First Listen: Sandie Black, The Hour, Jack Light, Rax | New Music

FIRST LISTEN is SoulCulture’s new weekly review slot dedicated to fresh, independent talent we’ve never featured before. Put your music forward for consideration by submitting links to a track or video plus information to, and we’ll highlight a few of our favourites each week in this segment – check out our new selections below…

Toronto, Canada based singer Ayah shot us an email last week urging us to listen to Sandie Black‘s premiere track “Gotta Get Free” and from the second I pressed play I’ve had the song on loop! This new indie group’s members individual identities are currently shrouded in mystery, but we do know the eclectic collective is composed of established artists from Toronto (lord knows what they are putting in the water in Toronto!). Well whoever these purveyors of this audio crack are… they have a new customer in me. Take a hit of “Gotta Get Free” below and get addicted too. [–@Versetti]

Sandie Black Tumblr

I really don’t know much about The Hour, but given that he’s chosen to black out his own face in every photo, that’s probably the way that he wants it. There’s just four relatively short tracks on his YouTube page, along with the promise of a mixtape, but what’s there is enough. Sure, there’s definite hints of The Weeknd and SBTRKT, but this is promising stuff – atmospheric and interesting. Honestly, I could live without the manufactured mystery too, mainly because it seems to have become a part of every new artist’s marketing plan, but I’m being churlish. This could be great. [–@DJDeeKay]

The Hour – “Temple”:

Inspired by listening to the likes of Hip Hop greats Dr Dre, Run DMC and LL Cool through his childhood and most influenced by Eminem, Asher Roth, Devlin and Kanye West, 17 year old London rapper Jack Light has been rapping for four years. Having featured on tracks with Roll Deep member Rico Dan, Light is currently signed to independent UK label Slaughterhouse Riddims and caught my ear when he recently dropped a video for “Hokkien,” produced by SNK. A potential diamond in the ruff, Light’s cheeky flow and animated delivery make for a memorable newcomer I’m curious to hear more from and watch him develop. [–@RealDownToMars]

Jack Light – “Hokkien”:

The year 2012 already seems promising for 21 year old London rapper Rax, who, if his hustle is anything to go by, will be amongst the thick of the best emerging acts this year. With a rough-yet-charismatic flow at his disposal, Rax’s demolition of Pharrell Williams‘ “Can I Have It Like That” was one of the standout moments of his Black Crook Project campaign and it’s hard not to see why. Tackling the drone heavy beat without hesitation, Rax’s 3 minute verse is confident and raw. Check it out below. [–@Henryx85]

Independent/Unsigned Artists: Put your music forward for First Listen consideration by submitting links to a track or video plus information to firstlisten [at], we’ll highlight a few that catch our ear each week.

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