Today is Friday, which marks the end of the workweek for many of us. It also means there’s a ton of new releases to look forward to from your favorite rap and R&B artists. And even if you find yourself on the clock this weekend or tending to other responsibilities, these songs will bring some much-needed levity and help you power through the madness of the tedious and mundane. To help you unwind and enjoy the holiday weekend and keep your playlist fresh, check out VIBE’s picks of songs to put in immediate rotation.
Common and PJ – “Imagine”
Veteran boardsman Karriem Riggins constructs a smooth slice of boom-bap with this track from Common and frequent collaborator PJ. It flips a sample of Rene & Angela’s 1981 hit “Imaginary Playmates,” the same number heard on JAY-Z’s Vol. 1 cut, “Imaginary Players.” Rhyming over guitars and harps, Common envisions a life without a police state, where equal opportunity and spirituality reigns, and other imaginative thoughts, while PJ takes the track home with a pleasant vocal performance of her own.
Airy synths and 808s comprise the foundation of this loosie from Brent Faiyaz that is believed to be the latest drop from the crooner’s much-anticipated project, Make It Out Alive, due to drop later this year. Produced by the Neptunes, with a clutch guest verse from Drake, you’d be cheating yourself if you waste any time before adding this jam to your musical rotation.
G Herbo collides with 21 Savage on this aggressive salvo from the Chicagoan’s new release, 25, the fourth solo studio album of Herbo’s career. Produced by Hitmaka, Skip On Da Beat, and Cris Serrano, this boisterous offering finds Herbo rhyming about spinning blocks in a literal game of Call of Duty. 21 gets trigger happy and comes heavy with the gun talk, alluding to his collection of artillery.
The shattering of hearts is the topic of conversation on this infectious number from incarcerated rapper YNW Melly, who continues to churn out bangers in spite of his present circumstance. Hooking up with rising R&B songstress Queen Naija, Melly puts forth a summer-ready duet, emoting over breezy production courtesy of Yung Shad & Yarico Beats.
“Hard for me to love, I threw my heart away / Baby, I’m filled with pain, just heal my scars away,” Yungeen Ace belts out on this solemn offering from the Jacksonville rep’s debut album, Life of Betrayal 2x, which touches on the ruthlessness and distrust that comes from living in the trenches. Produced by Karltin Bankz, LondnBlue, Louie Montana, and Beezo—with posthumous vocals from slain Chicago rapper King Von, “Hardaway” is an instant winner upon pressing play and stands as one of the superior tracks from Ace’s debut.
Peezy – “We Don’t Scam”
Detroit rapper Peezy returns with Free Rio, his first full-length project since his release from federal custody earlier this year, after serving an 18-month sentence on several racketeering charges. “We Don’t Scam,” a KMoneyBeats-produced track on which Peezy admits to peddling marijuana, but refutes any allegations of him or his Team Eastside crew of scamming, is a sure-shot standout that finds the rhymer hitting on all cylinders.
Scorp Dezel cooks up a pulsating track for Young Buck to do his bidding over on this highlight from the Nashville legend’s new body of work, 40 Days and 40 Nights, which finds him playing off the popular social media phrase for a rollicking banger. Featuring a guest appearance from Tray8, this cut finds Buck in vintage form, proving he has more than enough left in the tank to recapture his past glory in spite of recent controversies.
“And we only here ’cause we dreamed it, I promise I’ll slide for my day ones,” Brooklyn rapper CoachDaGhost vows on this addictive ditty from his new mixtape, Ghost Stories, a project that looks to get the greater public familiar with the Atlantic Records signee. Boasting a guest spot from Ray Mula, “Day Ones” is a fresh recording from Coach that balances out the previously released cuts on Ghost Stories and packs as much replay value as any other song on its tracklist.
After making his debut Billboard Hot 100 appearance alongside Pooh Sheisty on “Neighbors,” Memphis rapper BIG30 ratchets up the momentum with this collaboration with Yo Gotti, which finds the pair flexing their wealth and street cred. “Big Gotti, what you think they call me King for,” the CMG boss asks, reeling off a highlight verse that perfectly compliments his younger counterpart, as well as the backdrop crafted by producers K Akira and Yung Dee.
YSB Tril – “HOTSHOT”
YSB Tril looks to take the leap from small-town wonder to rising star with his new mixtape, HOTSHOT, led by its titular track, which is an uptempo party-starter produced by Jai Beats. “Oh damn, I feel like a hotshot,” Tril spits, distinguishing himself as a self-made boss caught in the trappings of success and fame, a proper introduction for the North Carolina native and Interscope Records’ latest prized prospect.