Hot off of a week filled with plentiful drops, we’re saving you precious time by presenting our ten freshest picks in R&B/hip-hop.
From the soulful sounds of Iranian-Swedish singer Snoh Aalegra, to Aurora Anthony’s gritty rhymes, this list is bound to have a track made for your rooftop soirées, poolside jam sessions and those less glamorous summer afternoons pressed against the AC.
Be sure to share the wealth with our Spotify playlist, linked below.
Snoh Aalegra feat. James Fauntleroy, “On My Mind”
Just as each piece from a great fashion designer’s brand stands out while also matching the rest of the collection, the 15 tracks of Snoh Aalegra’s newest album each bring something fresh while still feeling familiar. Her chill collaboration with James Fauntleroy, titled “On My Mind,” is especially beautiful in this way; her sweeping voice, the piano melodies and that edgy bass feel as consistent as they do current.
Dwn2earth feat. Ty Dolla $ign, “Don’t Play With Me”
Rising artist Dwn2earth teams up with hip-hop veteran Ty Dolla $ign to deliver this simple, heartfelt track. The former’s rich vocals and background piano lines make for a luxurious three and a half minutes, enhanced by the latter’s quick cameo.
Spencer., “Lonely As I Ever Was”
It’s hard to feel lonely with Spencer.’s buttery voice keeping you company. The self-produced artist’s “Lonely As I Ever Was” is playful and classic, a smooth blend of uptempo guitar and downcast lyrics.
Amindi is sick of speaking politely on her new song “nwts.” The California artist tells it as it is on this easygoing, Drake-referencing track, earnestly proclaiming, “I’m still me without you, you ain’t made s–t.” The song came just before the “Libra from Inglewood” announced an upcoming EP, titled Nice and set to be released July 28.
Danny Seth feat. Lancey Foux, “WUT!”
Danny Seth definitely didn’t plan on returning quietly from his years-long hiatus. “WUT!” is unrelenting, intense and fueled by a frantic string synth descant, a vibe matched by the track’s gritty, rap-meets-cannibalism music video.
Little Simz, “I Love You, I Hate You”
U.K. rapper extraordinaire Little Simz is back with another hard-hitting single, title. The theatrical production features a grand piano loop and classic hip-hop drum pattern, feels like Alicia Keys circa 2003. The 27-year-old artist pours out wisdom throughout each verse with her heart on her sleeve, rapping, “Never thought my parent would give me my first heartbreak.”
Coupled with a moody, imaginative visual, Bathe’s latest single, “Sundress,” is seeping romance and butterflies. The Brooklyn-based “surf R&B” duo are reclaiming beach culture, rooted in Caribbean traditions, but often associated more with the Beach Boys than Black musicians. “Sundress” features heavily reverbed brass instrumentation, stacked harmonies and a gentle guitar melody, adding to the track’s overall ethereal feel.
Yas, “Idea Of You”
Centering crystal-clear falsetto melodies, sharp production and laid back verses, Japanese-Kuwaiti singer Yas chronicles post-breakup reflections in “Idea Of You.” The classically trained violinist released the song on a two-track EP, titled PURPLE, following her two previous EPs, RED and BLUE, leaving fans eager to find out what color is next.
Aurora Anthony, “Cartier”
The Lower East Side’s own Aurora Anthony returns with “Cartier,” a gritty summer single, in line with the track’s equally bold and cinematic visual. In it, Anthony is being treated for a dog attack, before transitioning to a hazy performance shot, his shirt bloodied by the off-camera scuffle.
YSB Tril, “HOTSHOT”
The young “HOTSHOT” YSB Tril hopes to carve his name into hip-hop’s upper echelon with his sticky melodies and confident demeanor. On his latest track, he not only plows through the bouncy anthem with vigor but ultimately proves why he’s fighting to become rap’s “top dog.” —CARL LAMARRE