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.
Kash Doll x DJ Drama – Back On Dexter
A lot has changed for Kash Doll since releasing her debut album Stacked back in 2019. Motherhood, a flourishing acting career, and a new label situation later, the Detroit native reemerges alongside DJ Drama for Back On Dexter, her first Gangsta Grillz mixtape and first full-length release in more than three years. “Pardon my postpartum, I’m back eating now,” Kash raps, alluding to the birth of her son, Kashton, as being a contributing factor to her extended hiatus.
However, the layoff hasn’t diminished the raptress’ ferocity, as she sounds hungrier than ever while going toe-to-toe with a handful of Motor City emcees across the mixtape’s 11 tracks. Femme fatales attack on “Add It Up” as Kash is joined by Lakeyah for a brooding number filled with prideful boasts and sneers at the competitors. The winning streak continues on the Payroll Giovanni-assisted “Legit,” a bouncy cut exuding celebratory vibes, while Peezy pops up to talk “Heavy,” with the BMF actress listing off her income streams and pricey possessions in carefree fashion. Spinning blocks with Icewear Vezzo on “RNQ,” and laughing at the cash deficient on “Strugglin,” Kash Doll throws down the gauntlet with Back On Dexter, a release that finds her returning from her sabbatical in epic fashion. – Preezy Brown
Shy Glizzy – Flowers
Washington D.C. mainstay Shy Glizzy unleashes Flowers, the veteran’s latest studio LP, which clocks in at a robust 20 tracks. The follow-up to 2021’s Don’t Feed The Sharks, this effort captures Jefe in a rejuvenated state musically, offering up a succession of solo outings with a handful of his superstar peers joining him along the ride. Opening with the heartfelt Chris Brown collab “No Days Off,” Flowers hits its crescendo on standouts like the twangy “Old Friends, New Opps,” “Dapper Don,” and “Movies.” YoungBoy Never Broke Again, 21 Savage, and EST Gee also make their presence felt with their own contributions, adding to what accounts as a solid body of work on the part of Glizzy. – PB
Babyface Ray x 42 Dugg – “Ron Artest”
Babyface Ray and 42 Dugg offer a relentless, no-hook performance on “Ron Artest” that mirrors the intensity and scrappiness that the retired NBA player exhibited on the court. Ray kicks the track off with nimble flows, dismissing sideline coaches, pleasing a woman while driving his car, and not being about the “rap sh*t.” The Detroit rapper continues to go off before Dugg jumps in for a quick 8 bars. “Ayy, free Ric, I’m hold it down ‘til he here/ Fifty thousand on me, getting’ head in the Lear’/ This the big jet, got a bed in the Lear’/ Baby goin’ crazy, me and Ced in the chair.” Ray and Dugg’s chemistry makes this a worthwhile two-and-a-half-minute listen even if it’s nothing more than them bragging about their luxuries. – Armon Sadler
J.I. – One Way Or Another
Months removed from his previous drop, J.I. doubles back with One Way Or Another, a 14-track-long player that continues the young Brooklynite’s quest for recognition as one of the more promising talents of his era. Preceded by the lead-up singles “It’s Officially Done” and “Black Roses,” the project begins on a solemn note with “Save You (Intro),” as J.I. voices his regrets over love lost amid recollections of traitorous associates past. “I move notorious like B.I.G., I do this sh*t for Brooklyn,” the 21-year-old declares on “Do It Just Like Me,” a selection that finds him musing in a cocksure, yet measured tone.
Abandonment issues and emotional scars are brandished on “Broken Dreams,” while accusations of treachery and deceit are cast on “So So,” two numbers that stand out, even on a tracklist primed with an ample amount of firepower, to boot. Tapping into the dance genre with the upbeat jam “Want You To Myself,” J.I. covers various bases on One Way Or Another, an effort indicative of his evolution from prince to king. – PB
NAV – “Lately”
NAV displays the duality of a relationship on “Lately.” The 33-year-old has real love for his partner, but recently things have been difficult so he needs some space. At some points in the record, he sounds completely done with the relationship: “I got money now, so love is cheap/ You should do somethin’ with yourself, always worried ‘bout me/ I done got you bags, got you bags galore/ So why you botherin’ me, botherin’ me for?” At other points, he is secure in his feelings despite the drama: “Got a lot goin’ on, I know it’s hard to deal with me/ Never let sh*t get to my head, I’m stayin’ solid/ Baby, you can bet on me, I’m already all in.” The production is downtempo and has a house music element to it. It’s spacious enough to convey the uncertainty in Nav’s thoughts as he goes back and forth between wanting to leave and assuring his lady that he will stay. All in all, it’s a realistic depiction of complicated love. – AS
Young Scooter x EST Gee – “Come Eat Wit Us”
Young Scooter’s goal on “Come Eat Wit Us” was to “make music for the streets” and he couldn’t have chosen a better collaborator than EST Gee. The cover art is their own version of The Last Supper and they’re symbolically and literally inviting people to pull up a seat at the table. “Dope boy, street ni**a, cut your plug off, come eat with us/ Jugg with the gang, come eat with the gang/ You’ll get your head bust for watchin’ a chain/ Everybody equal, we don’t give out stain/ Kept it real with my ni**as, never switch lanes,” Scooter raps in the chorus. In his verse, he echoes similar sentiments and questions how rappers are satisfied walking around with fake chains because he could never. Gee pops in for the second verse, addressing the comparisons he gets to early Jeezy. “I’m on TV, showin’ my jewelry off, droppin’ a V/ They on computers, I’m a shooter in real life, not on beats.” Scooter feels like there’s a lack of hustler music, and he and Gee can fill that void. If there are more records like this to come from the duo, then that will be accomplished. – AS
Ghostluvme x Lil Uzi Vert – “Fact”
Ghostluvme and Lil Uzi Vert tell endless truths on “Fact.” Uzi kicks the record off with his vintage shape-shifting flows. “I do the crime and I don’t need a mask/ I still walk around, Balmain on my a**/ I walk around with a whole lotta gas/ Not in the mall but I’m poppin’ them tags.” He also commands the lengthy hook, asserting that he cannot love a woman because he is in love with money. Ghostluvme jumps in next, pledging his loyalty to his brothers because he cannot fathom loving a woman. “Bih, it’s Ghostluv me, I came with a bag/ Crackers are mad ‘casue their bi**h call me dad/ Crackers are mad ‘cause I tripled my racks/ Talk sh*t in public, you’ll probably get smacked.” Together, the melodic duo put together a moneymaking anthem with a tunnel vision focus. Distractions don’t put bread in their pockets. – AS
Ron Suno – It’s My Time
Ron Suno returns with his latest album It’s My Time, the Bronx rapper’s first project of the new year, which finds him treading familiar territory, both sonically and contextually. When “On Court,” Suno shows no remorse, as he attacks the opening salvo like a man possessed. “I’m winning everyday, I cannot take a loss,” barks the 22-year-old, as he runs roughshod atop a frenetic drill track.
It’s My Time truly catches its stride midway through, as Suno finds his footing on the piano-driven “Drifting Away,” a melodic inclusion where the rapper mixes flirtatious advances with murderous threats. “I got 30 in this clip, got me feeling like Stephen,” he raps, turning in one of the album’s biggest highlights. While Suno shines on solo outings like “PSD,” It’s My Time also includes a bushel of guest spots, the best of which come courtesy of Dallas rhymer Asian Doll (“Andrew “Wiggins”) and Brooklyn rep Rah Swish (“She Love Me”). While the music can border on repetitive and yields few surprises in terms of expansion or evolution, for those in love with the vibes of Suno past, It’s My Time is a safe bet to put on your watch. – PB
Central Cee – “Me & You”
Central Cee mostly abandons his usually high-energy, humorous raps for something a bit more heartfelt on “Me & You.” The pace is slowed, but the passion remains the same—it’s just for a woman. “You ain’t gotta worry ‘bout nobody else, it’s me and you/ Bought you a bag, now that guy’s askin’ what I see in you/ Put you on the ‘gram, now they wanna take pics like me and you/ They wanna take trips like, alright.” The UK rapper is reveling in being other people’s couple goals, but more so the happiness he feels from the object of his affection. Even though they’re flexing on socials, he wants to remain low so the public doesn’t mess things up for them. As for the humor, he does elicit a chuckle when he references his infamous “how can I be homophobic?” line on “Doja” with the bar “When I said that my bi*ch was gay, I didn’t mean that sh*t in a degradin’ way.” Central Cee is saying whatever to convey his love, and we’ve all been there. – AS