Underground & Black Top 10 Records of 2018

As the year comes a close there’s no denying  that there was a lot of great music that came out these past 12 months. The state of dance music is often questionable in this day, but coming across quality music that captures the true essence of the sound and culture we come from is always refreshing. The music featured in this piece is music that I held close throughout the year, and will continue to hold close moving into 2019. Black music is still as relevant as it ever was, and I feel so honored to be able to express myself through this music. As the “end of year list” antics commence, I just want to say that I’m grateful to have a platform that I can use to shine some more light on these amazing artists with. Much love and respect to those who continue to innovate and inspire!

-Ash 

#fortheculture #undergroundandblack 

1. Patrice Scott- Moments and Concepts (Sistrum Recordings)

As many of you already know, Patrice is by far my favorite producer, and 2018 saw him turn in some show stopping work. Starting out the year with a coveted release on Sounds Of The City, followed by his epic remix of Alton Miller’s “All the little things”, Moments and Concepts (below) on his Sistrum imprint, and most recently, the “Powder Fresh” EP on NYC’s Second Hand Records. This my friends, is true soulful, deep house, and I’m saying this now, “Be Free”, is the deep house track of the year- straight church vibes! Patrice has been humbly and steadily on the incline for many years now, and its time to show this man some respect! True Detroit royalty that deserves just as much shine as the rest of em. #realright

 

2. Stefan Ringer- FWM 001 (FWM)

Stefan is no stranger to the scene, and has been doing his thing in Atlanta and throughout North America for a minute now. After releasing some prized EP’s on labels like NDATL, CGI, and Argot, he decided to step up to the plate and start a label of his own. “FWM” dropped its first release by Ringer in August 2018,  and features summer  favorites like “Wanna Be Bad”, and “Southside”. All five tracks go hard, and you can’t lose with this one in your record bag or playlist. Keep an eye out for what’s next from this Atlanta staple who has proved consistent over time. #iwannabebad

 

3. Alton Miller- All Things Good EP (Waella’s Choice)

I was lucky enough to build a relationship with some of the folks behind Dimensions Festival this past year, which included Andy Lemay, who runs a called label Waella’s Choice. This is the label behind my next pick, Alton Miller’s “All Things Good EP”, which features what I like to call “grown and sexy” house. These are definitely not your peak time rave tracks, yet more so, your feet in sand, hair in the wind type of tracks. In terms of the dance floor; tracks you can two step with your lover to. “In The D” is by far my favorite, and feels like a little taste of South Africa and Detroit mixed into one. #grownfolksmusic

 

4. Waajeed- From The Dirt (Dirt Tech Reck)

Waajeed is another artist who I’ve mentioned quite frequently in the past, and rightfully so. After the success of last years “Shango EP”, he stayed busy in 2018 DJing throughout Europe, Asia, the US, and beyond. He also premiered his first live show at Good Room in Brooklyn back in May. On November 9th, Waajeed dropped his first solo, full length LP “From The Dirt” on his label Dirt Tech Reck, that includes 10 perfectly hand crafted tracks with each a style their own. According to Waajeed, Dilla’s basement in his childhood home was the birthplace for their discovery of un-quantized beats, and that its reflected in “My Fathers Rhythm”-my favorite track on the album. #strength

 

5. Steven Julien- Bloodline (Apron) 

London’s Steven Julian, aka Funkineven dropped his sophomore album “Bloodline” in April on his Apron imprint, which pays tribute to his family roots. According to Julien, his drum programming (which is extremely impressive on this release) isn’t coming from himself, but from “a long line of ancestors, that includes rhythm from tribes in Africa and natives from the Caribbean.” “Bloodline” and “IDK” are my two favorite tracks on this one, and I also want to note that I really appreciate the imagery of this album, which showcases pictures of what appear to be a young Julien and his family. In reference to music, I recognize the importance and pride in paying homage to ones roots. #rolandtr808

 

6. Kai Alce- Back in this sh!t (NDATL)

Kai Alce’s NDATL records celebrated 10 years in 2018, and what better what to celebrate than with all the amazing music that debuted on the label this year. With releases from Andres, DJ Spinna, and Alce and himself, NDATL had a pretty successful year. “Back In this Sh!t” dropped in April 2018, and I had a nice time playing these tracks everywhere from Berlin, to NYC, to Atlanta. Posted Below, “Jam Tight” is described as a “Detroit flavored burner”, and I’d have to agree. My favorite memory of this track is when I dropped it at Paloma Bar in Berlin, and DJ Amir came running up to me like “damnnn, who is this!!?” I was obliged to let him know it was our friend Kai Alce. Cheers to another 10 years of one of my favorite labels, NDATL. #lifesgoodafterasession

 

7. Ladymonix- BC I Want To (Frizner Electric)

Next up we have the debut EP from Detroit’s Ladymonix, titled “BC I Want To”, on her Frizner Electric imprint, which she also debuted this year. Its great to see fellow women out here doing their thing, and Monica made some nice moves over the year, including starting a residency at Detroit’s beloved Motor City Wine. As soon as I heard these tracks I fell in love, and they all got major play in my sets throughout the year. “BC I want to”  is “a deep and sensual body mover, anchored by empowering vocal samples that make no apologies”, and my favorite, “In Flight”, is “a soaring track that blends the energy of an evening into the power of the night.” Much love to Monica for being a continued force of the scene, and I look forward to seeing what she and Frizner Electric have in store for 2019! #bcshewantsto

 

8. K15- Be Glad You Create Anything (WotNot Music) 

K15, a man known for deepness, dropped “Be Glad You Create Anything” on WotNot Music this year, and not surprisingly, sold out quickly. As Juno nicely puts it, “Be Glad You Create Anything”, is “a sparkling, mid-tempo shuffler that wraps darting, Kaidi Tatham style jazz-funk synth motifs around loose and languid beats and a suitably warm and attractive bassline.” “Communion”, my favorite track on the EP, was included in my June episode of “Underground and Black”, and was received with open arms. This is another person who has stayed consistent over the years, and I’m always looking forward to what next. #createanything

 

9. Kaidi Tatham- In my Life (2000 Black) 

After releasing his incredible LP “Its A World Before You”, on First Word Records back in June, Kaidi Tatham returned to 2000black, with the EP “In my Life”. “Freddie Can’t Run Away”, is a nice fusion track, and showcases the true creativity of his artistry. “But You Bring It Up” is a warm jazzy track that features vocals from Nadine Charles . The EP covers everything from jazz, to boogie, to funk and was definitely a necessary purchase this year!   #inmylife

 

10. Wbeeza- The OD EP (Troy Town) 

I’ve been a big fan of Wbeeza’s for a while now, and was so excited to learn he was dropping a new record after a 3 year hiatus. He is revered as a 1st generation pioneer of what has become affectionately known as the “Peckham Sound”. The 3 track EP features a mix of sounds from Techno, to Deep House, to Bounce. My favorite of the 3, “Bizzle Boogie”, is a “equal parts gritty, Midwest-influenced bounce track.” I included this track in my Truants mix, and it got more than a few ID request’s! #southlondon

Author: ashlauryn

ASH LAURYN is a DJ and party promoter hailing from Detroit, MI who is currently based in Atlanta, GA. ASH specializes in underground dance music, and says most of her influence stems from her roots back home in Detroit. As an active member of the dance music community for over a decade, ASH hosts her own event series called ORBIT, and is currently a resident DJ with Atlanta’s Deep South crew.

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