Billboard’s First Stream 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, Roddy Ricch serves up an impressive sophomore outing, The Weeknd and FKA Twigs cry in the club side-by-side, and Aaliyah’s iconic voice rings true once again. Check out all of this week’s First Stream picks below:
Roddy Ricch, Live Life Fast
Two years ago, Compton rapper Roddy Ricch released his debut album, Please Excuse Me For Being Antisocial, a few weeks before the end of 2019, then proceeded to dominate 2020 with hits like “The Box” from the project. He’s looking to do the same in 2022 with Live Life Fast, an expansive and highly enjoyable sophomore effort with plenty of guest stars (Future, Lil Baby, 21 Savage, Gunna) and hooks on tracks like “25 Million,” “Thailand” and “Man Made” that make good use of Roddy Ricch’s elastic flow and animated delivery.
FKA Twigs & The Weeknd, “Tears in the Club”
“Tears in the club / ‘Cuz your love’s got me f–ked up,” FKA Twigs sings on her new team-up with The Weeknd, which brings the avant-R&B auteur into Abel Tesfaye’s world of sumptuous, slightly moody pop. The pairing makes more sense on the track than it does on paper, with their tones complementing each other — Twigs’ self-harmonizing on the chorus recalls The Weeknd’s own on his past hits — and their respective croons delivering the type of jagged emotion that a song like “Tears in the Club” requires.
Aaliyah & The Weeknd, “Poison”
While The Weeknd experiences “Tears in the Club” with FKA Twigs, he also duets with Aaliyah on the legendary artist’s first posthumous track in nearly a decade. “Poison” puts a bow on a year in which Aaliyah’s timeless music became more readily available to modern listeners, as The Weeknd floats over synthesizers and Aaliyah gives a lead vocal take that would sound at home on ‘90s R&B radio and streaming playlists today.
Burna Boy feat. Wizkid, “B. D’OR”
African giants Burna Boy and Wizkid cap off a year in which they made even greater strides in North America with “B. D’OR,” an urgent dance cut that should be added to New Year’s Eve playlists a few weeks early. Both artists sound focused against the stabs of strings and clinking beats, with Burna Boy’s ferocity perfectly balancing Wizkid’s whimsical flow; after the latter scored a top 10 hit with “Essence” and the former announced a Madison Square Garden headlining show for 2022, the duo score their latest win side-by-side.
Jhené Aiko, “Wrap Me Up”
There’s nothing wrong with a good re-gifting, especially when it’s as satisfying as Jhené Aiko’s revitalized holiday single “Wrap Me Up.” Originally released in 2012 and now given a facelift for proper streaming platforms, “Wrap Me Up” showcases Aiko’s romantic charm and lyrical passion — a holiday-themed reminder of her power, which we’ll hopefully be receiving more of in 2022.