Music

R&B/Hip-Hop Fresh Picks of the Week: GloRilla and Megan Thee Stallion, Khalid, J. Cole & More

The Pandora’s Box that Katt Williams opened in January isn’t closing any time soon. While Beyoncé enjoyed big wins in the country and Americana worlds, the rap game was in complete disarray the past week: Grammy-nominated “F.N.F.” rapper GloRilla dominated headlines with the release of her new Ehhthang Ehhthang mixtape which housed a new track titled “Aite” where she spits, “‘Cause Cardi and Nicki on a track would break some f–kin’ records/ Me and JT ain’t the best of friends but we ain’t beefin’.”

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While that line was intended to be unifying, it opened the floodgates for heated social media back-and-forth between GloRilla and JT of City Girls. While the exact details of the origin of their beef are unclear, in this instance, JT was upset at being name-dropped in that bar after GloRilla let rumors of her slapping the “No Bars” rapper fly unchecked. This, of course, bookmarked a weekend that began with J. Cole responding to Kendrick Lamar‘s Billboard Hot 100-topping “Like That” verse on “7 Minute Drill.” That track, which served as the final track on his surprise Might Delete Later mixtape, garnered very mixed reactions, and Cole eventually walked the whole thing back by Sunday evening (April 7) at Dreamville Fest.

“That s–t don’t sit right with my spirit,” Cole said. “That s–t disrupts my f–king peace… I want to say right now tonight, how many people think Kendrick Lamar is one of the greatest motherf–kers to ever touch a f–king microphone? Dreamville, y’all love Kendrick Lamar, correct? As do I.”

As we deal with the aftermath of Cole’s culture-quaking decision and continue to wait for Drake’s “Like That” response, there’s still so much new music to explore. With Fresh PicksBillboard aims to highlight some of the best and most interesting new sounds across R&B and hip-hop — from Fivio Foreign’s fiery new drill anthem to Bryson Tiller‘s sultry new Victoria Monét duet to J. Cole’s cross-generational link-up with Cam’ron. Be sure to check out this week’s Fresh Picks in our Spotify playlist below.

Freshest Find: The Amours & TA Thomas, “Pick Me Up”

Ahead of their new Changes EP (out April 26), sister duo The Amours team up with R&B savant TA Thomas for the gorgeous “Pick Me Up.” Forlorn guitars immediately introduce the track, with the duo trading devastating lines about the turbulent nature of growing together in a relationship. Their tight harmonies function as just another instrument in the overall arrangement, which allows for the song to maintain a conversational, back-and-forth feel despite there technically being three vocalists on the track. “You can always be yourself around me/ Caught in the middle of trust and belief,” they croon harmoniously. TA Thomas, of course, delivers a characteristically silky vocal performance that provides just enough depth to contrast with the brighter tones of The Amours.

GloRilla & Megan Thee Stallion, “Wanna Be”

Most people opened Instagram on Sunday to a two-minute clip of Megan Thee Stallion flaunting “the best a– on IG” while promoting her new GloRilla collaboration “Wanna Be.” While the clip is certainly a winner, so is the new song. Built on samples from a pair of timeless tracks — Soulja Boy‘s “Petty Boy Swag” and Project Pat‘s “Don’t Save Her” — the two Southern rap stars flaunt their independence and reject the notion of being “claimed.” With an all-star line-up of Ace Charisma, Payday, MKMentality and Yo Gotti on production duties, “Wanna Be” boasts one of the most infectious beats of the year so far. If that weren’t enough to secure its spot as a viable summer anthem, both Glorilla and Meg delivery fiery verses and an incredibly catchy, Instagram caption-ready hook, to boot.

Bryson Tiller feat. Victoria Monét, “Persuasion”

With D’Mile on production, you know you’re in for a treat. Add Victoria Monét and Bryson Tiller, and you’re in for some heat too. “Persuasion,” one of two collaborations of Bryson Tiller’s new eponymous album, is easily one of the LP’s best offerings. Across the bouncy ’90s-inspired instrumental, Bryson and Victoria trade verses where they play with enunciation and innuendo, teasing listeners with phrasing that hints at expletives before delving into something cleaner — and sneakily more nuanced. “He asked if he could grab all on my— absolutely/ I’m in no opposition so I’m gonna sit on that decision tonight,” Victoria croons. The two R&B stars have palpable verve and chemistry on this track, adding just the right amount of dynamism for an instant standout.

J. Cole feat. Cam’ron, “Ready ‘24”

J. Cole comes out of the gate guns blazing on this Might Delete Later standout, hilariously bragging about being able to pull your girl without a haircut while rocking some Crocs. Admittedly, his puffed-out chest declarations about “nobody being better” than him on the planet are hitting differently after copping a plea at Dreamville Fest and waving the white flag in his feud with Kendrick Lamar. The Barbara Mason-sampling tune uses the same lift as a Dipset classic from two decades earlier, and Cam’ron himself steps into the booth here like he hasn’t lost a step since Diplomatic Immunity dropped.

Khalid, “Please Don’t Fall In Love With Me”

It’s been a minute since Khalid led R&B conversations as he did with blockbuster hits such as 2017’s “Location” or 2019’s “Talk.” “Please Don’t Fall In Love With Me” could thrust him back into that limelight. Produced by Jason Kellner and featuring an interpolation of Alicia Keys‘ “Unthinkable (I’m Ready),” the new single finds Khalid updating his plaintive, atmospheric R&B style with some trap inflections. Pounding bass soundtracks his nimble rap-sung in the verses, while the production opens up into synthy mirage when he lifts into his falsetto in the hook. “I hope that you believe in the end that I got you/ How can I move forward when every relationship I get in/ Don’t hit the same ’cause it’s not you?” he asks. With a pen as sharp as ever and a sound that feels fresh and believable, Khalid appears to be back on track.

Doja Cat feat. Teezo Touchdown, “MASC”

Only Doja Cat can flip threats to end a relationship into a light-hearted angelic chorus. With cinematic production that sounds as if it could’ve landed on Kanye West’s Vultures, Doja aims to have her man sleeping on the couch again while revealing this love story needs a rewrite. “You gave me the d–k / Then gave the d–k without the D,” she cleverly rhymes. Teezo Touchdown steps in to play Doja’s romantic interest in the fried relationship, and attempts to win her back. “I need your time, I need your feet cuddlin’ mine,” he sings. Doja Cat and Teezo Touchdown’s rap-singing styles smoothly mesh, making for a robust collaboration between the eccentric RCA labelmates.

G-Eazy feat. Coi Leray & Kaliii, “Femme Fatale”

After taking over a year off, G-Eazy kicks off his next era by catering to the women and “sex positivity.” In his hitmaking prime, Young Gerald meticulously dished out catchy hooks and he crafts another one centered around Century Steel Band’s “Heaven and Hell Is on Earth.” Eazy invites rising female rap stars Coi Leray and Kaliii to join him at the party and Leray steals the show with a raunchy assist. “Get this p—y, get more wings and I could get him to fly/ G-Eazy want a bite and I could see in his eyes/ But slow down, don’t rush, baby, give it some time,” she raps. With an album on the way set for this fall, it’s a step in the right direction for the Bay Area rhymer looking to reclaim his hip-hop titan status.

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