Home Read Features Rewinding May | The Best Rap, R&B & Funk

Rewinding May | The Best Rap, R&B & Funk

From Beast Coast to Wu-Tang Clan, here are my favourite releases of the month.

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Sure, you want the funk. You need the funk. You gotta have the funk. But some rap, R&B and soul never hurt either. Here are May’s finest, freakiest and funkiest releases in alphabetical order. Just click on the cover picture to find the original review page (where you can also listen to the album in full):


Beast Coast
Escape From New York

Not to be confused with California rock duo Best Coast, New York’s Beast Coast are a 10-member hip-hop supergroup collective featuring members of Flatbush Zombies, Underachievers and Pro Era. And considering the plus-sized group boasts more members than Wu-Tang Clan, their debut album Escape From New York is surprisingly tight, with 13 tracks that clock in at a lean 46 minutes — but still manage to give all the vocalists room to move without stepping on each other’s toes.


Tanika Charles
The Gumption

Tanika Charles is a graduate of the old school. That much was obvious from the Canadian soul power’s acclaimed and award-nominated 2016 debut Soul Run. For her sequel The Gumption, the Toronto-based singer-songwriter quite rightly sticks to her retro guns with another slate of authentic-sounding throwbacks to the glory days of soul, funk and R&B straight from the vaults of Motown and Stax/Volt (or for those who need a more current reference, Daptone). She’s got gumption, all right. And plenty more besides.


The Heavy
Sons

Remember that band that was on The Late Show With David Letterman that time? They did that song called How You Like Me Now? And Dave loved it so much he made them play it twice? That’s these guys. And this is their fifth set of vintage-sounding R&B, soul and funk reminiscent of James Brown, P-Funk and Prince — and arguably their most consistently strong set in years. You’ll like them just as much now as you did then.


Muito Kaballa
Everything is Broke

A German one-man band armed with plenty of talent, a slew of instruments and a looping station, Muito Kaballa made his name performing on the streets of Cologne with his customized cart. Now he’s made a debut album grounded in Afrobeat, with heavy doses of funk and jazz. More importantly, however, he sounds like an actual band, despite the fact that he does everything singlehandedly. If this is musical solitaire, he’s got a winning hand. There’s nothing here that needs fixing.


Slowthai
Nothing Great About Britain

Ascendant British rapper Tyron Frampton’s stage name supposedly comes from a childhood speech impediment. He’s certainly outgrown it on this dark, disturbing and demented debut album. Now, he’s the latest disaffected, too-smart-for-his-own-good youth taking the piss out of British society — and following in the Doc Marten prints of John Lydon, Keith Flint, The Streets and Dizzee Rascal. I dunno about Britain, but he’s clearly doing just fine, thanks.


Wu-Tang Clan
Of Mics and Men (Music From The Showtime Documentary Series)

The legendary Staten Island rap crew’s nine members are celebrating nearly three decades together — and I bet you still can’t name them all. This EP, released to coincide with their moving and informative documentary mini-series currently airing on Showtime (in case you missed all that information in the subtitle), will remind you that there icons still ain’t nothin’ to f*** wit. Even if you don’t know the difference between Gza and Rza.