As 2023 unfolds, the new music continues to pour in. We’ve sifted through what’s new this week in R&B and hip-hop so you don’t have to, and rounded up the very freshest releases that are sure to last in your playlist for years to come. From the drill rhythms of Bizzy Banks to French language afro-fusion from Aya Nakamura, we’ve got every sound you need to power through the good, the bad and the ugly this week.
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Freshest Find: Wesley Joseph, “Hiatus”
Wesley Joseph is pushing through growing pains on his first offering of 2023, “Hiatus.” The rising U.K. musician and filmmaker artfully combines downcast chords with somber lyricism and a chilling falsetto for a climactic song about “a teenager talking to his future self and his future self talking back,” he says in a press statement. “The [first verse] perspective is from my angrier and darker teenage self, caught in a small town and needing an escape,” he continues. “It felt like a time capsule moment, and gave me the context to write the second verse as I feel in the present – clearer and more empowered.”
Eem Triplin, “Walked In”
Eem Triplin cuts through the haze of “Walked In” with his signature rasp and infectious lyrics. The self-produced new single mixes submarine radar-like bells with undertones of distorted 808s, as he raps about being rich and strapped.
03 Greedo, “Hype”
Upon his recent release from prison, 03 Greedo wasted no time feeding his fans. Last week, the LA rapper surprise-dropped a 14-track mixtape called Free 03. Entirely produced by Mike Free, standout track “Hype” sees the newly freed rapper delivering a quick freestyle over the phone from jail.
Aya Nakamura, “Baby”
On her new single “Baby,” Malian-French artist Aya Nakamura knows she’s the prize. The singer pairs the new release with a Y2K-esque video, donning colorful makeup and matching cropped sets. The French-language R&B-Afrobeats fusion single about her being the object of a man’s desire is the second single off Nakamura’s upcoming album DNK.
ALLBLACK feat. Curren$y, “Pelicans”
“New Orleans to the Bay, love, it always been that way,” spits veteran rapper Curren$y on Oakland MC ALLBLACK’s new single “Pelicans.” The P-Lo-produced track is extremely bass-heavy, with claps littered throughout, making for a laid-back Bay Area bop.
Malik Baptiste feat. Snoh Aalegra, “All You Need to Know”
With his latest single featuring Swedish-Iranian R&B crooner Snoh Aalegra, Malik Baptiste delivers a touching ode to home with uplifting lyricism atop meticulous, eclectic production. “When I left home, I did so quietly and without many updates on why or what I’ve been up to,” Baptiste shares in a press release. “Relaying this message of love through Snoh, I’ve set out to reconnect with my loved ones and propel myself forward into goals I’ve set for myself.”
Chiiild feat. Lucky Daye, “Good For Now”
Alt-pop/R&B fusion looks great on Chiiild and Lucky Daye. After the Montreal indie act hopped on Daye’s Candydrip deep cut “Compassion,” the singer and group join forces again on “Good for Now.” “Good For Now” strikes a hard-to-achieve balance between conflicting romance and lightness, a song you can vibe out to on a long drive and maybe shed a pensive tear. (Or not.) The track serves as a single in advance of Chiiild’s upcoming album, Better Luck in the Next Life, and it leaves listeners hopeful for the March project.
Bizzy Banks, “Ok Ok Ok”
New York drill artist Bizzy Banks delivers a nonchalant anthem with “Ok Ok Ok.” It’s the 24-year-old Brooklynite’s first single of 2023, which could prove to be a promising year, despite impending charges following his 2022 arrest. Later this month, Bizzy will be joined by Shawny BinLaden for a Gramercy Theatre set, where we’re sure the thumping beat and catchy verses of “Ok Ok Ok” will reverberate through the crowd.
Armani White feat. Denzel Curry, “GOATED”
Armani White is here to prove he’s no one-hit wonder. Following the massive success of his viral single “BILLIE EILISH” and subsequent release “DIAMOND DALLAS,” he’s back with reinforcement on “GOATED.” The Denzel Curry-assisted track is energetic and addictive, with White seen training with none other than ultimate GOAT, Floyd Mayweather Jr., in the single’s video. “GOATED” is a bouncy trap offering, thickly coated in braggadocio and the playful energy we can expect without fail from White.
Jane Handcock, “Layin Next to Me”
It’s hot, it’s sweaty, it’s summer in January. Jane Handcock’s “Layin Next to Me” seeps sunshine, a funky R&B offering from the rapping, singing phenomenon. The hook delivers a simple, relatable refrain: “You should be here laying next to me/ Phone off, do not disturb.” The Oakland native gently serenades listeners with this soon-to-be Sunday morning classic.