New Music Friday: The Catch-Up Edition
As you might have noticed, I have not posted a New Music Friday post in a while. I was swamped with projects for grad school. It is extremely hard to blog every week, be a full-time student, and work. Nonetheless, I am back to bring you all the details on new music releases. Because I’ve missed a handful of Fridays, I’m going to share all the new music that has dropped over the past month that I think you should add to your playlists.
Alina Baraz – Buzzin’ & Lavender and Velvet
After releasing her EP Urban Flora in 2015, Alina Baraz got on the map in the R&B world. The sultry lead single “Fantasy” from the EP is still one of my favorites two years later. In October, the Ohio native dropped two new songs, “Buzzin” & “Lavender and Velvet,” for her fans and music lovers. “Buzzin” floats over a Ben Billions-produced beat with Baraz singing effortlessly. With lyrics like “Going overboard / I don’t wanna stop now / You just struck a chord / Spinning me around / It’s the energy / It’s the chemistry,” Alina hypnotizes listeners with her smooth and flawless voice.
“Lavender and Velvet” is just as hypnotizing and sexy as “Buzzin.” The Jonathan Elkaer-produced track finds Baraz singing about endless and unconditional love she feels and wants to give to her lover. “You’re the honey whiskey / I”m getting kinda tipsy / You know all the things I like,” Baraz swoons. “Lavender, velvet / Yeah, you got me melting / You know what is on my mind.”
Hopefully the new music means there is a follow-up to Urban Flora coming soon. Until then, enjoy Alina Baraz’s two new mesmerizing gems.
Sabrina Claudio – About Time
Sabrina Claudio has been one of my favorite artists since I discovered her music on YouTube. She released her sensual and sexy debut EP Confidently Lost earlier this year that I still play almost every day. She blessed my soul and dropped her debut mixtape About Time. From start-to-finish, Claudio slays. From infectious beats to spell-binding lyrics, the ten-track project is like a calm before and after the storm. Claudio’s voice is so soothing, it is hard not to get lost in her music. Tracks such as “Stand Still,” “Frozen,” and “Wanna Know” showcase exactly why Sabrina Claudio is an artist to watch.
Kehlani has been very quiet on releasing new music since her debut album SweetSexySavage dropped in January. But, in October, she revealed a brand-new track called “Honey.” The stripped down acoustic track finds the Oakland native spewing her thoughts on her attraction to women. “I like my girls just like I like my honey, sweet/ A little selfish/ I like my women like I like my money, green/ A little jealous,” Kehlani sings. “Honey” is sweet and irresistible just like the substance. Kehlani is continuing her reign and I’m not mad at it.
Since his last EP UPPERS+DOWNERS vol. I in 2015, Travis Garland has been kind of quiet. He has been doing amazing covers on YouTube but as a die-hard fan of his, I’ve been desperate for some new music. Finally, in October, he released a new single “Curvin’ Everybody” and I must say, it was definitely worth the wait. The suave slow track finds Garland singing over a heavy bassline about curving all the girls for the one he really wants. “Catching all these feelings / Hoping that I’m not alone,” Garland sings. “Never needed the attention / Girl it’s always gonna come / Fucking all of these bitches is cool / But I’m only tryna fuck with you / I be out here curvin’ everybody.” If you haven’t heard his music, it’s time you familiarize yourself.
dvsn delivered sensual, vintage R&B with their debut album SEPT. 5TH. The Canadian duo, made up of singer Daniel Daley and producer Nineteen85, does the exact same thing in their follow-up album Morning After. The 13-track project is packed with classic R&B productions. In many ways, you’ll feel like you’ve watched a movie while listening to the album. Stand out tracks “Mood,” “P.O.V.,” and “Conversations in a Diner” show why dvsn sets the mood for lovers and friends. Morning After has a song for every end of the love spectrum.
I first heard of Marc E. Bassy while he was in the boy band 2AM Club. His voice always stood out to me. His debut album, Gossip Columns, proves why it did. The 16-track LP from the Bay Area native is packed with star-studded features like YG, Kehlani, and G-Eazy while the productions are handled by the likes of Nic Nac, Sounwave, and James Alex Hau. Marc E. Bassy shines in tracks such as “Made Love First,” “Don’t Let Her Go,” and “Westside Love.” He has shown that he is much stronger as a solo artist.
Snoh Aalegra is another artist that needs to be on your radar. She delivers all the FEELS with her full-length debut. The 13-track LP is a collection of soulful music over antique vibes with a modern twist. Aelegra floats from track-to-track with her powerful voice. It’s hard to describe what great of a singer she is. Take a listen to “Fool for You,” “Time,” or “Like I Used Too” to get an idea of what she has to offer. Snoh Aalegra is making her way to becoming a R&B mainstay.
Over the past couple of years, Jessie Ware has made a name for herself with her two previously released albums Devotion and Tough Love. But neither album truly saw her shine as an artist like Glasshouse does. The 14-track album is magic. Jessie Ware sings in a way that she never has before. Her vocals are simply ear-warming and pure from the beginning of the album until the end. With Glasshouse, Ware is emotional in a way that connects with listeners that she has not done before. “Love to Love,” “First Time,” and “Hearts” are some of the tracks where she easily makes you fall in love with her. Jessie Ware captured my heart with this album. It is her best yet. It’s powerful, bold, and polished. Glasshouse is easily one of the best albums of 2017.
H.E.R. has been taking the world by storm for months now. I don’t know if it’s the mystery of not knowing exactly who she is or her lyrics but she is killing the R&B game right now. She blessed her fans and music lovers with H.E.R., Vol 2 – The B Sides only a few months after releasing H.E.R., Vol 2. The six-track EP features “Best Part,” her stunning collaboration with Daniel Caesar from his album Freudian, and new tracks from the Vallejo, California native. Tracks such as “Free,” “Let Me In,” and “Rather Be” finds H.E.R. being vulnerable and swooning about relationship woes. She can do no wrong in my book. H.E.R. is another artist to watch out for. She could easily take your fav’s crown.
Guwop is not playing games. He has consistently dropped new projects over the past year. Each one gets better and better. His new album, Mr. Davis, is some of his best body of work. On the 17-track LP, Gucci Mane raps about the trials, tribulations, and triumphs of his life over the past few years. We have heard a lot from Guwop since his return but none is as stripped down and honest as Mr. Davis is. Songs like “Work in Progress” and “Changed” showcase how much Gucci Mane has grown as a man and as an artist. But make no mistake, with tracks such as “I Get the Bag” and “Enormous” Guwop still drops bars and gives us good songs to party to. The Atlanta rapper can only go up from here.
Ty Dolla $ign is slept on. Between him writing lyrics for hits like “Loyal” and “FourFiveSeconds” and lending his vocals on some many tracks, the South Central Los Angeles native is putting in work. His sophomore album, Beach House 3, shows why he shouldn’t be forgotten about. The 20-track LP features a bomb list of other great artists like The-Dream, Jeremih, and YG. What makes Beach House 3 a great body of work are the samples from songs like “Only You” by 112 (“Ex”) and “I Can Love You” by Mary J. Blidge (“Love You Better”). Stand out tracks “In Ya Phone,” “All the Time,” and “Dawsin’s Breek” is where Ty Dolla $ign shines the best. Beach House 3 is a combination of his hip-hop, R&B, and pop strengths. The album may have a summertime title but you can bump it even in colder months.
You may know Shaun Ross as being the first male albino model. Now, he is adding singer to his resume. The 26-year-old Bronx native released his debut single “Symmetry” earlier this month. The single, which was produced and co-written by Brook D’Leau, is a silky R&B track that displays Ross’s smooth vocals and songwriting skills. “Just like a diamond / Trapped in stone / Apply the pressure,” Ross sings. “Release my glow / There is something in my soul / You can feel but never know.” If “Symmetry” is a peak into what is forthcoming from Shaun Ross, we are in for a treat.
I thought Sam Smith could not bring another body of work as solid and heart-wrenching as In the Lonely Hour. He proved me wrong with his follow-up album The Thrill of It All. It picks up right where In the Lonely Hour left off. Sam Smith spills his heart out over fourteen tracks. His spectacular voice leads the way with songs like “Scars,” “Nothing Left for You,” and “No Peace” that every person listening can relate to. Sam Smith’s openness about his love life is what works for him. It makes him a true artist and human. The Thrill of It All is bound to have you in your feelings so go ahead and get a bottle of wine while listening to it.
Over the past few months, PARTYNEXTDOOR has dropped track after track. “More Than Friends” is probably my favorite thus far. With the help of Tory Lanez, PND sings about being more than friends with someone, a feeling that most of us all know too well. “I know, time is tickin’, want my mind blown / I cannot forget it, girl, you’re my only / I need you to get it / I want you to be more than my homie,” PND sings. Tory Lanez steps in and kills his verse. “I’m a dog, I’m a freak,” Lanez sings. “Come fuck with me, I’ll beat that pussy / W-E-T / Tell your friends I’m not your homie / I’m not trying to be.” PARTYNEXTDOOR and Torey Lanez have not said whether or not they are working on a full-length project. After this collaboration, I definitely think they should.
N.E.R.D has not released any new music since their last album Nothing in 2010. The trio is back and decided to drop some heat featuring Rihanna. “Lemon” is signature N.E.R.D. It’s packed with glitchy samples, beady synths, and drum machine kicks. Pharrell showcases his improved rap and writing skills. “You keep askin’ me where I’m from / About the borders and, ‘Did I run,’” Pharrell raps. “Keep askin’ how I feel ‘bout guns / There’s a light and dark army, which side you choose?” Rihanna lends her vocals and murders her lines with her trademark sassy style. “Lemon” is a great comeback single for N.E.R.D. It’s a peak into their new album No_One Ever Really Dies, which is already looking to be another hit by the group.
I never thought I’d hear Nicki Minaj and Cardi B on the same track. Somehow, Migos was able to get the both of them and it is everything. “MotorSport” is the lead single off of Migos’ new album Culture 2. Migos starts the track off with their continuation of the foundation laid out in Culture. Cardi B comes in and steals the show. “Yeah, Cardi B, I’m back, bitches / I don’t wanna hear I’m actin’ different,” Cardi raps. “Same lips that be talkin’ ‘bout me / Is the same lips that be ass kissin’ / These hoes ain’t, what they say they are / And their pussy stank, they’re catfishin.” Nicki Minaj showcases her skills, proving just why she has been running the game for the past couple of years. “You bitches catchin’ a fade, shout out my nigga Lil Boosie / All of your friends’ll be dead, you can get hit with that Uzi / I call him Ricky, he say he love me like Lucy / Get you a straw nigga, you know this pussy is juicy,” Nicki raps. “Motor Sport” is by far my favorite collaboration of the year. It shows that this whole thing of their only been one “queen” of rap is subjective. It’s room for success from all female rappers.
My man Chris Brown did what most cannot or refuse to do. He released an album with 45 tracks. It is hard to describe how great Heartbreak on a Full Moon is. It gives me early Chris Brown days with a mature sound. Listeners are taken on a journey through Chris Brown’s life. From sex to drugs to heartbreak, he sings effortlessly. There are so many tracks that you cannot just have a few standouts. They all are great. Chris Brown is growing and maturing in his life and you can hear it in Heartbreak on a Full Moon. Say what you want about him, but the man is still and will always be one of the best to ever do it.
After falling in love with H.E.R., I am convinced not revealing your identity is the best thing an artist can do. A new artist, who goes by H.I.M., is adapting to the same concept that H.E.R. has laid out for her fans as a way to respond to the music she has put out. Although H.E.R. does not agree with the way H.I.M. is presenting himself, he has easily become a favorite of mine. He takes a twist on H.E.R.’s songs and puts a male perspective on it. This gives two sides of great music. H.I.M. has released several songs in response and decided to put them all on his album H.I.M. (Her in Mind). The 21-track LP features all of the songs from H.I.M.’s SoundCloud account with a few new songs. Tracks like “Worst Part,” “Gone Away,” and “Secure” make the album worth listening to. I think H.E.R. should be flattered that her success has inspired an artist to create something similar to hers. If the two of them either did a collaboration together, I am sure they would kill it.
6LACK re-released his debut album with three new tracks. The tracks, “Glock Six,” “In Between” featuring BANKS, and “One Way” featuring T-Pain, are hypnotic and soulful. “Glock Six” features a moody, atmospheric instrumental while 6LACK croons. “No need to state the obvi’, I be close to your heart / I know you looking for real love,” 6LACK sings. “I got my hand on my Glock, posted on the block / I might just let off a shot, at anyone tryin’ to kill love.” 6LACK continues entrancing listeners with “In Between” as he and BANKS sing about love. “One Way” is the track where 6LACK lets loose a little. “You might have to catch a plane for this / You gon’ have to say my name for this / ‘Cause usually, I don’t do no flying out / But something feel different this time,” 6LACK sings. T-Pain lends his vocals, making the track that much more seductive. The re-release of his debut album FREE 6LACK with the three new songs is exactly why 6LACK is a gem. He is changing the R&B game, which is what the genre needs right now.
Miguel is one week away from releasing his fourth studio album War & Leisure. To keep listeners on their toes, Miguel released two tracks from the album: “Pineapple Skies” and “Told You So.” Over a funky beat, Miguel soars to great heights in “Pineapple Skies.” He sings, “Are these trees high enough, baby? / Leave us so high, your feet won’t touch the ground / Would you look up, baby? / It’s pineapple purple skies / I promise everything gon’ be alright.” The track was inspired by the current political climate, Miguel explained in an interview. He continues his political stance with “Told You So.” In the video, there are political scenes are intermixed and highlighted, including protests, images of Martin Luther King Jr. and Donald Trump. “Told You So” is a rhythmic jam with underlying meaning. “I don’t wanna control you / I can set you free / Just come with me,” Miguel coos. He’s definitely not talking to his lover, as the visuals reflect something different. Miguel is using his artistic platform for political commentary while still serenading fans. With War & Leisure being released next week, I am excited to hear what Miguel has been working on.
While scrolling through videos on YouTube, I stumbled across Kiana Ledé. I was impressed with her song “One of Them Days” and quickly became a fan with her new single “Fairplay.” The Phoenix, Arizona native may be best known for her role as Zoe Vaughn on MTV’s Scream, but the actress has also been building up her musical resume for some time now. “Fairplay” is an upbeat, in-your-face track about her ex who never thought karma would come back on him. “Tell me why you mad / Tell me why you hurt / Bet you didn’t think that the tables would turn,” Ledé sings. Later she asks her ex, “how you like that karma?” If Kiana Ledé continues to expand her music repertoire, she is going to be an artist to look out for.
Jidenna surprised his fans and dropped Boomerang, a six-track EP and mini follow-up to his debut album The Chief. The project features four new tracks with two remixes to his hits songs “Bambi” and “Little Bit More.” Boomerang is filed with reggae and tropical productions while Jidenna swoons listners with his soothing voice. The title track, “Boomerang,” and my personal favorite of the whole EP, is a response to his hit single “Classic Man.” Jidenna is a great artist because he creates great music with parts of his Nigerian roots. He may not be at the top of the charts but he is well on his way to getting there. Boomerang is only a small taste of what Jidenna has to offer.
Jessie J is all about empowerment and making people feel great in their own skin. Her single “Queen” does just that. The DJ Camper-produced track is an anthem strictly for the ladies. It is all about women saying, “fuck you” to anyone who give unrealistic expectations of what beauty is. “The world says beauty is changing / Fuck that it’s fake expectation, of the real shit,” Jessie J sings over a bass-heavy, R&B production. The vocal powerhouse wants women to embrace who they truly are. “I love my body / I love my skin / I am a goddess / I am a queen,” Jessie J repeats. I have been Jessie J stan from the beginning. “Queen” proves why I love her so much. Her new album R.O.S.E. is sounding like her best work yet and I am so excited. Jessie J is finally becoming an artist, not just a pop star.
Get into these songs and albums, if you haven’t already. They are worth listening to over and over again. With only a few weeks left in the year, I am sure 2017 will continue to bless us with more bomb new music until 2018 arrives.
Every song and album is now available to stream and purchase on Spotify and Apple Music.