Guest Playlist: Subculture Sage
Subculture Sage are lyricist Hypeman Sage and producer Subculture Sounds. The pair have been bubbling away on the London hip hop scene for several years and have made a name for themselves for their DIY ethic and “punk approach to hip hop”, in their own words. We’ve been digging them since their self-titled debut EP came out back in 2014. Their soulful take on hip hop was best demonstrated on mixtape Big Smoke Autumn Blues and now the London duo are back with new EP, T A K E 3 E P, released through their own imprint Twisted Heart Records.
New single ‘Drop’ is a switch up from their usual vibe, a much darker and grittier affair with layered, detuned synths rolling over a deep and hectic beat. Sage’s bars lament the alienation an increasingly hostile London brings: "Not the streets you should be scared of/More the CCTV though". Second single ‘Happy Like The Sunking’ will no doubt be a tasty summer number on the festival circuit this year and demonstrates the diversity in their production talents, while UK hip hop veteran Illaman delivers his bars with finesse.
They’ve kindly put together a killer selection of tracks that inspire and influence them, from Brazilian funk/soul legend Tim Maia to High Focus’s very own UK hip hop head Onoe Caponoe and more.
Stevie Wonder - Part Time Lover
"First and foremost it’s a fucking TUUUNE, say suttin! Lyrically Stevie has always been someone I listen to closely. His ability of exploring very interesting, in depth and often quite political and real life situations in such a (most of the time) happy and upbeat manner is something I really pick up and learn from."
Groove Armada - Paris
“Been one of my favourite songs since I can remember. It’s pure time standing still and one of the most emotive songs in my fav box. Kinda insane it’s a Groove Armada track!"
Joey Purp - Girls @ ft. Chance the Rapper
"I think musically it’s a very innovative approach to hip hop, paying homage to a distinct style of some big hip hop hits from the 90s. Joey Purp has a great voice and flow through his verses. The hook is great - it doesn’t even rhyme and I like that. Chance is one of the greatest artists I think we have in this day and age. His verse in this track is effortlessly cheeky but still so innocent somehow. He is a master of his craft, natural talent.”
LCD Soundsystem - New York I Love You But You’re Bringing Me Down
“One of my favourite bands of all the time. This song's so fragile and real. The melancholy of a city’s like a cold hug from no one. I love the way it builds and builds."
Will Dailey - Higher Education
"Not a song I thought I would normally be into but the lyrics are just genius. Just go listen to the song and try not to think about life, I challenge you. It’s nice and easy listen too, a good song for cycling around town on a sunny day.”
Tim Maia - Eu Amo Você
“I’ve been listening to Tim Maia non stop for about six months now. He’s a Brazilian artist from Rio, I think this record came out in the 70s and he was just like bossa/jazz/soul. I fucking love Latin soul music, this song is too beautiful."
Pharoahe Monch - Rapid Eye Movement
"No song in particular, I have just been re-sessioning him. He’s amazing, so unique and intelligent with his rhymes. If you haven't listened to any Pharoahe Monch in a while get yourself on to Spotify and shuffle play that shit, any track, they are all great for their own reasons."
Onoe Caponoe - Horse In The Hole
“ As far as hip hop goes (UK and beyond), I’ve always had more than just time for Onoe, always gotta put him very high on my list - we’re both huge fans! I think it’s his consistency in his approach to music and his unapologetic conviction to his art. His shit is just weird as fuck and everything visually, musically and lyrically tie into this insane psychedelic knot that is truly him! I think the man’s a visionary and it’s an abomination that more people don’t know."
Ady Suleiman - So Lost
"Great track - funky hip hop with a strong swing on it. Mr Suleiman has a great voice and I like a lot of what he’s expressing in this song. I said hip hop, this track could be R&B, I dunno, what is a genre anyway?"
Gus Harvey - Witches
“She’s a new London artist, makes real wavey jazzy neo-soul shit and she’s just one of those true artists! I actually produced this track but on the real, I’m genuinely a fan of her music and her approach to writing. Get to know!"
Wayne Snow - Rosie
"Again, another funky beat with a lot of swing sitting on those dusty drums. Reminds me of D'Angelo. I’m not quite sure how to put in words how it inspires me but I like the track a lot so it must do.”
Nick Hakim - I Don’t Know
“I’ve been bumping this song all year, I think it’s such magnificent contemporary blues with this gorgeous wavey hip hop thing about it. The speed pulls on the mid sections and the way the choruses flow always keeps this tension. Man, it’s love making music. I love this song."
T A K E 3 E P is out on 16th June 2017.
Pick up your copy here.