Today is Friday, which means there are a ton of new releases to look forward to from some of your favorite Hip-Hop artists. To help you unwind and enjoy the weekend, check out VIBE’s picks of songs and albums you should hear and add to your soundtrack of weekend festivities.
Metro Boomin – Heroes & Villains
When Metro Boomin does anything, it is never half-heartedly. As one of the top producers in the game, his name is called quite often and he rarely, if ever, misses the mark. Thus, it came as no surprise that the St. Louis multi-talent put so much effort into the rollout for Heroes & Villians with trailers, short films, comic book graphics, and overall excitement.
The four-year wait between Not All Heroes Wear Capes and this effort proved worthwhile from the moment the John Legend-assisted album opener begins. “On Time” features Boomin’s constant collaborator, the legendary actor Morgan Freeman, and samples Homelander and The Boys. This album parallels a movie score, with cinematic production falling on the spectrum of hauntingly beautiful and refreshingly jovial. Future, Travis Scott, 21 Savage, and Don Toliver make up most of the project’s features, but The Weeknd offers a standout performance on “Creepin’,” which is a modern cover of Mario Winans’ classic “I Don’t Wanna Know.”
Young Thug and Gunna shine in their solo outings on “Metro Spider” and “All The Money,” respectively. Though JAY-Z doesn’t have an official verse on the album, his “Dark knight feeling” line from 2010’s “So Appalled” gets flipped before Chris Brown ascends on “Superhero (Heroes & Villains).” The first posthumous Takeoff verse also comes later on “Feel The Fiyaaaah” and though it is a bit eerie knowing he will never get to perform it, there is comfort in knowing he was just as cold as ever when it came to rapping.
Metro Boomin’s Heroes & Villians is a movie-score-sounding project that any company would be foolish not to sync in any of their upcoming films. Marvel and DC, you are on the clock. — Armon Sadler
Latto – “FTCU” (Feat. GloRilla, Gangsta Boo)
“FTCU” is a link-up of epic proportions. Latto and GloRilla rap with aggression over a flip of Three 6 Mafia’s “Tear Da Club Up,” though more along the vein of Waka Flocka Flame’s “F**k The Club Up.” The young artists, two of 2022’s all-stars, send firm warning shots out to their haters.
“Start a bottle war, these bi**hes barely keepin’ up/ Muggin’ like they want some smoke but they ain’t deep enough,” the Columbus, Ohio rapper says. GloRilla matches her energy, asserting “Four cars full of shooters just in case they try to follow me/ Keep them pistols in the party, we don’t go by policies.” This record is a reminder that the women who can hypnotize us with their sensual auras can equally strike fear in us without hesitation. No club is safe when people are threatening Latto and GloRilla. — AS
Babyface Ray – MOB
Babyface Ray continues to make his presence felt with his latest offering MOB, the follow-up to his debut album FACE, which finds the rising star building on the momentum set with his previous offering. Gliding atop somber piano keys and 808 drums on the opening cut “Waves On Every Chain,” Ray mixes insights into his daily operatives with contemplative moments.
Ratcheting up the tempo on “Wonderful Wayne and Jackie Boy,” the Detroit spitter falls in tandem with Lil Durk, one of the multiple coconspirators that join him along his 18-track rhyme spree. Blxst and Nija assist in conjuring sensual vibes on “Spend It,” while Samuel Shabazz and King Hendrick$ complete a formidable triumvirate on “Wavy Gang Immortal.” Fully adept at carrying his own weight, Babyface does just that on the solo cuts “Nice Guy,” as well as Vonnie Song, “Code+ Love Me Some More,” and the enthralling finale “Famous.”
Bookending what’s proved to be a landmark year in his career with MOB, Ray puts forth an impressive long player that lends further reason to view his recent streak of dominance as more trend than fluke. – Preezy Brown
A$AP Rocky – “Sh*ttin’ Me”
A$AP Rocky is bewildered ain’t anyone thinking they can compare to him on “Sh*ttin’ Me.” The production oozes his usual Houston sound, blending trap seamlessly. “Why they chose my pubes anytime they tryna sit?/ Couldn’t ride my wave and now you ridin’ d**k,” the “Fashion Killa” spits. The record comes off as a scoffing but genuine confusion. Given all Rocky has achieved in his career, both in music and beyond, his perspective makes sense. This is one of his best outings in quite some time, and one can’t help but acknowledge a new edge to his confidence after becoming a father alongside Rihanna. — AS
Chinx Drugz – CR6
Late rap star Chinx’s team unleashes his latest project, CR6, his third studio album and second posthumous effort since being tragically gunned down in his hometown in 2015. The release finds the Queens rep wasting no time finding his footing, as he comes “Straight Out The Gate” with a pulsating thumper that sets the stage for the remainder of the proceedings.
The late Coke Boy is reunited with his crewmates on multiple occasions throughout CR6, beginning with the standout “Rollin in The Dope”‘ featuring Zack, while French Montana joins the pair on “Don’t Wanna Talk.” While Chinx shines by his lonesome on the raucous party-starter “Wide Open,” the album’s finest offerings come from its collaborative efforts. Offset lends a stanza to “Lonely,” and dancehall legend Sizzla adds a Caribbean tinge to “On Purpose.”
His physical form may be absent among us, but Chinx’s spirit and creativity remain alive and well. And CR6 provides another collection of songs from one of rap’s fallen stars while adding to his enduring legacy. — PB
Coi Leray – “Players”
“Players” is an immediate earworm as it samples “The Message” by Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five. The upbeat nature of the record is the ideal canvas for Coi Leray to utilize her hybrid talent of rapping and singing. The song’s message is empowering for women, repeatedly saying “Girls is players too.” The “No More Parties” artist is living this life to the fullest and it authentically comes off as so. Coi does the sample much justice. What more can you ask for? — AS
Akon – TT Freak
Akon makes his return with his new TT Freak EP, a seven-track project that finds the veteran crooner and talent monger serving up songs tailor-made to be utilized by users on the TikTok platform. Tackling a familiar sample on the early highlight “Enjoy That,” Akon shows his songwriting ability remains intact, as he crafts an enticing number, despite the blatant retread. The Senegalese star also uses the EP as an opportunity to showcase the next generation of Konvict—AMirror steals the spotlight on “Prolly F**k” and “More Than That,” while Nektunez lends his musical panache to the rollicking jam “Sleep.” —PB
La Chat And Crunchy Black – Hood
Former Three-6-Mafia members Crunchy Black and La Chat join forces for their new joint album, Hood, which finds the two Tennessee titans offering up a bevy of aggressive anthems that speak to the heart of the trenches. Repping ghettos worldwide on the album’s first selection, the pair begin to hit their stride shortly after, reeling off a string of high-powered salvos, especially on “Slide” and the Gangsta Boo-assisted Ain’t Gone Last.” Coming from Memphis, Chat and Black unveiling an album without a few club bangers would border on criminal, a benchmark that’s met with “Hype in da Club,” “Bust a Head,” and the menacing “Lick Back.” — PB
Baby Tron And Allstar JR – “MMA”
BabyTron and Allstar JR aptly beat the production up on their latest single “MMA.” As two young talents pushing forward the Detroit sound and collaborating for the third time, their chemistry is beyond palpable. The duo excels with their humorous, left-field punchlines like “Grab the 30 just to come out with the kids/ Boy my pop dirty as a bum under the bridge” and “Walter White with it, unky cook it like he Malcolm dad/ Fairy tale life, I’m just blowing fire dragon bags.” There is a rawness to their delivery that makes their lyrics feel like true recounts of their lives, which you can’t ask for more of in this state of rap where the truth and fallacies get blurred. — AS