2021 Costume Institute Benefit - In America: A Lexicon of Fashion

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Lil Nas X — MONTERO

Lil Nas X has built up quite a buzz around his new album. Now, the chart-topping star finally delivers his highly-anticipated Montero LP.

The 15-song album is a star-studded affair. Jack Harlow appears on the smash single “Industry Baby.” Elsewhere, Nas taps Doja Cat (“Scoop”), Elton John (“One of Me”), Megan Thee Stallion (“Dolla Sign Slime”), and Miley Cyrus (“Am I Dreaming”) to join him for this offering.

High-profile producers are part of the party as well. The album was executive produced by Take A Daytrip and Omer Fedi and it features production from Nick Mira, Ryan Tedder, Blake Slatkin, Roy Lenzo, and more.

Nas recently spoke with Apple Music about the new project. “I am so proud,” he explained during a conversation with host Zane Lowe. “I committed to that and 100 percent gave my all. I can say that.” He went on: “This has been a spiritual journey, this album.”

Mac Miller — “Colors and Shapes”

Mac Miller’s Faces mixtape is getting ready to hit streaming services. In anticipation of the event, the late great rapper’s estate has rolled out a highlight in “Colors and Shapes.”

Produced by Mac Miller and frequent collaborator Thundercat, the fan favorite track is a smooth and soothing standout. “They invade your minds and then fill them with nonsense, these things that a man doesn’t need,” he sings on the track. “Take out the love and the passion and hope and they fill it with nothing but greed.”

Faces came out back in 2014 and it will now be on streaming services. Miller’s estate confirmed that the project will be out Oct. 15. For now, the official vinyl is available for pre-order. Stream Colors and Shapes below.

D Smoke — “Common Sense”

It’s a family affair as D Smoke teams up with his brother SiR on a brand new single, “Common Sense.”

Produced by J.Mo, the new track features a nimble Smoke flow and some insightful questions. “Hate ain’t worth a dollar, and a lie ain’t worth a cent,” he raps on the track. “So who you working for? Who you represent?” He later asks: “What’s the price we pay for common sense or that grain we go against?”

SiR joins his brother on the track, showcasing his evocative vocal stylings. “There’s a price on my head for playing my position,” he sings. “Half of my heart been misled, the other half give direction, but I halfway listen.”

Smoke is currently prepping the release of his forthcoming album, War & Wonders. The project, a followup to his 2020 offering Black Habits, is due to arrive Sept. 24. Listen to “Common Sense” below.

Common — A Beautiful Revolution (Pt. 2)

Speaking of “Common Sense,” Common has been prepping for the release of his new album, A Beautiful Revolution, Pt. 2 with singles this year. Now, the time has come to unleash his latest offering in the form of an 11-song LP.

The Black Thought and Seun Kuti-assisted “When We Move” appears on the album. So does the PJ-boasting “Imagine.” Elsewhere, PJ shows up on other cuts like “Set It Free,” “Majesty (Where We Gonna Take It),” and “Star of the Gang.” The effort also includes a collaboration with Brittany Howard (“Saving Grace”).

Com Sense recently spoke with The Recording Academy about the new project. “The intention is to put out energy that’s like, ‘What’s love? What’s self-empowerment? Where can we find joy? How do we create hope for ourselves in times where things have been difficult?’” he explained during that interview. “There’s been a lot of hurt out there. There’s been a lot of loss and a lot of the unknown. A lot of change for us. But I still believe in the power of human beings and the power of God. We can be positive and put good things out there and create happier days and times.”

Listen to A Beautiful Revolution (Pt. 2).

Tems — If Orange Was a Place

Just as she rises up the charts with WizKid’s “Essence” and the Justin Bieber-assisted remix, Tems unloads her newest project, If Orange Was a Place.

As the title suggests, the five-song offering was inspired by the color. “Orange is a vibe,” she told Apple Music in the album notes. “It is the feeling of sunset and the sweetness of an orange. And when I think of those songs, I am transported to a different place where everything is warm and sweet.”

Tems’ Brent Faiyaz collaboration “Found” is an immediate standout here. Over GuiltyBeatz production, Tems sings about love and life. “People always try to get involved,” she sings. “I feel like I’m done and don’t know where to run / People always trying to take a bite out of my mind / If you need a fight, maybe we can start.” Later, she asks: “Tell me why you can’t be found.”

For his part, Brent pops up on the second verse. “Before this gets out of hand, no more distance, let’s just dance,” he sings. “I’ll mind my manners, won’t take advantage, trust, I can manage that / Can you picture that?”

Tems talked about the track in the aforementioned album notes on Apple Music. “I was in LA with Brent,” she said. “He is such an amazing artist. He always knows how to bring a different perspective. The song is really about releasing different thoughts in my head and reconciling them with my truth.”

Stream If Orange Was a Place below.