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The Chicago MC MICK JENKINS named his 2018 album Pieces of a Man after Gil Scott Heron’s 1971 masterpiece, and the reference is both boldly ambitious and apt. Jenkins has been praised since early in his career for his nuanced wordplay and heady approach to addressing weighty subject matter, and his sophomore full length effort brings this aspect of his work to the forefront. Okayplayer called the record “one of the best rap releases to come out last year;” it marks the full emergence of one of the most interesting voices in hip hop.
Brooklyn’s LEIKELI47, whose uplifting lyrics tackle “the trials and triumphs of her home and the resilience of black womanhood,” (Pitchfork) co-headlines this quadruple bill of forward-looking hip hop and soul. Her 2018 record Acrylic, the follow-up to her 2017 debut Wash & Set, has marked the mysterious MC/singer/producer as a rising creative force to be reckoned with.
Born in Holland and raised in L.A., the singer/producer LEVEN KALI comes across “like a mix of Anderson .Paak and Bruno Mars” (XXL). A handful of high-profile collaborations—including features on tracks by Drake and Playboi Carti—have him on a fast track.
JOY POSTELL, and emerging voice out of Baltimore, “artfully blends jazz, soul, and R&B into an intoxicating, freeform swirl of sounds and instrumentation” (Fader) on her debut record, the politically charged Diaspora.