“Platinum without features” are four words that J. Cole made his own, becoming the rare hip-hop superstar in the 2010s to put huge numbers on the board with projects that often avoided big guest stars. The North Carolina MC seemed to take the same approach with the highly anticipated LP The off-season, revealing a tracklist with zero other verified artists … but the album slyly deploys other contributors, from Cam’ron’s intro on “95 South” to Lil Baby’s contemplative coda on “Pride is the Devil ”to Diddy’s heartfelt prayer on“ Let go of my hand ”. Of course, Cole’s fascinating use of language and personal revelation – especially regarding fatherhood – remains the main draw on The off-season, a feature film that adds to the legend of its creator.
Nicki Minaj, Beam Me Up Scotty
Before Pink friday, countless radio hits and monumental strides for women in popular hip-hop, Nicki Minaj was a die-hard mixtape star, a rising young MC of Young Money, and one of Lil Wayne’s most promising proteges. Hip-hop obsessives loved his 2009 mixtape Beam Me Up Scotty for over a decade, and now the project has finally hit streaming services – with a new team Lil Wayne-Drake, “Seeing Green,” as well as all the beloved mid-2000s hip-hop samples. intact, including ‘Donk’ redesign on fan favorite ‘Itty Bitty Piggy’.
Olivia Rodrigo, “good 4 u”
Ready for a change? Olivia Rodrigo certainly is, after having conquered the Hot 100 with the “Driving license” and exploited a similar thematic and sound territory with the follow-up of “Deja Vu”. Before his release Sour album later this month, however, Rodrigo shakes up his aesthetic on “good 4 u,” an incredibly fun pop-punk surge that toast the days of the Warped Tour of yore; the sound is reminiscent of Paramore, but the lyrical acidity and attention to detail can be directly related to Reputation, from Rodrigo’s (and new friend) idol Taylor Swift.
Migos, “Straightenin ‘”
When Migos released its Culture II album in early 2018, the rap trio had completed a five-year hyper-productivity streak that also made them stars; it was inevitable that Quavo, Takeoff, and Offset would need a moment to breathe after that, dropping out solo projects and slipping in as occasional guest stars. “Straightenin ‘” cheats on their comeback before the long awaited Culture 3, and presents a refreshed triumvirate – nimble on the mic after time away from him, throwing wacky metaphors (“Tasmanian devil, we’re spinning on your block!” shouts Offset) as quickly as they did when they did. ascent.
Katy Perry, “electric”
If you’re wondering why Katy Perry’s new music video features the pop star singing alongside a CGI Pikachu, that’s understandable – but the new single, released to celebrate Pokemon’s 25th anniversary, dares you to imagine. that “there’s no reason this life can’t be electric,” even in a world without cuddly battle monsters. Perry, less than a year away from her Smile album, offers here a more major uprising, with a chorus reminiscent of some of his Prism cuts.
Saint Vincent, daddy’s house
Throughout her career, Annie Clark has focused her writing as St. Vincent on worlds outside her own and her production on the future, resulting in acclaimed albums filled with vividly-drawn characters interacting in eye-catching musical landscapes. As a personal reflection on family ties inspired by 70s pop-rock, daddy’s house represents a departure from that long-standing approach – but luckily Clark’s song construction hasn’t suffered at all, with lush jams like “Down and Out Downtown” and “Live In The Dream” inviting the listener to get lost in a new magnificent environment.
Jorja Smith, I’ll be right back
“It’s not an album and those songs wouldn’t have made it,” British singer-songwriter Jorja Smith said of her new eight-song project in a press release. “If I needed to make these songs, then someone needs to hear them too.” I’ll be right back may be a milestone for the R&B star and former Grammy-nominated Best New Artist, but these 25 minutes contain a deeply sumptuous composition: the title track “Addicted” leans on Smith’s crisp ear for hooks, while that “Bussdown” with Shaybo captures a textured hip-hop emotion and refuses to let go.
Skrillex feat. Swae Lee & Siiickbrain, “Too Bizarre”
In the first 30 seconds of the music video for Skrillex’s new single “Too Bizarre,” the EDM brain picks up an electric guitar and finds a rumbling line, her long hair brushing her face. The image is reminiscent of her debut in the post-hardcore outfit From First To Last, but also nods to the melting pot of her sound right now: once focused on rolling out dance hymns to festival crowds, Skrillex is now giving Rae Sremmurd star Swae Lee a chance to play as a rock hero with a clean, uncluttered piece of guitar production.