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Following up 'The Power of Same', the first single off 14KT's new project, featuring Muhsinah, and remixed by Kaidi Tatham, 'For My Sanity' is a "freedom project", an album rooted in free creation, without being tied down by bars, patterns, scenes, and sequences. The intention behind this long-player is clearly stated all throughout the 12 tracks: releasing the angst of the current climate we are facing through collective artistic means.

"I made all the music really late at night after my day-to-day work, as an escape from "what I normally do". Paired with the everyday struggles of being an artist, it was very stressful hearing about so many deaths––especially due to law enforcement. Making "For My Sanity" was how I was trying to find peace of mind every night so I could go to sleep." says 14KT.

The themes of the album sway gracefully from personal philosophies and creeds, to burning social matters and celebration of the importance of family and genuine, fruitful friendships. If we were to classify this in a genre, we would say For My Sanity is a jazz record, at its core, but elements of hip hop, soul, r'n'b and latin music are easily recognisable and at home on the album.

"I challenged myself to create a jazz album, primarily using Native Instruments Maschine. 85% of the album was created on there. The rest was my amazing friends and myself playing instruments." KT continues.

'For My Sanity' features an array of fellow visionaries - Jimetta Rose, Masego, Mark de Clive-Lowe, Muhsinah, James Poyser, Stro Elliot, Rasheeda Ali, Farnell Newton, Kris Johnson, Magestik Legend –– who help deliver the message and further relay the essence of what the album stands for.

The journey of this release is a story in itself, as the primary thought wasn't for it to be released, especially with a label. But when this landed in DJ Gilla's inbox, and then shared with the First Word team, it was clear that the music was right up First Word's street.


Following on from the recent single release on First Word Records, Don Leisure laces us with an all-new 17-track album of beats, 'Halal Cool J'.

Probably best known as 50% of Darkhouse Family, along with Melange label boss Earl Jeffers, they released their acclaimed debut album 'The Offering' in 2017 and subsequent remix project last year, featuring DJ Spinna, Kaidi Tatham and more. The duo are coolly establishing themselves as Cardiff's very own Mizell Brothers, recently producing Kamaal William's latest work, featuring on Kutmah's recent Izwid compilation, and collaborating on the Chicago x London project 'Where We Come From', featuring Makaya McCraven, Joe Armon-Jones, Nubya Garcia, Theon Cross and First Word label-mate Quiet Dawn, amongst others.

'Halal Cool J' appeared originally in early 2017 with 'An Ottoman Excursion' on First Word's sister-label, Excursions - a series of edits born out of a decade-long love of Turkish music & various record-digging expeditions.

In Don's words: "I got into Turkish music around about 2006 when Egon (ex-Stones Throw) put out a Turkish Funk podcast showcasing artists like Baris Manco, Erkin Koray & Selda. The musical rabbit hole led me to discover re-releases on labels like Finders Keepers, and I've been hooked ever since. It's hard to find original pressings of Turkish music in the UK, so when my cousin landed a job in Istanbul, it was the perfect opportunity to make a bunch of trips there, armed with a portable turntable, hunting for dusty records.

After my first visit, I formed a relationship with Deform Records owner, Ozan. He invited me back to play a few times at Arkoada, in the the Asian side of the Kadikoy district in Istanbul, DJing in the same neighbourhood the original Turkish psych legends would've hung out and performed in, back in the 1970s.

The influence of western artists fused with fuzzed-out traditional instruments and themes is something I'm still amazed by to this day, and I'm always discovering amazing Turkish records that refuel my love for this sound. Following 'The Offering' album launch at Brilliant Corners in London, I went to Istanbul at 6am the next day for another record dig. Most of the discoveries I bagged are incorporated in this new album".

Back in 2017, Don Leisure also introduced us to 'Shaboo' - a beat album inspired largely by Don's Bollywood actor Uncle, Nasser 'Shaboo' Bharwani, and by memories of journey's with headphones hurling out Hip Hop, fused with the sonics of his Mum's interruptions, and her favourite Asian radio station. 'Shaboo' featured in several end-of-year album lists, with Piccadilly Records calling it "the best album of it's kind since Dilla's 'Donuts'. Unmissable."

The return of Don Leisure, with an EP of beats that see his two alter-egos go head-to-head, 'Shaboo vs Halal Cool J'. Probably best known as 50% of Darkhouse Family, along with Melange label boss Earl Jeffers, they released their acclaimed debut album 'The Offering' in 2017 and subsequent remix project last year, featuring DJ Spinna, Kaidi Tatham and more. The duo are coolly establishing themselves as Cardiff's very own Mizell Brothers, recently producing Kamaal William's latest work, featuring on Kutmah's recent Izwid compilation, and collaborating on the Chicago x London project 'Where We Come From', featuring Makaya McCraven, Joe Armon-Jones, Nubiya Garcia, Theon Cross and First Word label-mate Quiet Dawn, amongst others.

'Halal Cool J' appeared originally in early 2017 with 'An Ottoman Excursion' on our sister-label, Excursions. A series of edits born out of a decade-long love of Turkish music, and some record-digging expeditions in Istanbul, something Don Leisure did the very day after 'The Offering' release party, prompting another series of beats. Ahead of an all-new full-length Halal Cool J album, here we have two tracks to give you a taste, 'Kazakh Honey' and 'Kaymak'.

'Shaboo Strikes Back' on the flip-side, with a track of the same name, and 'Mango Season'. 'Shaboo' was the name of a beat album that came out on First Word in 2017, inspired largely by Don's Bollywood actor Uncle, Nasser 'Shaboo' Bharwani, and by memories of journey's with headphones hurling out Hip Hop, fused with the sonics of his Mum's interruptions, and her favourite Asian radio station. 'Shaboo' featured in several end-of-year album lists, with Piccadilly Records calling it "the best album of it's kind since Dilla's 'Donuts'. Unmissable."

Both prior projects got love from DJs and selectors far & wide, including Tom Ravenscroft, Lefto, Huey Morgan, Rob Da Bank, Om Unit, Simbad & Mr Thing. A truly global affair, the beat battle of 'Shaboo vs Halal Cool J' takes us on several short, sweet hikes across a variety of Eastern climes.


First Word Records are thrilled to announce a brand new addition to the label – LA beatmaker and producer 14KT.

Known for his deft, soulful hip hop production, KT has broadened his palate for his FW debut to create 'For My Sanity', the first offering from his jazz-influenced project IAMABEENIE.

The album will be released in early 2019, but we couldn't wait that long to share this taster of what 14KT created as a form of escaping from his "normal" ways of making music. Case in point: the first single taken from the project – 'The Power of Same' feat. Muhsinah.

Strongly rooted in KT's spiritual practice, 'The Power of Same' is a bass and synth-heavy ode to consistency and unconditional love, laced nicely together by his signature drum lines, harmonious guitar riffs (played on the track by Stro Elliot) and the unmistakable sound of James Poyser (The Roots). Vocal powerhouse Muhsinah adds layers of emotion via her endearing delivery of the core message, and, deep in the background you can hear KT sharing a very personal routine with us all - giving thanks to God.

How much of a personal project this is, in 14KT's words? "This was inspired by a bible study plan I was reading called The Power of Same. It spoke about the power of being consistent in our lives. I thought about how consistently God's love and my family's love have gotten me through my journey of life. Once I made a "skeleton" of the song, I reached out to the brother James Poyser who I was extremely blessed to work with. My brother Stro Elliot was living right down the street from me at the time. One night he walked over to my house, I played the record for him, he picked up my electric guitar and played the first thing that came to mind - which was perfect. I played the record for my brother Tall Black Guy, who suggested I reach out to Muhsinah to add vocals. I sent the record to her and two days later she sent me exactly what you hear. Amazing. That was definitely the spirit of God working. Huge shout out to my Playlist family. Love y'all."

To date, 14KT has released seven solo albums, as well as his collaborative hip hop album, 'Takin' Ls' with emcee Ozay Moore, R&B/soul album, 'Saturn Return' with singer/songwriter AB, and 'The Big Knock', together with Mayer Hawthorne as Jaded Incorporated.

Last year saw another duo collaboration album with Michigan rapper Ro Spit, entitled 'RSXGLD', a project held in high regard by the global hip hop community.14KT is also part of Jazzy Jeff's Playlist Retreat, alongside our very own Eric Lau, Tall Black Guy and Kaidi Tatham, who also turns out an unmistakably dope remix on this 7" single.

A very warm welcome to the family, KT!

Yazmin Lacey emerged onto the new jazz scene with her beautiful sound, her new release When the Sun Dips 90 Degrees is on First Word Records.The EP follows on from her two recent singles, '90 Degrees' and 'Something My Heart Trusts', both of which are included here, along with three previously unreleased tracks, 'Heaven', 'Body Needs Healing' and 'Burn & Rise'. This set illustrates again Yazmin's candid songwriting delivered in her uniquely laidback soulful style, whilst a glorious fusion of neo-soul and jazz performed by Pete Beardsworth and her trusty band rides throughout. Initially a Brownswood 'Future Bubbler' graduate, Yazmin self-released her debut EP, 'Black Moon', last year. This lead to a Maida Vale session late 2017 with Jordan Rakei, Moses Boyd, Oscar Jerome and now label-mates, Children of Zeus. She kicked off the year with a performance at the Worldwide Awards with Skinny Pelembe, and has recently done shows with artists such as Ezra Collective, Tall Black Guy and Fatima. Yazmin has a UK tour scheduled for later in the year, as well as several festival appearances across Europe locked in. There's a lot more to come from this Notts-based Londoner yet. In Yazmin's words: "'90 Degrees' is about that time of the day / night when there's a shift in pace and energy. When you decide to lock off from the 'outside' world and create your own atmosphere, take some time to give thanks for what's breathing love into your life and smoke off the fuckeries. Everyone needs a little routine for self preservation."


STAFF COMMENTS

Millie says: Beautifully warm vocals layered on top of relaxed neo-soul vibes and jazz elements has created this perfect sound that I’ve fallen in love with.

It's been a long road leading to this album for Tyler Daley and Konny Kon.

They first embarked on their expedition into the music game two decades back - Tyler entered the scene as a songwriter, producer and vocalist, originally under the moniker Hoodman, whilst Konny began MCing, DJing and beat-making for hip hop crews The Microdisiacs and Broke'n'£nglish, along with DRS & Strategy.

To date, Children of Zeus have released three sell-out singles on First Word ('Still Standing', 'I Can't Wait' and 'Slow Down') and a compilation EP comprised of tracks made by the duo over the last decade entitled 'The Story So Far…'.

Children of Zeus are finally at the stage where they are releasing their debut album proper; the over-riding ethos of which is about keeping their eyes on the road ahead, whilst shedding the baggage they've accumulated over the years - 'Travel Light'.

Features mainly come from Manny family; [ K S R ], LayFullStop, Metrodome (Levelz) and former Broke 'n' £nglish spar DRS. Guest production comes in the form of Switzerland's Sebb Bash, Nottingham's Juga-Naut, and London's Beat Butcha, and there's your favourite DJ's favourite DJ,

Mr Thing, slicing up the turntables on two tracks too. There's a few extra special ingredients on this album, along with their trademark sub-heavy, rhodes-laden hip hop soul hybrid. Reggae music has always been an integral piece of the CoZ sound-system ethic, so we see Tyler putting on his lover's rock hat for 'Hard Work', and they invite soul queen Terri Walker to join them on the fierce 'Sling Shot Riddim', while the album closes with the epic K15-produced jazz-bruk opus, 'Vibrations', on which Konny breaks it down quite simply: "high frequency means that you travel light, so get lifted yo, we'll live gifted".

Long as the journey has been, the time for looking back is over. This is about the present and future of Children of Zeus. A shining light in Manchester's now-school, and rightly heralded by many as the best new act to emerge in British soul music in the past decade. Aside from the above features, this project is written, performed and produced entirely by Tyler and Konny. Since the crew first took flight, the end destination has never changed, the aim remains the same - to create timeless music, in their own unique style, without compromise, irrespective of industry and life distractions. The moral being this - travel light.

STAFF COMMENTS

Matt says: Are Children Of Zeus the most important thing to happen to Northwest hip-hop for the last ten years? Sorry, inabit everyone else! A homecoming triumph for these superstars...


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