Both sons of ’70s funk musicians, it’s no wonder that Topaz Jones and producer Leven Kali channeled artists like George Clinton and Maurice White on Jones’ upcoming album Arcade. That said, through some subtly inventive drum sounds and quick-witted verses, Jones brings classic bass lines and synth tones into a brand new context. His second single of the summer, “Powerball,” alludes more heavily to the “future funk” sound that will likely tie together Arcade but provides an equally danceable sequel to the more ’90s R&B-esque “Tropicana.”
Even though Jones takes funk to a new place with the sleek, detailed production of “Powerball,” the struggle that the New York-based artist hints at in his latest track is all too familiar. (“I graduate and all they gave me was a piece of paper, no good job, no goodbye, not even see you later” — where’s the lie?) And as Jones introduces Janelle Monae-like elements to the song through its infectious chorus, the artist finds a middle ground with which to tie together his vintage influences and, vivid story-telling and ultramodern flow. Listen below.