Beyoncé — RENAISSANCE
Queen Bey’s RENAISSANCE is here! Six years after the lauded Lemonade LP, Beyoncé drops her newest album. This highly-anticipated offering boasts 16 new songs including the already-out “BREAK MY SOUL.”
Yoncé crafted this album [and its forthcoming two acts] over the course of “three years during the pandemic,” according to a statement. “Creating this album allowed me a place to dream and to find escape during a scary time for the world,” she said. “It allowed me to feel free and adventurous in a time when little else was moving.”
In fact, Queen Bey said the album was created as a “safe place.” “A place to be free of perfectionism and overthinking; a place to scream, release, feel freedom,” she wrote in her statement. “It was a beautiful journey of exploration.”
Listen to that journey of exploration on RENAISSANCE — the first of three acts — below.
Calvin Harris feat. Normani, Tinashe & Offset — “New to You”
Calvin Harris is still prepping for Funk Wav Bounces Vol. 2. This week, the producer keeps the momentum going with “New to You” featuring the talented trio of Normani, Tinashe, and Offset.
First, Tinashe kicks off the star-studded collab with an opening verse. “You never had a wild one like this,” she promises. Afterwards, Mani handles the hook before Offset’s vulnerable third verse, in which he raps: “I was dead on relationships, you made me feel like living.”
Harris recently spoke about the feature-heavy work he’s done on the Funk Wav series. “I can work with artists and they can express themselves in a way that they can’t do on their own music but they sort of want to,” he told Apple Music. “It’s like there’s no pressure. If you’re an artist, I’ll give you a platform to go and do this and have a laugh.”
Listen to “New to You” below.
Quavo & Takeoff feat. Gucci Mane — “Us vs Them”
Offset isn’t the only Migos member dropping new music this week. In fact, both Quavo and Takeoff released a new single in “Us vs Them” featuring Gucci Mane.
“Gave my partner fifty cent, he shot many men,” Takeoff raps on the track with a clever nod to Curtis Jackson. “If it’s us versus them, who you think gon’ win?” Later, Huncho adds: “Came from nothing, now my Lambo look like dolphin fins.”
In the wake of Migos breakup rumors, Quavo spoke with GQ about the trio’s evolution. “It was all about Migos, Migos, Migos. The three of us,” he said. “I feel like every group member has to establish themselves. Their own body of work. If not, you start losing members.”
Additionally, Gucci Mane, who appears on “Us vs Them,” also dropped a new solo single today in “Dissin the Dead.” “We need to stop dissing the dead,” he warns on the solo cut. “I know my tongue is a sword, I know I should be more careful with s—t that I said / I feel like I started a trend / They never gon’ stop, they gon’ keep dissing the dead.”
Listen to “Us vs Them” above and “Dissin the Dead” below.
Wiz Khalifa — Multiverse
Wiz Khalifa is celebrating the start of a new tour with a new album. As he embarks on the Vinyl Verse concert run with Logic, the Pittsburgh chart-topper unveils a new 17-song LP, Multiverse.
Khalifa says the album — which features THEY. and Girl Talk — is meant to showcase his maturity as an artist. “[Multiverse] shows a lot of growth,” he told Stereogum. “It gives me an opportunity to touch on a lot of different subjects and talk about things in different ways, but still get the same respect or reaction.”
Moreover, the album also exemplifies a type of creative “freedom,” according to Wiz. “[It] shows a lot of freedom as far as taking risks, designing things the way I see them fit, and also not going straight towards a trend or what they see as popular, but to create something else and give people the option to dive into it,” he added.
Listen to Multiverse below.
Various Artists — Black Panther: Wakanda Forever Prologue
Moviegoers rejoiced as Marvel unveiled the Black Panther: Wakanda Forever trailer this week. To celebrate that occasion, the influential film franchise also revealed a musical preview of what’s to come with Black Panther: Wakanda Forever Prologue.
TEMS, Amaarae, and Santa Fe Klan all have solo songs on this release with TEMS covering Bob Marley and the Wailers’ “No Woman No Cry” — as heard in the trailer. Furthermore, Oscar, GRAMMY, and Emmy-winning musician Ludwig Göransson produced this project and spoke about it in a joint statement with the film’s director, Ryan Coogler.
“This Prologue is an aural first glimpse of Wakanda Forever,” they said, per Marvel. “The sound world for the film began with extended trips to Mexico and Nigeria. We spent our days working with traditional musicians who educated us about the cultural, social and historical contexts of their music…During the nights on these trips, we had recording sessions with contemporary artists who were akin to the characters and thematic material explored in the film.”
Indeed, all the aforementioned work developed into much more. “The instrumental score and soundtrack for Wakanda Forever both organically grew from these sessions and workshops,” the joint statement adds. “They are conceived together as a singular entity to create an immersive and enveloping sound world for the film.”
Listen to Black Panther: Wakanda Forever Prologue below.
NAV feat. Travis Scott & Lil Baby — “Never Sleep”
NAV taps frequent collaborators Travis Scott and Lil Baby for his newest single, “Never Sleep.” It’s a star-studded song across the board, as Tay Keith, Mike Dean, and Grayson produced the anti-sleep cut.
For his part, NAV gets some things off his chest. “If a producer don’t take off his tag, I’ll do it myself and I’ll remake the beat,” NAV says on the joint. “When I go shoppin’, I’m spendin’ a bag, it touch the floor when I hold up the receipt / I been goin’ ghost and my doors on suicide / Lookin’ in the mirror like, ‘I really am that guy.’”
In addition to this, La Flame delivers a verse of his own. “I gave her the land, the sand, and all the views, and really all you did was plot,” he raps. Lil Baby later adds his own touch to the song: “Why you tryna compete with me?” he asks. “Know you can’t see me / I go the hardest and then I press repeat.”
Listen to “Never Sleep” below.