Music

R&B/Hip-Hop Fresh Picks of the Week: Coco Jones, Baby Money, Ravyn Lenae, 4batz & More

It might be May now, but the Great Rap War of 2024 feels like it’s finally really getting going. It’s been an acrimonious week for two hip-hop’s biggest titans, with Drake and Kendrick Lamar committing to the mudslinging over the course of an EP’s worth of new music.

From K. Dot’s blistering “Euphoria” to his immediately anthemic “Not Like Us” — and who can forget the bone-chillingly incisive “Meet the Grahams” and “6:16 in LA” — the Compton MC has been bringing the heat with each new song. Drake, to his credit, has also been throwing some major punches, from the explosive “Family Matters” to the searing, yet defensive, “The Heart Part 6.”

Of course, the other big story to rock the R&B and hip-hop worlds this weekend was the shocking last-minute cancellation of Lovers & Friends. On Friday night (May 3), the festival’s organizers announced that the jam-packed one-day-only show would be called off due to high wind warnings from the National Weather Service.

With Fresh PicksBillboard aims to highlight some of the best and most interesting new sounds across R&B and hip-hop — from Skylar Simone’s radio-ready debut single to Hunxho‘s latest ATL anthem. Be sure to check out this week’s Fresh Picks in our Spotify playlist below.

Freshest Find: Ravyn Lenae, “Love Me Not”

In 2022, Ravyn Lenae enraptured music heads with Hypnos, her impressive debut LP. With the first tastes of her forthcoming sophomore studio album, Lenae is laying the groundwork for her mainstream commercial breakthrough. “Love Is Blind” serves up more of the ethereal R&B that grounded Hypnos, but “Love Me Not” signals a slick pivot into a rollicking guitar-packed pop-facing sound that evokes longtime collaborator Steve Lacy and his runaway Billboard Hot 100 smash, “Bad Habit.” “Soon as you leave me, we always lose connection/ It’s gettin’ messy, I think that your affection/ Don’t loosen your grip, got a hold on me/ Now, forever, let’s get back together,” she sweetly croons, cycling through a relationship that clearly relishes its built-in road bumps.

Baby Money, “Shinin”

Baby Money is a breath of fresh air and another shooting star out of Detroit’s bubbling rap scene. “Shinin” arrives just a week ahead of the rapper’s H.I.M. (Hustle In Me) project as Baby looks to make right on his promise to Quality Control as the famed label’s first signee out of the D. The 26-year-old flexes the badge of honor and pressure that comes with ending generational curses as his family’s first millionaire. He then recalls a street tale preaching what goes around comes around as one can never fully detach from street life. “He got a body as a kid and tried to leave the streets/ They caught his ass years later like Keefe D,” Money candidly raps while referencing Keefe D’s arrest for murdering 2Pac well over two decades later. We don’t recommend boiling your icy diamond chains on the stove like he does in the “Shinin” music video though.

Coco Jones, “Here We Go (Uh Oh)”

2023 marked a landmark year for Coco Jones. From her first Grammy win to a chart-topping hit in “ICU,” Jones has quickly ascended to some of contemporary R&B’s most towering heights. For the first offering from her new forthcoming LP, the Disney alumna opts to double down on her smoky tone, delivering a track that’s rooted in the raspy storytelling of Jazmine Sullivan. “I was rollin’ in his bed, you was rent free in my head/ I thought I was done with that, please, please/ I wanna love another person/ Can I please love another person?” she pleads over slinky, soulful production courtesy of Cardiak and WU10. Between the Lenny Williams “‘Cause I Love You” sample and Coco’s alluring voice — that slight vocal fry hits all the right notes — “Here We Go” is a winner.

Hunxho feat. Mike Will Made-It & 2 Chainz, “Come Over”

It’s an ATL affair with Hunxho, 2 Chainz and Mike Will Made-It running the three-man weave through Georgia’s capital city. Instead of drowning their sorrows throwing bands at Magic City, Hunxho and the Drench God pass the baton back and forth while spewing about how they’re showering their woman with luxury gifts and the best life has to offer. “I done got her every bag, I’m talkin’ ’bout every purse,” the 24-year-old boasts as Chainz offers to go the extra mile while cracking the lobster of a surf-and-turf meal or fixing her ponytail and shooting a Zelle transfer to bolster her bank account. The only complaint about “Come Over” would be the last minute being strictly instrumental, leaving room for another verse from either of the Atlanta natives or another special guest that is never properly taken advantage of.

Skylar Simone, “Shiver”

To celebrate her recent signing to Def Jam, Skylar Simone has recruited renowned Grammy-winning producer D’Mile for her debut single under the label. Effortlessly flipping between full-bodied belts and fluttery falsetto-housed ad-libs, “Shiver” captures both the sweetness and the sensuality that comes with leaning into the power of sexual and romantic tension. “Make it melt like ice when I shiver/ River open wide when I shiver,” she coos. By the time those whistle notes come in at the tail end of the song, “Shiver” has established itself as a well-crafted ode to the sweetest pop&B confections of the late ’90s and early ’00s.

4batz, “act v: there goes another vase”

The Dallas native delivered his first project in the form of his u made me a st4r last week. The final single recalls a ’90s R&B aesthetic as 4batz croons about the pain of a toxic lover. (He revealed to Complex that the EP was inspired by his ex Jada). “Thought we was good, why you blocked me/ You tell your friends why you love me/ They won’t understand ’cause you’re perfect for me,” he sings with his heart on ice. 4batz continues his ascension with the EP in another stepping stone toward stardom – even if it means picking at the scar tissue left from a fractured relationship, which inherently helps others – along with himself – cathartically heal. 

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