Mo Sounds: Newness from Mausiki Scales, Speech, Collective Efforts, Phife, Drewe + more

Atlanta may be ground zero for trap music and all its offshoots, but don’t get it twisted: There’s a ton of hip-hop created in the ATL that doesn’t fit into such trendy categorization. As a matter of fact, a handful of soul-tinged, locally crafted rap records have dropped in past few weeks. Here’s a look at some of our favorites:

“Callaloo & Collards” — Mausiki Scales and Speech: Legendary keyboardist/bandleader Mausiki Scales (founder of the Afrobeat ensemble Common Ground Collective) teamed with Grammy-winning lyricist/bandleader Speech (founder of the iconic rap crew Arrested Development) for a funked-up hip-hop tune that celebrates both soul music and soul food. According to Scales, the song (as well as its B-side, “Blue Collards”) is designed to “honor the hearty green foodstuffs that have sustained Black communities during some very crucial years, including during the turbulence of modern times.”

“No Pressure” — Collective Efforts: After a long hiatus, the veteran Atlanta hip-hop group known as Collective Efforts is back with “No Pressure” — a melodic comeback track, powered by some fresh live instrumentation and one catchy-ass hook. The single sets the stage for a brand-new CE album, “The Long Way Home,” which drops April 22, 2022.

“Forever” — Phife Dawg: If you’re even a casual hip-hop fan, chances are you’re hip to the late Phife Dawg’s ultra-dope new album “Forever.” It’s executive produced by Atlanta’s own Rasta Root, Phife’s best friend and creative partner-in-rhyme, and features a ton of instant rap classics (such as “Residual Curioisties,” featuring ATL alumni Lyric Jones).

“Strong Friends” — Earthgang: Another soulful banger from some other Atlanta artists who need no introduction.

“A Midwest Story, Vol. 1” — Drewe: Although he’s Atlanta-based, the rising rapper named Drewe is a native of Indiana, and his debut EP — “A Midwest Story, Vol. 1” — recounts tales of his formative years and his struggles navigating new surroundings, relationships and life in post-COVID America.

“Perfect Timing” — Shane Kidd: Speaking of Atlanta transplants, Shane Kidd hails from Dallas but now calls our fair city his home — and he recently dropped the jazz-flavored track “Perfect Timing,” featuring Jordyn and R.J. Allen.