Hip-Hop

R&B/Hip-Hop Fresh Picks of the Week: Baby Keem, Willow Smith, Siena Liggins & More

Baby Keem
Abdi Ibrahim

Baby Keem

Another Monday, another round-up of the freshest picks of the week. From smooth, late-night R&B to upbeat, 808-filled rap anthems, this list is bound to have a track suitable for every moment of the next seven days.

This week, listen to the sounds of Baby Keem, Willow Smith, Siena Liggins and more. Don't forget to share the wealth with our Spotify playlist, linked below.

Topaz Jones feat. Leven Kali, "Mirror"

"Mirror," Topaz Jones’ funk-infused album opener dips listeners into a melodic journey. Clothed in thick layers of harmonies, snappy drum patterns and crystal-clear rhymes, the New Jersey native gives listeners a vivid recap of his childhood, rapping "I'm my poppa's lil' prodigy/And my grandmama coddled me/Said I'm born to be funky/Baptized in pollock or collard greens." The refreshing song exudes summer breeziness, setting the tone for the 12 equally smooth tracks that follow.

Siena Liggins, "Ooh Aah"

This R&B-tinged deep cut from Siena Liggins’ debut album is the musical embodiment of the blush emoji. During the suggestive chorus, Liggins sets the stage with charismatic confidence before shyly declaring that all she wants to do is “ooh aah ooh aah ooh with you.” The track’s bouncy drums, understated synth loop and reverb-filled snaps create the perfect instrumental bed for Liggins’ signature airy, morning-after vocals.

Baby Keem & Travis Scott, "Durag Activity"

While Baby Keem usually opts to fly solo, fans are undoubtedly grateful he made this choice for his first collab. Joining forces with hitmaker Travis Scott, Keem delivers his bouncy, fan-favorite flows and infectious ad libs, sonically consistent with his earlier singles "Sons & Critics Freestyle" and "Orange Soda." Combined with Scott’s classic, octave-swapping melodies and a hard-hitting beat produced by BRICK!, the track sets the scene for a summer filled with "Durag Activity."

Adekunle Gold, "It Is What It Is"

Nigerian singer-songwriter Adekunle Gold is back with another laid-back, body-swaying single. In the wisdom-filled track, AG reflects on the last year of his life, betrayals and realizations, singing, "If e go cost my peace/ Den I go take my leave/ If e no be money/ Do not disturb me please."

Maeta feat. Leven Kali, "Doesn't Mean A Thing" 

For the closing track on her debut EP with Roc Nation, singer Maeta comes together with Dutch artist and Interscope signee Leven Kali for a smooth after-hours soundtrack. The sample-infused instrumental, produced by Grammy winner Teddy Walton, is intentionally simplistic, allowing Maeta's ethereal vocals to float across the beat untethered.

Yung Baby Tate, “Eenie Meenie”

Women are running the rap game right now, and YBT's "Eenie Meenie" is the latest addition to a long list of bad b--ch anthems. Following her hit "I Am" with Flo Milli, the rapper/singer linked with producer duo Take a Daytrip for a bouncy bop. "Eenie Meenie" plays on a popular schoolyard vetting system, except YBT is picking and choosing which two men would be suitable for her to past the time with. Rightfully so.

Willow Smith, “Transparent Soul”

In a society where Black artists are seen as one-dimensional, Willow Smith bursts out of her records in 3D. The young artist returns with an explosive punk rock track called "Transparent Soul," featuring none other than famed Blink-182 drummer Travis Barker. She also dropped an accompanying performance visual, much of which is filmed through a fish-eye lens. It seems that her big brother Jaden is her biggest supporter, as he let off several tweets promoting his sister's new song, calling her "The Greatest To Ever Do It." "Transparent Soul" is on-brand for the 20-year-old, who has been described by one fan as "the Black alt artist we've been asking for."

Mereba, “Rider”

Spillage Village singer/songwriter Mereba released an enchanting new track titled "Rider." Over a soothing melody garnished with tribal drums, her tone is reserved as she steps out of her comfort zone and expresses her desire for a "real one." "I don't usually do this, oh, but you light my fire/ I want to be your rider," she sings.

Frsh Waters, “Cloudy Days”

On "Cloudy Days" Pivot Gang artist Frsh Waters earnestly reflects on his well-deserved come-up from humble beginnings. "These motherf--kers hate me to love me, but nonetheless/ To hate me is to love me, I ain't never been pressed," he raps. The Chicago lyricist raps over a steady Berlo-produced beat, asserting his ability to make something out of nothing. Frsh is a rose that grew from concrete.

Marc E. Bassy, “Atmosphere” and “Zone”

Bay area singer/songwriter Marc E. Bassy drops a two-pack of singles, "Atmosphere" and "Zone." Each song finds him showcasing a more refined sound, implementing live instrumentation and reflecting on his time living in L.A.