R&B/Hip-Hop Fresh Picks of the Week: JELEEL!, Kirby, BLK ODYSSY & More
Happy Monday! We’ve got ten fresh new tracks to get you pumped for (and help you survive) the new week ahead. From steamy singles by Phabo, BLK ODYSSY and Taylor Belle to uptempo anthems from JELEEL! and tobi lou, this week’s column has everything you need and more.
And of course, don’t forget to share the wealth with our Spotify playlist, linked below.
Freshest Find: JELEEL!, “COME HERE!”
JELEEL!’s energy is undeniable. The Rhode Island rapper has a knack for stage diving and doing back flips at his shows. His hyper attitude is also reflected in his music, as he’s found a pocket rapping over glitchy, chaotic beats to get his bars off. “COME HERE!” is one of the more cohesive tracks from his recent debut album REAL RAW!, where he spits about attracting women and his fast and furious cars.
Phabo is on a mission when he’s in the sheets. His steamy, neo-soul new single is inspired by the freaky activities that often follow indulging in the titular popular tequila brand. The San Diego-born singer even practices his Spanish on the track, singing “Casamigos reposado/ Nos tiene comportando salvajemente (got us behaving wildly).”
BLK ODYSSY, “ODEE”
BLK ODYSSY oozes confidence on his spacey new single “ODEE.” The Austin-based artist sings about his extravagant lifestyle to impress women, saying his wrist and drip are “odee.”
OhGeesy feat. Bino Rideaux & 03 Greedo, “Games”
OhGeesy and his boo are “connected like a Bluetooth.” The L.A. rapper teams up with Bino Rideaux and 03 Greedo to rap about not playing games in a relationship and wanting to be held down by their shorties. Laced with spaced-out 808s, L.A. bounce sounds and bed creaks, “Games” is a mix of trap R&B with a West Coast flare.
Danielle Ponder, “Roll the Credits”
Emotion is at the forefront of Danielle Ponder’s new single “Roll the Credits.” “[The] song [is] about spirituality in all of its forms and our ability to find God in all things if we are paying attention,” writes Ponder in a press release. The singer takes to San Juan, Puerto Rico for the song’s video, where she channels nature’s spirits, letting her old-school, bluesy vocals ring in the forest and city streets alike.
Latir, “To My Dear Anxiety (Acoustic Demo)”
In the most stripped-back and vulnerable moment of his EP Daydreams & Desires, Latir writes to his own anxiety. Thickly layered reverb surrounds the poetic singer’s voice and guitar, as he unfolds sweet falsettos and belts filled with desperation. The deep cut presents his raw talent, invoking emotion throughout its three minutes.
Taylor Belle, “SAY MY NAME”
On “Say My Name,” Taylor Belle taps into nostalgia, with a camcorder-style visual and Destiny’s Child song title. But there’s nothing dated about the singer’s flow and production, presenting a sensual single that feels both current and classic.
tobi lou, “Sorry I’m Late”
Nigeria-born, Chicago-raised artist tobi lou has garnered significant buzz thanks to his hyperactive sound and playful energy. “Sorry I’m Late” is no exception, as the rapper delivers a single that’s perfectly chaotic for all of our summer shenanigans.
Kirby feat. Rapsody, “Eve Gene”
“Black woman/ Unprotected in this world/ Is she loved, is she treasured, is she hurt?” On “Eve Gene,” Memphis singer-songwriter Kirby eloquently unravels the power and pain of her identity, adding on social media that the track helped her heal, and she hopes it does the same for her listeners. “I hope my non poc friends & family listen to this song and are reminded to hold space for the black women in their lives,” she adds. Featuring neo-soul production elements and a raw verse from revered MC Rapsody, the cut carries a vital message and is essential listening for the week and beyond.
kwes. feat. Sampha & Tirzah, “Open Up”
The critically acclaimed U.K. film Rye Lane not only boasted a captivating storyline, but an equally striking soundtrack. On “Open Up,” musical savants Sampha and Tirzah team up, their complimentary tones and lyrics intertwining to capture the heartwarming humanity of the Raine Allen Miller-directed film.
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