Beyoncé — The Lion King: The Gift (Deluxe)
To celebrate the release of her highly-anticipated Disney+ film Black Is King, Beyoncé unveiled the deluxe edition of last year’s The Lion King: The Gift. The visual also works as an accompanying piece to the original.
“Black Is King is a labor of love. It is my passion project that I have been filming, researching and editing day and night for the past year. I’ve given it my all and now it’s yours,” Bey told fans on social media. “It was originally filmed as a companion piece to The Lion King: The Gift soundtrack and meant to celebrate the breadth and beauty of Black ancestry.”
Now, the film has an even greater emphasis, Bey said. “I could never have imagined that a year later, all the hard work that went into this production would serve a greater purpose,” she added. “The events of 2020 have made the film’s vision and message even more relevant, as people across the world embark on a historic journey.”
The freshly-released deluxe version of the album features the recently-released “Black Parade” and a remix of “Find Your Way Back” produced by MeLo-X. As if that weren’t enough, Queen Bey also dropped a teaser for the film in the form of a music video for “ALREADY” featuring Shatta Wale and Major Lazer.
Watch the visual and stream the deluxe edition of The Lion King: The Gift below.
Nicki Minaj feat. A$AP Ferg & MadeinTYO — “Move Ya Hips”
Nicki Minaj and A$AP Ferg have become quite a one-two punch. The duo previously made waves on “Plain Jane Remix” and “Runnin.” Now, they’re back at it with the MadeinTYO-assisted “Move Ya Hips.”
Over Frankie P’s production, Nicki takes on her enemies. “All of you b*tches is food / If you the opps, you gon’ be singing the blues,” she raps. “Feeling like Bishop in Juice / Word to my dude, this Jimmy Choo on my shoes.”
Ferg also flexes throughout. “Diamonds all on my gums / Talking my sh*t, I got runs,” he brags. “Pockets is fat like the Klumps / Rappers is lookin’ like lunch / I’m making a mill when I munch.”
With MadeinTYO delivering the hook, Nicki and Ferg find time to go back and forth as well, shouting out Harlem and Queens. The trio also released a visualizer music video to go with the track.
“Move Ya Hips” with the trio below.
After making a name for himself with Griselda, critically acclaimed rapper Benny The Butcher brings his Black Soprano Family to the forefront with the release of the group’s new DJ Drama-hosted mixtape.
The offering features BSF capos Ricky Hyde, Loveboat Luciano, Jonesy, and Heem. Benny also rhymes throughout, serving up more of the street and business-inspired bars he’s known for.
“I evolved, now look at me, I’m a boss / You gotta book me with all my dogs / Chose the streets ‘cause she the one took me with all my flaws,” Benny raps on “It’s Over.” “I turned my hobby into a separate business / Sick of those detective visits.”
Benny has said that his BSF vision was partly inspired by the growth he experienced within Griselda. “I want to bring talent to the table that people wouldn’t have originally got to hear,” he told Complex. “You wouldn’t have heard of Conway if it wasn’t for Westside Gunn. You wouldn’t have heard of Benny if it wasn’t for Westside Gunn. I want to do the same thing for other artists.”
Meet the Black Soprano Family below.
Brandy — B7
Eight years removed from her Two Eleven LP, Brandy returns with her newest album, B7. This time around, the legendary singer delivers a 15-song project full of personal material.
Brandy spoke on motherhood with her lead single “Baby Mama.” The album also addresses mental health on “Bye BiPolar.” “Bye BiPolar / I don’t really want no more disorder,” she sings. “You strung me like thread / I was damn near dead / You f*cked with my head…I cried and cried and cried and cried and cried / Died and died and died and died alive.”
Brandy explained why the album is meant to be a part of the healing process for many. “I believe that music heals,” she told Billboard. “Music is the language that we all speak. It is what we all need, and I feel like we need it more now than we ever have. This is the year where we all need to feel like we have something to get us through.”
She added: “I was a little hesitant with putting out music in this time because, of course, you want to speak to the times. I’m thinking, ‘My music is not about exactly what’s going on right now.’ But then I thought, ‘But this is the time where people need to feel like they have something to just escape and just help them heal.’”
Heal with B7 below.
E-40 — The Curb Commentator: Channel 2
E-40 continues his prolific career with the release of The Curb Commentator: Channel 2.
The new 5-track effort features Big K.R.I.T., Stresmatic, Chippas, and Milla. Meanwhile, the legendary Earl Stevens drops knowledge over booming beats, ofren reflecting on his well-established legacy in the game.
“It’s unfortunate they don’t educate the youth about pioneers / Like E-40, he’s living proof, I’m top tier,” he raps on “Goop.” “I got some game for your ear / I clean up well with my gear / My heart don’t pump any fear / Another year and I’m here / with a kickass career.”
40 also raps about police brutality and racism on multiple tracks. “It’s not over, it’s the beginnin’, the funk is still pendin’,” he raps on “The Funk Is Still Pending.” “I see no signs of it stoppin’, no signs of endin’.” On “Black Is Beautiful” he adds: “Black history should be a mandatory class in school.”
Listen to The Curb Commentator below.