Entering the new full-length team-up The Voice of the Heroes, Lil Baby and Lil Durk’s respective skills for collaboration are certainly not in question: some of Baby’s biggest projects have come as half of a duo -- like Drip Harder, his 2018 classic with Gunna -- while Durk’s been on a commercial roll over the past year thanks to tracks like “Laugh Now, Cry Later” with Drake and “Back In Blood” with Pooh Shiesty. Still, the nimble, emotional sing-rap project The Voice of the Heroes works even better than fans might expect because of the roles both hip-hop stars adopt -- Lil Baby the world-weary superhero, Lil Durk the hungry up-and-comer, and guests like Travis Scott, Meek Mill and Young Thug stopping by to assist the dynamic duo on their mission.
Billie Eilish, “Lost Cause”
“I know you think you’re such an outlaw,” Billie Eilish sings with an implied eye-roll on new single “Lost Cause,” “but you got no job.” If her breakthrough smash “Bad Guy” served as an exaltation of her own knack for subversion, “Lost Cause” works to tear down a romantic partner’s badass self-perception with steady, mid-tempo ego-stripping, in the latest blast of confident songwriting from Eilish’s upcoming Happier Than Ever album.
Bad Bunny, “Yonaguni”
The music video for “Yonaguni” features Bad Bunny in full “stars: they’re just like us!” mode -- playing video games, walking dogs, struggling in an art class, sitting on the toilet. As the new single, which serves as a type of devotional stream-of-consciousness toward a woman he admires, progresses, Bad Bunny’s crooning picks up steam, and by the end of the video he’s hopped off a sad couch at a house party and leading a dance circle (although it may just be in his imagination, sadly).
John Mayer, “Last Train Home”
Fans of John Mayer’s ultra-smooth 2018 single “New Light” have been patiently waiting for a full album of the veteran singer-songwriter flexing that throwback-rock muscle, and that project appears to finally be arriving next month in the form of the upcoming LP Sob Rock. Until then, Mayer has unveiled “Last Train Home,” another mix of pillowy-soft vocals, sprightly keys and unabashed guitar riffing -- all of which will no doubt sound pristine whenever Mayer brings this album on the road.
Dua Lipa, “Love Again” video
Longtime fans of Dua Lipa know that, in addition to being a world-class pop singer, the British star can also be fairly hilarious when she wants to be, be it on social media or onstage. The Future Nostalgia era continues with a new music video for “Love Again” that relies on Lipa’s zany charm, as the riff on ‘80s sitcoms showcases the singer figuring out which ostentatious gown to wear -- but falling down the stairs and getting stuck in a hallway while doing so. More like Hijinks Nostalgia, right?
Roddy Rich, “Late At Night”
One year after “The Box” ruled the Hot 100 for weeks on end and “Rockstar” with DaBaby became the 2020 song of the summer, Roddy Ricch has nothing to prove when it comes to chart-conquering hip-hop crossover anthems. New single “Late At Night” adds texture to the Compton rapper’s persona: a melodic love song produced by longtime collaborator Mustard, the track allows Roddy Ricch to balance sex and love declarations while relying on his warble to sell his tender feelings.
Japanese Breakfast, Jubilee
After accruing a fan base with a pair of top-notch indie-rock albums that focused on grief and recovery, Michelle Zauner, the singer-songwriter behind Japanese Breakfast, has given her musical project a technicolor makeover and delivered one of the most riveting indie releases of 2021. Jubilee refracts Zauner’s songwriting through the most joyful lens imaginable, resulting in big, brash tracks that will fit in nicely on summer playlists, as well as earn intense lyrical investigation.