Raised between France and the Côte d'Ivoire, Onra always hits the spot when it comes to silkily smooth soulful R&B. A purveyor of beats that are ripe for late city nights, he made his full-length debut in 2007 with the Far East inspired sounds of 'Chinoiseries'.
Ever since then, his chopped-up R&B laden beats have effortlessly mastered throwback trends of the moment and given listeners a perfect sense of hip hop nostalgia. He has also worked with some of the biggest names in the game; ranging from Slum Village's T3 on high octane funk track After Hours and loved up jawn The One, through to collaborations with Olivier Daysoul, Chuck Inglish, and Black Milk on 'Fundamentals'. Honing in further on his penchant for nostalgia, Onra also established 'Throw'Em Up' with Lexis. Focusing on the early '90s blend of R&B, hip hop, and new jack swing – their partnership is named after the way people used to dance in every single video from 1993 to 1996: waving both hands in the air, nonchalantly.
One of his first performances since dropping 'Fundamentals' last year on All City, the Prince of Parisian hip-hop is bringing his worldly beats to North London’s incredible Islington Assembly Hall on Thursday, April 21st with support from Rita Maia and everybody's favourite party DJ, Martelo. In the run up to his show, Onra got on board to revisit the golden age of hip-hop and share some of the best '90s R&B tracks that always get the crowd moving when he plays a Throw'Em Up set.
In Onra's own words:
"Throw'Em Up is a term invented by Lexis and myself to best describe this particular kind of '90s R&B, most notably post the new jack swing (post-1992) and pre-Jiggy era (pre-1997). It was also called hip hop/R'n'B, but this term doesn't really mean anything these days and is not specific enough. Throw'Em Up refers to that popular dance move that goes along with this music, that's just how we used to dance to this – waving both our hands in the air nonchalantly. This is a quick list off the top of my head, 'cause there're a million tracks that could have been called 'the best'. For more about this genre, go to Throw'Em Up and download our mixes."
Check Onra's feelgood selections below and listen seamlessly via our YouTube playlist.
G. Simone feat. KRS-One Music For The '90s
Onra: "Like the title suggests, a super classic Throw'em Up track right here."
Aaliyah Back And Forth (Mr. Lee & R. Kelly Remix)
Onra: "The first track I ever played in a club and the first time I played a vinyl, and that was in Ivory Coast in 1994. I was only 13 and the DJ just let me play my favourite song at that time but I fucked up cause I unintentionally played the Mr. Lee and R Kelly remix from on the B-side! [Laughs] It's very similar to the original, though. One of the most famous Throw'Em Up tracks for sure, but it will always be special to me."
JR Swinga Chocolate City
Onra: "Another classic that I love so much. There's so much vibe in this song and the production is top notch. Just look at the official video for some proper Throw'Em Up dance moves."
Onra: "She only had one single, but I think it could have been one of those anthems. It has that ill West Coast Vibe and the vocals are off the hook."
Onra: "Same sample as A Tribe Called Quest's Bonita Applebum. I love the summertime vibe, there really ain't no music like this anymore."
Lori Gold I Likes It (Donker Remix)
Onra: "Ultra classic as well, I think this track is really underrated. Anthem status."
Carl Henry Crazy Love
Onra: "Canadian singer…he really didn't have a successful career but this track is the JAM."
Leschea How We Stay
Onra: "Classic sample used, it has that Mary J Blige vibe with the hard drums. It's always a club banger when we play our Throw'em Up set with Lexis."
Kreuz Party All Night (Flava Remix)
Onra: "UK R&B! London had a lot of dope R&B bands back in the days. Kreuz is definitely one of my favourites and this remix is just too ill."
Tha Truth feat. Erick Sermon Red Lights (Double Smoov Mix)
Onra: "Part of why we love this kind of music is the obscure remixes that you can only find on 12" or CD singles – some of them by notorious names like Erick Sermon for example, or Marley Marl, Allstar, etc… This track is a good example of how well R&B and hip hop mixed at that time."
Listen to Onra's selections via our YouTube playlist.