Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Nicki Minaj, Doja Cat, Lil Wayne, And More New Music Friday Releases To Put In Rotation

Today is Friday, which means there are a ton of new releases to look forward to from some of your favorite Hip-Hop artists. To help you unwind and enjoy the weekend, check out VIBE’s picks of songs and albums you should hear and add to your soundtrack of weekend festivities.

Nicki Minaj – “Last Time I Saw You”

Nicki Minaj “Last Time I Saw You” cover art

2023 Republic Records, a division of UMG Recordings, Inc.

Nicki Minaj steps into her pop-rap hybrid bag on “Last Time I Saw You.” She sings on the hook and reminds people that she is underrated when it comes to melodies. However, when it’s verse time, she goes into that aggressive Queens tone that has made her loved for her entire career. The mid-tempo track carries introspective sonics and her lyrics touch on lost friendships, old memories, and not wasting time with someone from her past. Drama aside, Nicki is still one of the best at this music-making thing. “Last Time I Saw You” is it. – Armon Sadler

Doja Cat – “Demons”

Doja Cat “Demons” cover art

2023 Kemosabe Records/RCA Records

Doja Cat’s “Demons” is a masterclass of vocal inflection, which has been one of her strengths throughout her career and is very reminiscent of Nicki Minaj. The production is chaotic and almost haunting, and her screams and screeches perfectly match it. The 27-year-old star’s last few singles have been intended to show her mettle as a rapper, and this simply continues the hot streak. “Demons” is aptly named because that’s the mode Doja goes into when it’s time to spit. One can only imagine with her forthcoming album will sound like and how else she will display her versatility when it comes to the bars. – AS

Lil Wayne – “Kat Food”

Lil Wayne “Kat Food” cover art

2023 Young Money Records, Inc., distributed by Republic Records, a division of UMG Recordings, Inc.

Lil Wayne’s “Kat Food” feels like a simple day in the office. His auto-tuned vocals skate through the drums and synths like Kristi Yamaguchi. It’s a long single, just 14 seconds shy of a five-minute playtime but it’s worth it when you’ve got wordplay galore. It’s also a fun party record; while Weezy F Baby raps like the rent is due, it’s got a bop that will go off in a lively setting. If this is the precursor to an impending Lil Wayne album, then it’s safe to be very excited about what may be on the way. He’s still got it, and he only gets better. – AS

Blxst & Bino RideauxSixtape 3

Blxst and Bino Rideaux ' Sixtape 3' Album Cover

2023 EVGLE & Out The Blue/Def Jam exclusively licensed to Red Bull Records

Two of Cali’s most popular rap crooners form their dynamic tandem once again, as Blxst and Bino Rideaux continue their streak of smoothed-out releases with the third installment in their Sixtape series. True to the palm trees in their native habitat, the pair present a sampling of breezy offerings, beginning with “Blueprint,” an opening salvo that finds them locked and loaded, musically and literally.

Bedroom rompers like “Doin Yo Stuff” and “Baccseat” are appropriate for steaming up the vibes, but Sixtape 3 reaches its peak with “Road Runnin,” a feel-good offering on which Bino and Blxst put the focus on perseverance and progress over a plush track equipped with an ample amount of kick for extra knock. More of a sprint than a marathon, Sixtape 3 may not outclass prior volumes, but is a worthy addition to its lineage by our account. – Preezy Brown

Coi LerayBlue Moon

Coi Leray ‘Blue Moon’ cover art

2023 Uptown Records, a division of Republic Records and UMG Recordings, Inc.

Coi Leray captured the magic of this week’s blue moon on her new EP. The versatile star got a dig in at Latto on “Isabel Marant,” which will likely end up being the major topic of this five-song effort. However, she reminds people that she is strong when it comes to rapping, singing, and creating melodies. “3, 2, 1 (Trust)” has the bop of a party anthem but the emotion of a nighttime R&B record. “Wicked Butterflies” feels like the sister to her Spider-Verse track “Self Love” in all of the best ways. Coi is great, simply put. Blue Moon is another bullet point added to her impressive resume. – AS

Bas – “Ho Chi Minh”

Bas “Ho Chi Minh” cover art

2023 Dreamville/Interscope

Bas continues his venture into different sounds on “Ho Chi Minh.” The production has EDM elements, and he utilizes a vocal filter that makes it sound like he’s shouting into the void. Of course, the Queens, N.Y. rapper leans on his foundation: spitting bars. He attacks the upbeat production with ease, reflecting on the hardships of his life and how resilient he is. “Who my enemy? I’m the only one/ Self-destruction is imminent,” he spits. This is a breezy two-minute track and the last thirty seconds don’t even feature Bas; however, letting the production and vocal sample take over makes listeners marvel at what he’s done before he steps away. – AS

Blu x Real Bad ManBad News

Blu and Real Bad Man 'Bad News' Album Cover

2023 Real Bad Man Records

Blu and Real Bad Man pair up to deliver Bad News to those looking to compete musically with this collaborative project, which finds the Los Angelenos presenting a smorgasburg of visceral rhyme spills and head-bob inducing soundscapes. “My presence enormous, sun couldn’t outshine me for three mornings,” Blu declares on the album’s titular track, which is layered with regal instrumentation like rich horns and searing strings.

The dynamic showings on the bruising number “All Praises Due” and the reflective offering “The Hurt” are peppered in amongst other previously released singles like “Aladdin” and the C.L. Smooth-assisted cut “The Golden Rule.” There’s a consistent flow of bangers over the course of the album’s eight selections. From “Hebrews” featuring Planet Asia, to the epic posse cut “Fall of Rome” with guests Cashus King, Donel Smokes, and Definite, it’s hard to say if the sound of Bad News ever sounded so good, which is certainly the case with their blazing joint effort. – PB

Smoke DZA & Flying LotusFlying Objects

Smoke DZA and Flying Lotus 'Flying Objects' Album Cover

2023 Smoker’s Club Records

As the smoke clears, Flying Objects appear, at least in Smoke DZA and Flying Lotus’ orbit. The Harlem rapper and Los Angeles-bred producer craft a project tailor-made for putting one in the air or simply basking in the ambience with this quick-strike EP, which spans five tracks of fly raps over spacey backdrops.

“Master sermons, Kushed God for the lyrical/ Roll up a Lizzo, it’s about to get spiritual,” DZA warns listeners on the project’s opening number, preparing listeners for the immersive sonic experience ahead. Recollections of “Zelle Transfers” are on the money, but Flying Objects truly cashes in when DZA is joined by supreme lyricists like Conway The Machine (“Painted Houses”) and Black Thought (“Drug Trade”), two pairings that we simply can’t get enough of and predict you won’t, neither. – PB

TRUF Feat. Suga Free – “When The Last Time”

TRUF Wearing Orange Shirt And Baltimore Orioles Hat

TRUF attends TRUF “When The Last Time”: Single Release on August 17, 2023 in Los Angeles, California.

Maury Phillips/Getty Images for TRUF

Rising California spitter TRUF lays his game down tight alongside player extraordinaire Suga Free on his new single “When The Last Time.” Predicting that he’s “about 1-2-3-4 songs from getting G.O.A.T.’d” on the hook, TRUF makes way for Suga Free to sprinkle a bit of pimping over the bouncy instrumental. From there, the newcomer takes center stage, turning in an electric verse that showcases his ability to commandeer the track with ease.

Accompanied by an entertaining visual that presents the pair as cars salesmen, “When The Last Time” finds TRUF capitalizing on the momentum set with previous collaborations with The Game and Boosie Badazz with yet another strong offering to get music fans further familiar with his name. – PB

Estee Nack.357

Estee Nack '.357' Album Cover

Estee Nack is admittedly in his groove on his new project .357, the rapper’s second release of 2023 that stacks up well alongside its predecessor, Nacksaw Jim Duggan. Employing an off-kilter flow, Nack Disney prances over tumbling percussions and terse keys on “1STHALLBLAST” before channeling Boston Red Sox great David Ortiz’s mastery of the big moments on The Hidden Character-asssisted “BIGPAPIINTHECLUTCH.”

With production helmed by Machacha, .357 provides relatively sparse, yet hearty backdrops for the lyricist to wax poetic over, as outings like “SPYWARE,” “BREADSTACK” and “NACK+HOOT” are primed to scratch a rap junkie’s itch and recommended listening. – PB


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