Welcome back to the Odd Side, a column that explores the effects of Hip Hop’s transformation through different sounds. This week, we’ll be taking you back through time, without taking you back that far. There’s several times in music where we have heard a reincarnation of classic music through a modern artist. When Raphael Saadiq released The Way I See It in 2008, it brought back the nostalgia of 1960s soul through a new musical frame, but don’t think he’s the only person to do it. This week, we’ll showcase a few artists/producers who have created their sounds off of the sounds of the past.
Although this French producer released critically acclaimed project, Chinoiseries, a beat tape inspired by Asian culture and J Dilla beats, Onra’s 2010 project Long Distance was the album that captured my ears and made me a fan. Long Distance was a journey through late 80s and early 90s R&B hip hop, creating echoed beats perfect for the late night ride. One of the project’s highlights, “High Hopes”, sampled the SOS Band classic of the same name, making a a groovy dance cut with sensational vocals by Reggie B. Long Distance was a nostalgic project that hasn’t aged a bit, and we hope to hear more music from Onra in the near-future.
Touchsoul is a production duo from the UK that makes soulful edits and remixes to a wide range of music from the 60s to the 90s. Their edits are unique, recreating classics into a new blend of deep house music with classic soul music. One of their most beloved tracks has to be the remix of Aretha Franklin’s “Every Girl”. The mix tones down Aretha’s singing a bit, but highlights the instrumentals for an upbeat dance groove.
When you get done listening to Leon Bridges, you’ll get the feeling that the dude stepped out of a time machine to bless your soundcloud with one song before he went back to his decade. This Fort Worth Texas singer goes into song with only his voice and a guitar, and his results are at the very least beautiful. Although Bridges have only two songs on Soundcloud to date, expect to see more of his music take you back to the days of Motown and the oldies.
Mizan’s sound may not be as intentionally nostalgic as the other artists recommended, but don’t get the game fooled. This New York based singer’s smooth vocals and instrumentals is a reincarnation of R&B artists like Sade, Maxwell, even a little Erykah Badu mized in. With so many artists reaching for the high note, Mizan takes the cool approach to give us music that hasn’t touch our ears since those in the 90s. Mizan may have a brief catalogue, but expect more once her EP Dark Blue Pt. 2 comes out.