For this week's edition of Don't Sleep On Me, we're proud to tell you the story of soul singer Kojo "Easy" Damptey. Born and raised in Accra, Ghana, Damptey moved to Hamilton, Ontario at the age of 17 to study chemical engineering at McMaster. It may sound like an unlikely path for a musician, but his undergrad experience allowed him to absorb all kinds of music, and he soon spent his free time creating his own. At first, this meant picking up how to play the piano, which he says led to "countless nights of practicing and watching clips of keyboardists such as Herbie Hancock, Donnie Hathaway, and Marvin Gaye." By 2007, he began collaborating with other artists in the studio, and since then, he's become a jack of all trades: music producer, songwriter, keyboardist, composer, and poet, all in one. In 2011, he was nominated for Best R&B/Soul Record of the Year at the Hamilton Music Awards for his song "Broken Promises". A year later, he released the matter-of-factly-titled The EP, and now, he's finally released his debut album, Daylight Robbery. The album features the likes of Canadian Winter, Sarah London, Lee Reed, and Tarek, and manages to fuse R&B, soul, reggae, and jazz all into one. Hit the skip to read what Damptey has to say about the album. Name: Kojo "Easy" Damptey Hometown: Hamilton, Ontario/Accra, Ghana Influences: Marvin Gaye, Curtis Mayfield, Bob Marley, Nas, Tupac, Fela Kuti, Osibisa, Stevie Wonder, Amadou and Miriam Sounds Like: "Soul music with a purpose." Latest Release: Daylight Robbery Must-Listen Tracks: "Chasing the Felon" and "In a World"
Chicago has always had a wide range of different styles when it comes to hip-hop, artists like Kanye West, Common, Paypa, Twista, Chief Keef, Lupe Fiasco and Chance The Rapper to name a few. In a city with so much culture, the broads waves of sounds coming from Chicago have an influence in today's music culture heavily, which opens to door for us all to experience the new generation of music surfacing throughout the city. Echoing throughout the city, KelFrancisco gives reassurance that the variety of great music coming from Chicago is something to be remembered and closely watched. Name: Kemett Hayes (KelFrancisco) Hometown: Chicago, Illinois Influences: All underground Chicago rappers and producers like MF Doom, Nujabes, Dilla, and Bugseed Latest Release: Too Much featuring Young Blunt & Beau Vallis Must-Listen Track: Too Much featuring Young Blunt & Beau Vallis
With its lineage of historic emcees: Nas, Big L, Rakim, Chuck D, KRS-One, Jay-Z...the list goes on; New York City has always been the Mecca of hip-hop. In recent years, there has been a considerable amount of attention surrounding New York’s resurgence. The "new" New York rap scene has sprouted artists, groups, movements, and counter-movements quickly and is still growing. Decked with vast talent and variety of style, dozens of acts with notable buzz: Flatbush Zombies, Phony Ppl, The Underachievers, Pro Era, and A$AP have given us some very impressive works of art. Perrion's latest, From Perry With Love, is no exception and serves as yet another reminder of why you should never snooze on the city that never sleeps.
Name: Perry Rodriguez (@PerryEats) Hometown: Harlem World, Uptown, New York City Influences: Everything that's fire Sounds Like: Perrion Latest Release: From Perry With Love Must-Listen Track(s): “Remedies” and “Follow Me”
Music has an extraordinary power to heal. Whether writing songs or listening to them, something indescribable about the process touches and transforms us. Just ask Saskatoon's Dayda Banks, whose very career is testament to music's power to change. The Saskatchewan emcee behind Roy Meets World experienced it firsthand nearly five years ago in a particularly low place - more on that later. Since that moment and in the process of finding his voice as an artist, he's experienced an impressive amount of success, opening for the likes of Pusha T, Fabolous, Jadakiss, Machine Gun Kelly, and R.A. the Rugged Man. Read the full feature after the jump. Name: Mitch Roy Hometown: Saskatoon, SK Influences: "I grew up listening to lots of Slug, Kanye West, Lupe Fiasco, Eminem, Hieroglyphics, Zion I, Classified, and Sweatshop Union among plenty of others. Lately I've been listening to lots of artists like Logic, Watsky, Kid Cudi, Anilyst, Kendrick Lamar, Macklemore, Sam Lachow, Mac Miller, Childish Gambino, the list goes on and on. I love the storytellers, you know?" Sounds Like: Soulful beats and honest, straightforward lyricism. Latest Release: Roy Meets World Must-Listen Track: "Bring Boots" and "Thanataphobia" Download "Bring Boots" on Dayda Banks' Roy Meets World.
One thing that is for certain; an unfortunate event always brings out something inside of you that pushes you to drive forward and motivates you in ways you couldn't imagine, which is definitely the case for Stamford, Connecticut's Sikai. With a name that is sky-rocketing in the Tri-State area, gradually gaining attention towards each coast, up north here in Canada, even spreading overseas; it's only a matter of time before he reaches that level every artist strives for and that is something I stand behind. Ups and downs have definitely been a part of the story though the determination has always been there and you get a vivid glimpse of that through Sikai's music. Peep the full feature after the jump. Hometown: Stamford, Connecticut Influences: Everything, Mase, Nas, Michael Jackson to Rock music Sounds Like: Sikai Latest Release: Painkilling: Summertime Sick Must-Listen Track: "D.R.U.G.S"