As most people who write or make content about the music industry know, the first couple months of the year tend to be a bit slow when it comes to new music coming out. Last year, we got lucky and had Lil Uzi Vert and Grimes randomly release their highly anticipated albums near the beginning of 2020; typically such big records do not get released in January or February. This year, the beside for the release of slowthai’s TYRON and Oscar Scheller’s Boys Cry(Both of which I love. Go read my reviews of those records after reading this article if you have not yet), the pace at which new music has been coming out has been very slow. I am sure that part of the reason for this is because of the pandemic we are still in and the fact that no artists can tour or perform live(leaving them with less motivation to release new music that they can perform). I hope now that the vaccines are becoming more accessible and we are getting into the Springtime the music industry will kick into gear and a lot more fresh music will start coming out. With that being said, there have been a few great singles that have come out in the last couple of months that I have been listening to a lot. Below is a list of great songs released in the first two months of 2021 that I am starting to love a lot. Please let me know in the comments below if you love any of the songs too, and also let me know if there are any songs I did not mention that have been released in the last 2 months that you love.
REAL LIFE – MAYA B
Maya B is a musician that I have been following online for a while now that I am very excited about. Ever since I heard her song ‘Selanas’ a couple of years ago, I have been hooked and been craving more music from her. Maya B’s sound(or sounds, rather) is so fresh and eclectic. It seems like she can do whatever she wants when it comes to Pop, Hip Hop, Electronic, and R&B music. Every song she has released up until this point has had a different style and tone, all of them being very high quality and fun to listen to. Maya B is not an artist that can be put in a box, as she can excel at so many kinds of music. Her latest single, ‘Real Life,’ is a very honest and open track about Hollywood and the overall entertainment industry. On this track, Maya B sings about how in the entertainment world, almost everything you see is fake. People wear certain clothes and act a certain way to impress each other, and it feels like no one is ever being genuine or honest about what they think and feel. Sonically, this song has a bit of a Neo-R&B mixed with Garage House feeling to it. The melody of this track reminds me a lot of artists like Frank Ocean or SZA; the pacing and beat of ‘Real Life’ are reminiscent of old school House music and old school Drum’n’ Bass music, in my opinion. ‘Real Life’ is an excellent example of why Maya B is so special and unique. If you want to hear an R&B song that is innovative and ultramodern, ‘Real Life’ is a track you need to hear.
GANG SIGNS – FREDDIE GIBBS FEAT. SCHOOLBOY Q
Freddie Gibbs is one of those guys that most people within the Hip Hop industry would refer to as a “rapper’s rapper.” He spent so much of his career on the brink of underground and mainstream, always teetering on that line of being able to break through into superstardom(and always heavily acclaimed by his peers). Over the last couple of years, he has started to receive the recognition that he deserves, with his last three releases garnering critical acclaim and his 2020 album Alfredo(fully produced by The Alchemist) being nominated for the Best Rap album of 2021 at the Grammys. Freddie Gibbs’ latest song, ‘Gang Signs’ featuring Schoolboy Q, is a short and sweet example of what makes him such a great rapper. It is a melodic Trap song with an extremely catchy hook and infectious flows which will draw any true Hip Hop fan in. Lyrically, Freddie in his bag on this track, with his short but sweet verse full of one-liners any Hip Hop head will love. Schoolboy Q is such a great partner for Freddie Gibbs on this track, as his larger-than-life voice and personality are the perfect contrast for Freddie’s calm and smooth delivery. I would love to hear more music from these two together in the future. Until then, I will be listening to this song quite a bit because it is so smooth and catchy and fun yet still goes undeniably hard.
PLUG DAUGHTER 2 – KEVIN GATES
Kevin Gates is a Hip Hop artist who I wish would get more recognition for how talented he is. He is another artist that has never been able to completely break into the mainstream, even those his music and sound fits in so well with what is popular within Hip Hop and Trap music today. He has had multiple critically acclaimed records, but his numbers and ability to chart never come close to his talent level in my opinion. Kevin Gates’s newest release is the anthemic and very grandiose ‘Plug Daughter 2.’ On this track, Kevin Gates is sing-rapping about hanging out with his dealer’s daughter over a super large and fun melodic Trap instrumental. As always, Kevin Gates’ flows on this track are interesting and diverse, and his lyricism is extremely descriptive; Kevin Gates is great at telling stories in a way that makes them easy to understand for people who have not experienced what he has. If you love Trap music and do not know ‘Plug Daughter 2,’ make sure you check it out right away because I promise you will love it.
WHAT IT FEELS LIKE – NIPSEY HUSSLE FEAT. JAY Z
I have to start this off by saying RIP Nipsey Hussle. He was such a great influence on so many people. He was someone that decided to come back to the community he was from and try to build it up. Instead of letting his hood keep its bad reputation, he wanted to turn it into a vibrant and welcoming community. He was also one of the best underground and non-mainstream rappers in the world, known for his super smooth deliveries and extremely witty lyricism. ‘What I Feel Like’ is a single from the soundtrack for the movie Judas and the Black Messiah(which is a movie everyone should see, by the way, It is on HBO Max now). This song has a very bright and grand Jazzy instrumental that matches the feeling of the lyrics; lyrically, this track is about making it to the top of the game and what it takes to stay there. As great as Nipsey is on ‘What It Feels Like,’ Jay Z truly stands out on this record. His verse is so tough and confident and overall phenomenal. It is crazy that at 50 years old, Jay Z’s rapping is still as important and current sounding as any of the best new rappers. This track is one of the infinite reasons why Jay Z is most definitely one of the greatest of all time.
BRUUUH – JID FEAT. DENZEL CURRY
JID and Denzel Curry are two more artists that a lot of people would refer to as “underrated” or “rapper’s rappers.” Even though they are more talented than most of the new artists making Trap music right now, it seems like they never get the recognition and blow up in the way that they should. They both like to push the boundaries with their vocal styles, flows, and instrumentals they pick, and I think that sometimes some casual Hip Hop fans get rubbed the wrong way by some of their more eclectic stuff. There is nothing too strange and out of the ordinary about their latest track, ‘Bruuuh.’ This is a straightforward and cutthroat Trap track with a hard but low-key instrumental that makes you focus on the actual rapping. Both JID and Denzel Curry display the best of their abilities on this track and show you why they are both so great. Both of them use a variety of awesome flows and extremely witty lyricism which show off why they are so great at their craft. If you like more sophisticated and lyrical Trap music, ‘Bruuuh’ by JID and Denzel Curry is a song for you.
TROUBLED PARADISE – SLAYYYTER
I have been patiently waiting and anticipating what Slayyyter would do with her music after her excellent debut mixtape that came out near the end of 2019. Slayyyter is one of the new artists who is at the forefront of the experimental Hyper Pop scene that is slowly starting to infiltrate mainstream Pop music. This sound was initially created by artists like Charli XCX and Sophie, and artists are Slayyyter are putting their twist on it and making it a little more palatable to casual Pop listeners. Slayyyter’s latest single, ‘Troubled Paradise,’ is an excellent example of this. ‘Troubled Paradise’ has an 80s Synth Pop sound that reminds me a lot of artists like Madonna and Laura Branigan, which obviously fits in with a lot of the other 80s inspired music that has become very popular over the last year or so. ‘Troubled Paradise’ also has quite a few glitchy Hyper Pop moments that sound a lot like something Charli XCX would do. If you are a fan of Pop music and want to hear something completely fresh and interesting that will make you want to dance, check out ‘Troubled Paradise’ by Slayyyter.