Pronounced Jah-Nay // Zhané
Release Date: February 15, 1994
Pronounced Jah-Nay is the debut album from Renée Neufville and Jean Norries, who combined their names and talents to create the iconic 90s duoe, Zhané. Earlier in their career, the two were part of the Flavor Unit including, along with Queen Latifah, OutKast, and LL Cool J. A year after releasing Roll Wit The Flava with the collective in 1993, Zhané dropped this successful project, with three songs going gold, and the album reachinggoing platinum in October 1996.
Zhané first popped up on the scene a year before this album came out with the track “Hey Mr. D.J.,” which became the defining hit of the crew. The song, which debuted on the Pronounced Jah-Nay album, is the epitome of the group’s attachment to hip-hop, with a faster pace and engaging beat.
While this aspect of their style shines through on tracks like “Changes” and “Groove Thang,” the majority of this album aims to highlight their vocal and lyrical abilities, with backseat harmonies and subtle drum beats. Through vocal dominance, strong choruses, and characteristically funky beats, “Sending My Love” and “Sweet Taste of Love” are the prime examples of this on the project. With hip-hop classics and 90s love ballads, Zhané succeeded in crafting a recognizable classic with Pronounced Jah-Nay.
Classics II // Lakim
Release Date: September 6, 2019
Out of Lynchburg, VA, Lakim has brokenpaved his way on to the electronic stage as a unique hop/hop and disco-influenced beatmaker and producer. When Soulection signed him in 2013, Lakim’s career was already set for greatness, and he became the first featured artist on the record’s White Label series. Lakim has been dropping full-length albums ever since 2014 with the release of This Is Her, but Classics II may be the best compilation of Lakim’s work to date.
The most attractive aspect of Lakim’s music is the contrast between the intricacy of his instrumentation and the simplicity and repetition of the melodies. The track “New Dae,” with deeper bass lines and monotonous melodies, provides insight into Lakim’s talent at bringing elementary electronic music to life. Through buildup, “Live from the Dorm (UMD) (feat. McClenney)” beautifully displays the complexity of Lakim’s instrumentation through the gradual introduction of all the song’s features, culminating in the climax of the whole project.
“Can’t Take” and “Nobody Else” put it all together, standing as fast-paced repetitive disco-themed with energetic drum beats and bizarre vocal incorporation. With an extensive discography, Classics II is just the latest installment of this talented beatmaker/ and producer’s impressive career.
Hasta El Cielo (Con Todo El Mundo in Dub) // Khruangbin
Genre: Alternative Rock
Release Date: July 12, 2019
To complement their 2018 album, Con Todo El Mundo, Khruangbin released a dubbed version, emphasizing the extemporized nature of the group’s sound. The three-person band, comprised of bassist Laura Lee, guitarist Mark Speer, and drummer Donald Ray “DJ” Johnson Jr., come together to create stimulatingly subtle alternative rock. With Hasta El Cielo, Khruangbin does an exceptional job of creatively rebranding songs from an already phenomenal album.
ach member of Khruangbin has an incredible ability to improvise and highlight their role and instrumentation in the band, and that is what makes the dub album so compelling. The dub of Lady and Man, “Sisters and Brothers” candidly isolates different components of the group, notably the bass riffs throughout. The foundation of Khruangbin’s work has always been the drums, and no song displays that better than “Mary Always,” — the dub of Maria También.
“A La Salsa” heavily relies on bassline and drum elements to bring the track to many satisfying high points. Along with some atypical background sounds, the percussion and bass components help lift this track to be a funkier and more engaged tune on the project. With the production of Hasta El Cielo, Khruangbin deliberately exhibits every reason why their recent releases, dubbed or not, should be heard by all.