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Heavy Rotation: Our Panel's 10 Favorite Songs Of The Year (So Far)

Hawk House may be the face of hip-hop's evolution, and we're all the better for it. (Courtesy of the artist)

Heavy Rotation is a monthly sampler of public radio hosts' favorite songs. Check out past editions here.

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DAVID GREENE, HOST:

If you're like me, you're always open to suggestions for new music, which is what we get from our project Heavy Rotation. Each month NPR Music asks public radio hosts and DJs around the country to tell us about a new song they just can't stop playing. Chris Campbell in Detroit hosts a music show. It's called the Progressive Underground on member station WDET. He says his pick is actually his favorite song of 2014 so far. The song is "Chill Pill" from a group called "Hawk House."

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "CHILL PILL")

HAWK HOUSE: (Singing) Seven billion residents of the earth - and we all go through issues in life. It's like if...

CHRIS CAMPBELL: Hawk House is a trio out of the U.K. And this particular song is just talking about what they represent - their style.

HAWK HOUSE: (Singing) These sentences are metaphors. I let them pour like it was medicine meddling with your mind, defying these petulant lies...

CAMPBELL: They're all in their early 20s - Sam, Eman and Demae. Demae is a rapper/vocalist. And they're all London natives, and to me, they're the British equivalent of the Fugees - heavily lyrical. Demae is the counterpart to Lauryn Hill in this equation. She sings and she wraps.

HAWK HOUSE: I will take the time to rewind and be still, wallow in this thrill, but we just decided to chill - chill. I can't deny we're all the same. It's stand lights and cloud-nines...

CAMPBELL: It exemplifies classic hip-hop in the traditional sense, but it also points into a new direction. It's what we call the Beast Coast movement. It had its roots in New York, but it's extended to the U.K. And it's a group of artists that are forward thinking. They infuse a lot of jazzy undertones in their production, and then they rap about the things that are substantial. It's like conscious British hip-hop.

HAWK HOUSE: (Singing) Chill. I mean, why would you hold it in when you've got stories to tell. So many lost artists stuck in your self - quick visits to my past lives archived for the things you've never seen like I writing in brail...

CAMPBELL: You know, we talk about what the fate of the hip-hop is. You know, this comes up in conversation every three or four years. The question - is hip-hop dead? 'Cause, you know, there's a lot of hip-hop that is wack out there, especially when you consider the commercial brand of hip-hop. But to me, Hawk House really exemplifies what hip-hop is all about. It takes it right back to its essence, and it gives us a nice direction of where it could be headed.

HAWK HOUSE: (Singing) So we burn the bridge. Make sure that the (unintelligible) did this. We'll find the benefits. Yeah, not until it's (unintelligible). So let me know how you feel. I won't be surprised...

GREENE: Chris Campbell - he hosts a music show at member station WDET. He was talking about the hip-hop group Hawk House. The song "Chill Pill" is off their album "A Handshake To The Brain." And you can find more Heavy Rotation pics at nprmusic.org. You're listening to MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm David Greene.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And I'm Renee Montagne. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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