I don't know much about De La Soul. Throw me to the wolves. Feed me to the lions. Make me walk the plank. I was all of two-and-a-half years old when their debut record dropped and my Fisher Price player only played, like, "Camptown Races" and "Hickory Dickory Dock." My point is, I involuntarily missed the whole wave—sue me—so what drew me to even listening to their new track "Drawn" (hear it below) earlier this week was the tacked-on mention of featured guests Little Dragon who, naturally, my millennial ass loves.
So if the super-dreamy "Drawn" (seriously, the simultaneous string-strumming and keys make for one whimsical ass track) will serve as my introduction to the alt-hip-hop trio from Long Island, then let it (and these four other guest appearances) also serve as your introduction to the synth-soul-pop foursome from Sweden.
If you credited Little Dragon for helping launch SBTRKT into stardom, you wouldn’t be wrong; it was their assistance on "Wildfire," a single off his self-titled debut album, that made the track a crossover hit. It’s no easy task to hold your own over the producer-DJs grossly unapologetic globs of rumbly and robotic bass, but frontwoman Yukimi Nagano manages to do so, and playfully at that.
Mac Miller's "The Festival"
Much like De La Soul, Mac Miller left the heavy lifting to Little Dragon when he recruited them for the closer to his GO:OD AM album. After speedily spitting for no more than 60 seconds over a plucky bounce, Nagano takes over for the remainder of the song and, despite its zig-zagging synths, helps in solidifying it as a slow-moving, ethereal night rider.
Mac Miller wasn’t the only one who found Little Dragon worthy and capable of carrying a closer. Electro DJ Kaytranada employed them just the same earlier this year on his debut album 99.9%. On "Bullets," Nagano hypnotizes over a house beat full of blunted drums and hurried hi-hats. A deep bass line turns the funk up and though she’s lilting over lounge music, she's still wishing for world peace.
Flume, "Take a Chance"
It takes over two minutes for the beat to drop on Flume's Skin track "Take a Chance," and that's only okay because it's Nagano who basically casts a spell on you, or coos you a lullaby depending on how you look at it, until then. Her vocal versatility is on display here, first backed by the intro's blissful key-changing soft synths and then again, post-breakdown, when Flume remixes the beat for her into something more stark and stuttering.
De La Soul, "Drawn"