Friday Music Guide: New Music From Megan Thee Stallion, Camila Cabello, LISA and More

Billboard’s Friday Music Guide serves as a handy guide to this Friday’s most essential releases — the key music that everyone will be talking about today, and that will be dominating playlists this weekend and beyond. 

This week, Megan Thee Stallion has plenty of venom, Camila Cabello reinvents her sound and LISA rocks out. Check out all of this week’s picks below:

Megan Thee Stallion, Megan 

Weeks before a different rap beef hijacked the Internet, “Hiss,” Megan Thee Stallion’s snarling diss track, made it to the top of the Hot 100; new album Megan leads off with the chart-topper, and the rest of the project takes its cues from its uncompromising lyricism and booming production. While the back half of Megan is guest-heavy, highlighted by the UGK collaboration “Paper Together” featuring a posthumous Pimp C verse, the album is dominated by Meg’s hair-on-fire rapping, which is as controlled and quotable as ever — as she puts it early on, “The sooner you accept that I’m that b–ch, the better your life will be.”

Camila Cabello, C,XOXO 

When Camila Cabello released “I Luv It,” her brash, hyperpop-inflected team-up with Playboi Carti, as the lead single to fourth solo album C,XOXO, fans immediately understood that the follow-up to 2022’s Familia was going to be a far cry from its straightforward brand of pop. And while C,XOXO isn’t quite as off-the-wall as its opening track, Cabello uses the full-length to explore her evolving interests, from reggaeton to Afrobeats to piano balladry, revealing more of her identity after many years in the spotlight.

LISA, “Rockstar” 

Part of the reason why BLACKPINK has been able to shatter records and perform to huge audiences around the world is due to their futuristic approach to pop, incorporating rapping, electronics and club music into their major hooks; “Rockstar,” LISA’s new solo single, similarly looks ahead while presenting a fast-moving pack of melodies and attitude. LISA works quickly, offering towering refrains and accounts of a jet-setting lifestyle in two minutes and change, and “Rockstar” locates an effortless cool that its title (and artist’s entire vibe) suggests.

Kelsea Ballerini with Noah Kahan, “Cowboys Cry Too” 

After Kelsea Ballerini teamed up with Noah Kahan at the ACM Awards with a performance of her “Mountain with a View” and his “Stick Season,” the two singer-songwriters have reunited for “Cowboys Cry Too,” a tender duet that values sensitivity in its storytelling. Ballerini has long roamed outside of Nashville conventions, but “Cowboys Cry Too” sounds aimed straight at the heart of country radio — an interesting development for Kahan, who has collaborated with artists like Zach Bryan and Kacey Musgraves but has never sounded as comfortable picking up the cowboy hat as he does here.

Imagine Dragons, Loom 

This century, the biggest rock bands have often stayed on top, even as the sound of popular music has moved away from the idea of “rock bands,” by developing their aesthetic and meeting listeners where they are. Imagine Dragons have mastered this shape-shifting approach, and sixth album Loom once again defies expectations for how a popular rock group should function: “Kid” is zonked-out funk-pop in the vein of “Feel Good Inc.,” lead single “Eyes Closed” appears as both a dubstep-wobble anthem and with a J Balvin remix, and “Wake Up” sounds primed to inspire awkward shuffling across arena floors.

Editor’s Pick: Omar Apollo, God Said No 

The viral success of “Evergreen (You Didn’t Deserve Me At All),” which earned Omar Apollo his first Hot 100 hit as well as a best new artist Grammy nod, unlocked the singer-songwriter’s vibrant croon — and introduced the beautiful subtleties of debut album Ivory — to a much larger listenership. Sophomore LP God Said No allows Apollo to reflect upon a whirlwind few years, examine his struggles his anxiety and depression, share stories of heartbreak, and above all, provide fans with a new collection of powerfully rendered, expertly sung rhythmic pop tracks, many of which will startle and delight upon first listen.

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