motown with perfectly pitched rap to create a mouth-watering selection of cuts that casual fans and hip-hop regulars will gobble up with equal enthusiasm.
- Review and sound clips
- Buy it

MXO - Peace of Mind
MXO has the killer musical gift - a really deep, textured but velvety voice. He's also blessed with a real pan-African accent. He's made a very cool summer album that's exotic but African, chilled but danceable.
- Review and sound clips
- Buy it

Mandoza + Danny K
Not just two of the cutest dudes on our music scene, also two guys with serious hitmaking talent that gets clubbers of all races, creeds, colours and musical persuasions onto the dancefloor, shaking it. An almost edible, very punchy combo of Mandoza's Kwaito and Danny K's Soul.
- Review and sound clips
- Buy it
(review to follow soon)


RnB, Soul and Hip Hop - it's a big, big world. Eclectic, opinionated, sexy and sometimes confusing. R n B, Soul and Hip Hop is the arena in which South African artists are making their mark, both here and overseas.

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