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, Trippie Redd drops back in with a surprise, Kali Uchis gives us a kiss-off and The Kid LAROI introduces a new era. Check out all of this week’s First Stream picks below:
Trippie Redd, Mansion Musik
If the title of Trippie Redd’s new surprise album is familiar, that’s because it’s one letter removed from Chief Keef’s fiercely beloved 2018 mixtape Mansion Musick; Keef serves as the executive producer, as well as something of a spiritual forefather, to Trippie’s latest opus, which boasts 76 minutes of unhinged energy and A-list guest stars. Mansion Musik begins with a zonked-out burst — Future, Lil Baby, Juice WRLD and Keef himself are all featured within the first five songs — never really lets up, with Trippie Redd flexing over distorted guitars, trap beats and anyone who doubts his ferocious power.
Kali Uchis, “I Wish You Roses”
Kali Uchis’ placement on the 2023 Coachella lineup — the third most prominent name on Sunday’s bill, right behind Frank Ocean and Björk — is a subtle indication for the perceived potential of the genre-blending singer-songwriter following a pair of beguiling albums and the viral sensation of “Telepatía.” “I Wish You Roses” delivers on that promise, a swaying, luxurious vocal showcase that acts as a fond farewell to someone circling out of one’s life and another showcase of Uchis’ power as a hook creator; her ability to conjure lush choruses and sing them with verve and tenacity nods to the artist stepping more into the mainstream this year.
The Kid LAROI, “I Can’t Go Back to The Way It Was (Intro)”
“I Can’t Go Back to The Way It Was (Intro)” may represent the soft launch of The Kid LAROI’s return: as the first song released from long-awaited full-length The First Time, its short run time and parenthetical note suggest that “Love Again,” which arrives next week, will more closely resemble a proper single. Yet that doesn’t mean the 95-second track isn’t full of intrigue: although “I Can’t Go Back” features LAROI’s brand of warbled melancholy, the pounding drums and ghostly harmonies hint at an expansion of his sound, which has yielded some major hits thus far but could be ballooning into something on a grander scale.
Although Måneskin has taken a highly unorthodox path toward international fame — the Italian rock quartet blew up thanks in part to a years-old cover of a Four Seasons song being scooped up on TikTok and crossing over to streaming platforms — the group isn’t going anywhere now that they’ve arrived. Rush!, their first full-length since their global boom, capitalizes on the brighter spotlight with limitless hooks (some of which are courtesy of Max Martin) and clean, radio-ready guitar hooks; Måneskin is adept at pivoting to the mainstream without shedding any of their ostentatious personality or rock tenacity, which makes the album both a solid introduction as well as a logical next step.
Kim Petras, “Brrr”
Kim Petras is wasting no time harnessing the momentum of “Unholy,” her enormous No. 1 hit with Sam Smith: after ending the year with the single “If Jesus Was a Rockstar,” Petras quickly returns with “Brrr,” a hypnotic hyperpop track that more closely resembles the seductive swirl of “Unholy.” Petras has long been adept at tossing out double entendres and sinking her teeth into synth-pop refrains, but with newfound top 40 juice, a crackling song like “Brrr” could help translate a chart-topping assist into a major solo moment.
Mac DeMarco, Five Easy Hot Dogs
Last year, Mac DeMarco challenged himself to start driving and not return home until he had created a new album. “Maybe it’s the last couple of years, or maybe it’s my age now, but the idea of forgoing any sort of normalcy or comfort and making my entire life, for a segment of time, completely insane feels very inspiring to me,” he explains in a press release. “I stayed out on the road doing this for almost four months.” He came back with Five Easy Hot Dogs, a charming instrumental exercise that plays out in the order of his trip, and feels like a sumptuous conversation with a curious soul who happens to be an acclaimed, still-evolving indie singer-songwriter.