The music industry is often focused on the “next big thing” or finding the sound of the future, but its also important not to forget the roots of hip-hop. And I’m not just talking about Run DMC or Grand Master Flash, rather rhythm and blues of the early 20th century. Without the influence of blues, hip-hop, and almost every other genre for that matter, certainly would not be the same. Singer ZZ Ward pays tribute to hip-hop’s roots with standout selection Lil Darlin, a smooth bluesy cut which is sure to give you goosebumps. Ward’s powerful vocals, that command your attention from the jump, are backed by a dusty instrumentation courtesy of The O’My’s and production from Chicago’s Blended Babies, whose hip-hop influence serves as the icing on an already scrumptious slice of cake. Want more of the blues? Check out Ward’s Til The Casket Drops, which was released back in October via Hollywood Records.