Replay, Revisit, Reject: For Last Week's New Music, R&B Prevails While Hip-Hop Features Fail

Illustration for article titled Replay, Revisit, Reject: For Last Week's New Music, R&B Prevails While Hip-Hop Features Fail
Photo: Frazer Harrison (Getty Images), Cassidy Sparrow (Getty Images), Dimitrios Kambouris (Getty Images)

We get it: With everything going on in the world, it can be difficult to carve out time to discover new music. Industry-pushed tunes that you may not even bang with like that could also get in the way of you finding something that tingles your consumer taste buds.


While new tunes are usually released throughout the working week, a majority of new material drops on Fridays. As a music fiend, I’ll be here each Monday to help you dig through some crates, in order to make things easier on your energy and your ears.

I guess I spoke too soon with last week’s heaping helping of new music praise, because whew chillayyy...this was not the best weekend for my ears. After sifting through some playlists and songs, I’ve compiled a shortlist of some of my favorites and some tracks and features I wish never saw the light of day.


“BRB” by Mahalia

Production that’s not too over-the-top coupled with sweet yet heartbreaking lyrics about grappling with long-distance relationships makes this a standout track this week. The light trumpets and tinkling piano keys near the end of the song add for subtle and pleasant touches.

“Call Your Name” by Tora

After some not-so-great run-ins with some of the other songs featured this week (more on that later), this particular new track—which features a catchy, brass-heavy beat to accompany Tora’s melodic flow—is certainly a welcome change from the typical hip-hop flavored R&B music today.


Can I just take a moment to thank R&B singers for being so damn great? Whew. I think there are so many singers in the genre just waiting to be discovered and I’m glad they’re bringing something unique to the table, as well.


“Wrong Places” by H.E.R.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m a huge fan of the painfully talented H.E.R. She’s truly only placed in the “revisit” section this week because I think this song is sitting in her pocket of comfort. At first, “Wrong Places” (which was written by Raquel Castro, a contestant on the show Songland) sounds like an amped-up version of her song “Focus” from a production standpoint. However, H.E.R’s comfort zone is still a much better comfort zone to sit in compared to her contemporaries, as it encapsulates her ability to combine the soul and emotion of the genre’s past and present.



This Was a Bad Weekend for Rap Features, Namely Nicki Minaj and Tory Lanez

I actually complained in my group chat about how my faith in hip-hop diminishes every single day. Hot off of Beyonce’s stellar feature on Megan Thee Stallion’s “Savage “Remix” last week (which is not on the list this week because duh, you’ve heard it, it’s a “replay”), Twitter caught wind of Nicki Minaj’s soon-to-be-released verse on the remix of Doja Cat’s disco-tinged “Say So.” However, it didn’t enhance the original song at all. Not only was there a totally unnecessary beat change during the start of Nicki’s verse, but her lyrics leave a lot to be desired (“Tell Mike Jordan send me my Retros, used to be bi now I’m just hetero…” Sis, what? Considering the number of queer fans you have, was this the best you could come up with?)


Then, as much as I was stoked to see some big names on JoJo’s latest album Good To Know, quarantine king Tory Lanez turned me all the way off to the rest of her song “Comeback.” I wouldn’t call myself prude, I just don’t want to hear anything about having the “type of dick that make a white girl crazy.” There are so many more clever ways to rap about sex in 2020 and that wasn’t it. Also, when is that played out creaking bed production effect going to stop being used?

Hip-hop...let’s do better please.

“I Look Good” by O.T. Genasis

I think that this song was supposed to be a joke from the start. Because there’s no way someone would have greenlit this if it wasn’t supposed to be a “comedic and uplifting quarantine survival anthem” (per a press release I received from his label). From the Borat-like vocals to the repetitive...hook (?), this song is stupid as can be and is quite literally one of the worst songs I’ve heard this entire year. It wasn’t funny either, just annoying.


Paging Kendrick and TDE, paging Pusha T: someone, anyone, please come and save hip-hop. Maybe it’s the quarantine that’s making me lose my taste, but save for a few songs, albums and artists, the genre has not been hitting this year.

Pronounced "Jay-nuh."



Know what gets to me about today’s artists? The fact that every song they perform has to have a guest artist.

Back in the day, every performer sang on their own strength, with a featured guest on at least one song, or every other album. Nowadays, every song on the album has a featured guest. It’s like the singer or group (or their producer or the record company) doesn’t have enough confidence to stand alone, and need some help in getting noticed and sell some tunes.

I know I’ll be burned mercilessly for this, but this is why I prefer the older tunes. The veteran performers had that independent spirit that the newer folks will never have.