Thursday, June 20, 2024

The LOX, Rick Ross, Fat Joe, Black Thought, Yung Bleu, And More Drop New Music Friday Releases

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.

El Michels Affair & Black ThoughtGlorious Game

El Michels and Black Thought 'Glorious Game' Album Artwork

Big Crown Records

Big Crown Records

After months of anticipation, Black Thought presents Glorious Game, the rap vet’s collaborative album with the El Michels Affair, which finds him juggling couplets atop an array of plush backdrops. Beginning with the previously released singles “Grateful” and “Glorious Game,” the 12-track longplayer includes highlights like “I’m Still Somehow,” on which the Philly native raps “Being a Black man is a job/ Look at the loved ones I have lost” while detailing the plights of life. Visions of park jams, home life, and domestic disputes are conjured on “The Weather,” while “I Would Never” sees The Roots frontman declaring that “truth should be easy to market” atop tumbling vocal wails and tumbling instrumentation. Rounded out by additional standouts like “Miracle” and “Alter Ego,” Black Thought and El Michels Affair deliver a project examining the Glorious Game that is life and all of its complexities. – Preezy Brown

Ice Spice Feat. Nicki Minaj – “Princess Diana (Remix)”

Ice Spice and Nicki Minaj “Princess Diana (Remix)” cover art

Dolo Entertainment, Inc., under exclusive license to UMG Recordings, Inc.

Dolo Entertainment, Inc., under exclusive license to UMG Recordings, Inc.

Ice Spice collected her first infinity stone with Nicki Minaj’s appearance on the remix to “Princess Diana.” The Queens rapper brought the smoke per usual, sending shots out to everyone trying to imitate her. “I, I, I be eatin’ my spinach, they tried to clone my image/ They burned they London Bridges, none of them bi**hes British/ I know they know the difference.” She replicates Spice’s cadence within her verse and gives a huge co-sign to the young talent. “Nowadays, I be makin’ ‘em famous/ She the princess, so f**k who you lames is/ Of course, I be pushin’ they buttons/ I hold the control like the gamers.” Nicki puts the icing on the cake by performing the hook to the record entirely on her own as well. If anyone believed Ice Spice’s current run would lose steam, this is a sign that it’s only getting bigger. – Armon Sadler

Yung BleuLove Scars 2

Yung Bleu 'Love Scars 2' Album Cover

Moon Boy University / EMPIRE

Moon Boy University / EMPIRE

Matters of the heart are explored are on Yung Bleu’s Love Scars 2 as the Alabama-bred rap singer brandishes his vulnerabilities throughout the course of the album. The introductory “Casamigo Nights” is a feel-good offering that finds Bleu Vandross proposing a night filled with celebratory toasts with an erstwhile lover. On “Lonely Winters,” a string-laden number that includes a brief showcase of his abilities as an emcee, the hitmaker belt his heart out. Bolstered by collaborations with Ty Dolla $ign (“Waterfalls”), Chris Brown (“Distant Lover”), and Tink (“Stingy”), Love Scars 2 is a buttery-smooth listen and perfect for those lovelorn nights where you’re on the brink of making that call and sending that ill-advised text. – PB

Rick Ross, Fat Joe, The Lox – “The Game”

Rick Ross, Fat Joe and The LOX “The Game” cover art

Maybach Music Group, LLC; R4 So Valid, LLC; Francis Ubiera; D- Block, Inc. under exclusive license to Nephew SA, LLC d/b/a The Revival House

Maybach Music Group, LLC; R4 So Valid, LLC; Francis Ubiera; D- Block, Inc. under exclusive license to Nephew SA, LLC d/b/a The Revival House

Rick Ross, Fat Joe, and The LOX deliver a soundtrack for the NBA’s play-in and playoff action with “The Game.” Jadakiss kicks the track off, spitting “There’s nothing like the feeling of being in the building/ All of a sudden the good guys turn into the villains/ Pure satisfaction inside of the action/ You see it in the games, you feel it in the captions.” Rozay takes the baton next, likening a basketball game to war. “Always ready for battle, true success is a war/ Always follow your heart, know you’re destined for more/ Living like I’m Young Thugger, winning shot at the buzzer/ Do it all for my n**as, VIP for my mother.” Fat Joe takes the energy to another level with “Either you paint it with blood, or you paint it with love/ Me, I’m with all the above/ All I see is the glory in a room filled with all the applause/ No excuses, all I see is winners tonight.” Styles P brings the track home on with his final leg, rapping “In a series of seven, I’m in the seven series/ I pull up to arenas, them boys better fear me/ Got dog in my heart, yeah, they better hear me/ Going for MVP, hope I said it clearly.” If this record doesn’t motivate you, there isn’t much that will. – AS

Pi’erre BourneGrails

Pi'erre Bourne 'Grails' Album Cover

Interscope Records

Interscope Records

Pi’erre Bourne continues to flood the scene with new music. The producer and rapper takes center stage on his latest release Grails, an eight-song project filled with the kind quirky fare that’s the equivalent of a musical acid trip. Known for his free-wheeling, unpredictable style and sound, Bourne takes a similar approach on Grails, with tracks like “Chicken and Waffles” and “Honeyberry 2” covering that ground. Yet, the finer moments on the project comes when his penchant for experimentation is present, yet tempered enough to digest, which is the case on the acoustic-driven cuts “Love Reeks” and “George Lopez.” Other inclusions on Grails that slap include the breezy “NY in June” and the outro cut “Lessons,” making it a release that has a healthy amount of highlight offering and worth the time spent. – PB

Kodak Black – “No Love For A Thug”

Kodak Black “No Love For A Thug” cover art

Atlantic Recording Corporation

Atlantic Recording Corporation

Kodak Black embraces the hard times on “No Love For A Thug,” discussing losing friends and his lover. “I fell out with my homie, I lost my baby girl/ Sh*t got crazy, we found out about my baby boy/ Lord knows that I’m lonely, I never say a word/ I’m tryna act like I’m happy, I’m tryna fake it.” While he’s had his fair share of mistakes in the past, life hasn’t been kind to him either. As the challenges his persist, the Pompano Beach, Fla. Rapper can’t help but wonder if there’s any love for a thug. “Do anybody got a soft spot for a menace?” is a sobering inquiry. It’s clear Kodak had a lot to get off of his chest as his verses are very long, but this is a record that everyone can relate to. – AS

B.o.B.A Town Full of Nowhere

B.o.B ' A Town Full of Nowhere

B.o.B Music

B.o.B is widely known for his talents behind the mic, but the Atlanta native’s skills as a producer have also loomed in the background dating back to the genesis of his career. The artist provides a change of pace from his rap-driven endeavors with A Town Full of Nowhere, an instrumental album that includes a succession of soothing soundscapes for easy listening. Running 10 songs in length, the project flows seamlessly from one track to another, with peak moments coming via the introductory salvo “Claircognizance,” as well as joints like “Feel It,” “Moody Bandz,” and “Total Blackout.” – PB

NLE Choppa – “Talk Different”

NLE Choppa “Talk Different” cover art

NLE Choppa Entertainment Inc., under exclusive license to Warner Records Inc.

NLE Choppa Entertainment Inc., under exclusive license to Warner Records Inc.

NLE Choppa’s “Talk Different” is anthem for those who level up their bag. You can’t help but change your verbiage when your salary elevates, hence why he repeats “Ni**as talk different when the money come” in the chorus. “Always on point, gotta walk with it/ Pray to God every day that He walk with me/ Walk a ni**a a** down, make him jump fences,” he raps. Choppa oozes with confidence on the short yet poignant offering, even throwing in a Will Smith and Chris Rock slap reference. This is sure to have everyone talking different this weekend. – AS

Fivio Foreign – “Hot Sauce”

Fivio Foreign “Hot Sauce” cover art

RichFish, LLC and Columbia Records, a Division of Sony Music Entertainment

RichFish, LLC and Columbia Records, a Division of Sony Music Entertainment

Fivio Foreign bring the spice with his new record “Hot Sauce.” His nimble staccato raps are on full display here, saying “I call the demons out to play/ I keep the bi**hes for the gang/ Send me the addy, I’m coming your way/ I tell my shooters to get in they place.” Evidently, the Brooklyn drill rapper is well protected and well respected. It’s not Fivio track without the beloved “bow” adlib, and that rears its head midway through verse one. He also has a funny Ja Morant reference, where he says he won’t just flash a gun. Overall, it’s the energy one would expect from the hilarious lyricist. An ideal condiment for this weekend’s buffet of releases. – AS

Graf & 38 SpeshArt of Words

Grafh and 38 Spesh 'Art of Words' Album Cover

TCF Music Group

TCF Music Group

Two of New York’s most respected rhyme pugilists lock in with one another on Art of Words; Grafh and 38 Spesh provide an album that puts the onus on the beats and rhymes rather than the surrounding elements. The approach is a winning one. The Queens native and Bronx rep rise to the occasion, one stanza at a time, with a mix of collabs and self-contained creations. “Life is like catching a cab in the city when you’re Black/ Man, it don’t stop for no one,” Grafh laments on the Spesh-produced “Life’s The Same,” which includes a sample-driven beat layered with kicks, snares and vocal riffs. On “Rain Falls,” Conway The Machine rears his head with an electric guest verse, while Dave East joins the party for a game of lyrical three-card monte on “Every Day.” Bun B, Giggs, Rome Streetz, and Stove God Cooks also contribute to Art of Words, which finds Grafh and 38 Spesh taking pride in the “Dirty Work” that is staying dedicated to the purism of the craft. – PB

Shame Gang Feat. Lute & Cyanca – “I Survive”

Photo Of Roc Nation Artist Shame Gang

Casha Mosley

Casha Mosley/Roc Nation

Shame Gang drops off “I Survive,” the latest single from his recently released album Better Late Than Never. The track, which includes guest spots from Dreamville’s Lute and vocalist Cyanca, finds the Roc Nation artist touching on the resilience and perseverance required along life’s various travels and battles. Accompanied by a music video directed by Dan Mercer, and inspired by the loss of Shame’s own brother, as well as Lute’s father, “I Survive” is an emotional number that channels the strength and mindset that comes with internal fortitude. – PB


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