This week in hip hop, we got the anticipated new Brockhampton album (featuring Danny Brown, A$AP Rocky & Ferg, JPEGMAFIA, and more), and you can read my review of that in Notable Releases. We also got a posthumous Chynna single and new songs from Tkay Maidza, Tierra Whack, Doja Cat/SZA, Gwen Stefani/Saweetie, Polo G, Conway the Machine, Westside Gunn, Navy Blue, BERWYN, CupcakKe, Queen Naija/Ari Lennox, and more. Read on for all the rap and R&B songs we posted this week.
Rest in peace, DMX.
CHYNNA – “BURNOUT”
Philly-born rapper Chynna passed away at age 25 on April 8, 2020, and today a new posthumous song has been released on the one-year anniversary of her death. You can read more about it here.
TKAY MAIDZA – “SYRUP”
Zimbabwean-born Australian rapper Tkay Maidza has released her second single of 2021, and you can read more about it here.
TIERRA WHACK – “LINK”
The ever-colorful Tierra Whack teamed up with LEGO for this new single.
DOJA CAT – “KISS ME MORE” (ft. SZA)
Doja Cat is gearing up to release her new album Planet Her this summer, and its new single “Kiss Me More” is a collab with SZA. Doja Cat told Apple Music that she made this song “in the spirit of” SZA, and then eventually reached out to her to have her sing on it. It’s pretty much the perfect middle ground between SZA’s ethereal R&B and Doja Cat’s more immediate, radio-friendly vibe.
GWEN STEFANI – “SLOW CLAP” (ft. SAWEETIE)
Gwen Stefani has shared a new version of her recent single “Slow Clap,” and this one features a newly-added verse by rising rapper Saweetie, who also joins Gwen in the high school cheerleaders-inspired video.
CONWAY THE MACHINE – “BLOOD ROSES” (ft. JAE SKEESE)
Conway the Machine stays extremely prolific, and he’s now set to release a new project, La Maquina, next week (April 16 via Griselda/Drumwork/EMPIRE). New single “Blood Roses” is genuinely great stuff; classic Conway but feels fresh for him too.
POLO G – “RAPSTAR”
Polo G has a new album called Hall of Fame expected this year, and it’ll include this new single, which finds him exploring his melodic side to great effect.
NAVY BLUE – “DURAG ANTHEM”
Brooklyn rapper Navy Blue, who was just profiled in a Rising interview over at Pitchfork, follows his very good December 2020 album Song of Sage: Post Panic! with a pensive, chilled-out new song “Durag Anthem.”
BERWYN – “100,000,000”
UK rapper/singer/producer/instrumentalist BERWYN follows his very promising 2020 debut DEMOTAPE/VEGA with his first single of 2021. Like DEMOTAPE/VEGA, it’s an inventive track that blurs the lines between early James Blake and current UK rap.
CUPCAKKE – “MICKEY”
CupcakKe hasn’t released a new album since putting out two LPs in 2018, but she’s stayed prolific with several singles since then. Here’s her first of 2021, the triumphant-sounding “Mickey.”
ZILLAKAMI – “BADASS” (ft. LIL UZI VERT)
ZillaKami’s grimy rap-rock revival and Lil Uzi Vert’s auto-tuned sing-song rap meet on “BADASS.”
SONDER – “NOBODY BUT YOU” (ft. JORJA SMITH)
Sonder has tapped Jorja Smith for this stripped-down dose of acoustic guitar-fueled R&B.
PETER ROSENBERG – “STAIN” (ft. WESTSIDE GUNN)
Hot 97’s Peter Rosenberg curated an upcoming album, and it’ll feature his recent song with Flee Lord and Stove God Cooks, as well as this new one with Westside Gunn. “Stain” finds WSG’s gritty post-boom bap in fine form.
GOTHAM (TALIB KWELI & DIAMOND D) – “ATTENTION SPAN” (ft. SKYZOO)
Gotham is the new collaborative project of New York rap vets Talib Kweli and Diamond D (of D.I.T.C.), and their upcoming album Talib Kweli and Diamond D Are Gotham arrives next week. Here’s its latest single, which features Skyzoo and sounds transported straight from the ’90s New York hip hop scene that Talib and Diamond D helped define.
J BALVIN – “OTRA NOCHE SIN T” (ft. KHALID)
J Balvin’s reggaeton and Khalid’s R&B cross paths on this atmospheric new song.
QUEEN NAIJA & ARI LENNOX – “SET HIM UP”
Queen Naija and Ari Lennox come together for a syrupy R&B track about two women realizing they’re dating the same man. “We thought ‘Set Him Up’ would provide a fun take on this crazy kind of situation,” Naija says.
YA TSEEN – “SYNTHETIC GODS” (ft. SHABAZZ PALACES & STAS THEE BOSS)
Having recently released the Portugal. The Man collab off their upcoming debut album for Sub Pop, Alaska group Ya Tseen (the new project led by Nicholas Galanin) have shared the song featuring psychedelic hip hop greats Shabazz Palaces and Stas THEE Boss. If you’re into Shabazz, you’ll probably be into this too.
RAHEEM DEVAUGHN & APOLLO BROWN – “WHEN A MAN”
Long-running neo-soul singer Raheem DeVaughn and underground hip hop producer Apollo Brown will release a joint album, Lovesick, on June 4 via Mello Music Group. The album features guest vocals by Skyzzo, Westside Boogie, and 3D’NaTee, and first single “When A Man” puts a fresh spin on classic ’70s soul/funk.
GABRIEL GARZÓN-MONTANO – AGÜITA (REMIX FT. SAMPA THE GREAT & AMBER MARK)
Gabriel Garzón-Montano has released Agüita EP: I on Jagjaguwar, featuring two remixes of the title track of 2020’s Agüita (and other tracks), including this very appealing one that features newly-added vocals by Sampa The Great and Amber Mark.
BENEFICENCE & CONFIDENCE – “MY WAY” (ft. MASTA ACE & PHANTASM)
Veteran Newark rapper Beneficence and Boston producer Confidence will release a collaborative album, Stellar Mind, on April 23 via Ill Adrenaline Records. New single “My Way” features two other East Coast vets, Masta Ace and Phantasm of Loud Records-signed duo Cella Dwellas, and as you might expect, it sounds straight out of the ’90s.
J. PERIOD – “ALL IN YOUR HEAD” FT. DAVE CHAPPELLE, BLACK THOUGHT, TIFFANY GOUCHE
Producer, DJ and remixer J. Period has worked with The Roots, Nas, Lauryn Hill, and Mary J. Blige, among anothers, and now he’s announced his debut album. The first part of the three act Story to Tell comes out April 30 via Truelements Music / RBC Records, and the first single is “All In Your Head.” It’s narrated by Dave Chappelle and features appearances from Tiffany Gouché and Black Thought, as well.
TONY MOXBERG – “LOVE” (ft. JADAKISS, SHEEK LOUCH & BENNY THE BUTCHER)
D Block affiliate Tony Moxberg is back with a new single featuring longtime pals Jadakiss and Sheek Louch, and a rapper who’s keeping the D Block era alive today, Benny the Butcher.
WESTSIDE GUNN – “EASTERGUNN DAY 4 FREESTYLE” (ft. MACH-HOMMY)
Longtime collaborators Westside Gunn and Mach-Hommy teamed up for a nine-and-a-half minute freestyle on Easter, and it’s exactly the kind of throwback-yet-fresh-sounding song you’d expect from these two.
In the market for new vinyl? Benny the Butcher’s great 2020 album ‘Burden of Proof’ is now available on vinyl and you can pick it up in the BrooklynVegan shop.
10 Best Rap Albums of 2020
See the full top 50 here.