Justin Timberlake — Man of the Woods
J.T.’s back. With the clock counting down to his Super Bowl Halftime Show performance on Sunday (Feb. 4), Justin Timberlake rolls out Man of the Woods, his fifth solo studio album and first in nearly five years.
The 37-year-old crooner’s voice commands a majority of the 16-song project, but Alicia Keys lends a hand on the mellow “Morning Light” and Chris Stapleton brings his guitar strums to “Say Something.” Otherwise, Timbaland and The Neptunes (Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo) man the boards, with additional contributions from Danja, J-Roc, and more.
High powered Hot 100 hits “Filthy” and “Supplies” led up to the release, but it’s actually meant to be more of a contemplative, personal effort. After all, Timberlake titled it after his son Silas, whose name means “man of the woods.” Taking it one step further, he recently told Beats 1 that this is his most revealing effort to date.
“It’s definitely the most introspective record I’ve made,” he said. “Everything before Man of the Woods is aspiration and Man of the Woods really is inspiration.” Get to know more about Justin Timberlake, the family man of the woods, below.
Kendrick Lamar & The Weeknd — “Pray for Me”
Kendrick Lamar and The Weeknd connect. After teaming up on “Sidewalks” from last year’s Starboy, K-Dot and Abel Tesfaye join forces again on “Pray for Me” from the upcoming Black Panther: The Album soundtrack, which Lamar’s curating and producing with TDE and the label’s CEO, Anthony “Top Dawg” Tiffith.
Following “All the Stars” (feat. SZA) and “King’s Dead” (feat. Jay Rock, James Blake, and Future), “Pray for Me” is a brooding yet triumphant anthem about the doom of the rapture and the power within each individual. “Who gon’ pray for me?” ponders Abel. “Take my pain for me? Save my soul for me? ‘Cause I’m alone, you see.” A wise Kung Fu Kenny retorts in a potent verse: “Who need a hero? You need a hero / Look in the mirror, there go your hero.”
Black Panther: The Album arrives Feb. 9 while the anxiously-awaited, record-shattering Ryan Coogler film, starring Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, and Lupita Nyong’o, opens Feb. 16.
Rich Brian — Amen
Rich Brian, formerly known as Rich Chigga, is hoping to open a new chapter in his life with the release of his debut album, Amen. After being criticized for his nonchalant use of the n-word in the viral hit “Dat $tick” (and as his alias’ inspiration), Brian opted to run with his government name instead. Born in Jakarta, Indonesia, the 18 year old says this new album is, among other things, a reflection of that shift.
“Rich Chigga isn’t me anymore,” he recently told Billboard. “Being in the United States made me realize that I wanted to [make the] change. I wanted to go a certain way with my music, a certain direction. It just felt right.” Now, he unveils a 14-song project that he mostly produced, with features from Offset, Joji, NIKI, and AUGUST 08.
The rising rapper with a deep voice, who was previously homeschooled, opens up about his changes and evolution on Amen’s opening title cut: “I went through this shit alone / Didn’t have no friends, talked to myself, we’d always get along / I’m still learning, I’m still fucking up, correct me if I’m wrong.” Meet Brian below.
Skyzoo- In Celebration Of Us
It’s a celebration! Two years after dropping The Easy Truth with Apollo Brown, Brooklyn rapper Skyzoo delivers his latest solo effort In Celebration of Us, a wide-ranging album that speaks on several issues affecting society, including police brutality, gentrification, and cultural appropriation.
“Conceptually, this is Ta-nehisi Coates meets ‘Chappelle’s Show,’ The Autobiography of Malcolm X meets ‘Black-ish,’ the case of Sandra Bland meets the birth of Air Jordans,” he recently told Billboard. “It’s intense and it’s beautiful. I’m honored to be able to give my take on our story.”
In order to do that, Sky said he wanted to tap into the issues and explore them through music over the course of 15 songs. Boasting production by !llmind and Apollo Brown and featuring appearances by Raheem DeVaughn, WordsNCurves, Kay Cola, Saba Abraha, and Jake&Papa, Zoo has also called this album “music of the times.” Celebrate with Skyzoo below.