With so much good music steadily coming through, it's easy to miss some of the best. To help prevent this, we've rounded up the best new songs of the month. Here are the songs you can't afford to skip, in no particular order.
Drake - "Nice For What"
Drake's latest offering, a party anthem called "Nice For What", is an effervescent and undeniably danceable celebration of women. "Nice For What" opens with a vocal sample from Big Freedia and then erupts into an endlessly catchy affair driven by Drake's buoyant rapping and a chopped up Lauryn Hill sample. Murda Beatz's production draws heavily upon New Orleans bounce for inspiration, injecting the song with energy.
As the vibrant production booms beneath him, Drake spits endearing lyrics about his admiration for women and their strength and resilience. The song's uplifting accompanying video, directed by 22-year-old Karena Evans, features cameos from Issa Rae, Syd, Tiffany Haddish, and many other talented women from several creative fields. In 2018, Drake is the happiest version of himself, and his joyous energy is contagious.—Charlotte Freitag
The Internet - "Roll (Burbank Funk)"
Some of us have been simultaneously waiting for the warm weather to finally stick around and for The Internet to come back with more music. We probably didn't expect to receive the answer to both of those prayers in the same day, but here we are. After giving each member the breathing room to release brilliant solo projects of their own, The Internet has finally gotten back together to deliver more heat.
Their latest single "Roll (Burbank Funk)" is a feel-good jam from beginning to end. The title says it all as it's an incredibly funky record that would actually be perfect for the roller rink. The band's youngest member, Steve Lacy, takes the lead with his smooth vocals as Syd helps complete the balance with her sweet harmonies. If this is just the first preview of what's to come, we're all in for a very special treat.—Adrienne Black
Post Malone - "Sugar Wraith"
Post Malone's new album Beerbongs & Bentleys is long—18 songs and over an hour of music—but he saved the best for last. Throughout the album, Post shows off a decent amount of range, from slower acoustic ballads to trap-tinged pop hits. On the final song, "Sugar Wraith," he combines all his strengths. It's one of the catchiest choruses on the whole project, but it's also a moody, bass-heavy track with just enough space in all the right places. It will be interesting to see which songs from Post's album become the mainstream favorites—who would've guessed that "I Fall Apart" and "Congratulations" would emerge as major radio hits?—but "Sugar Wraith" definitely has all the ingredients.—Jacob Moore
Lykke Li - "Deep End"
Earlier this month, Lykke Li said that her next album will return to a more pop-leaning sound, and the Swedish singer delivered on her promise with the announcement of her new album so sad so sexy and two new singles. "Hard Rain" is a more contemplative slow-burner, but "Deep End" goes all-in on the pop approach, and it's one of Lykke's most immediate songs to date. Even with the big hook and a build-up reminiscent of *NSYNC's "Bye Bye Bye," there's a timeless quality to Lykke Li's songwriting that gives "Deep End" more substance than a disposable pop hit. The album so sad so sexy comes June 8.—Jacob Moore
A$AP Rocky ft. Moby - "A$AP Forever"
A$AP Rocky has made some interesting sample choices on his records, from Aaliyah and Imogen Heap to Cypress Hill and Ol' Dirty Bastard. Building "A$AP Forever" around Moby's "Porcelain," however, is one of his most surprising moves yet, but it works so well.
Moby's haunting melodies provide the perfect backbone of a moody rap beat, and hearing Rocky ad lib over the full section of "Porcelain" that plays out around the two minute mark is a perfect interlude. It didn't hurt that "A$AP Forever" was released with an incredible video directed by Dexter Navy, but if there's one thing Rocky's never had trouble with, it's presenting a cohesive artistic vision, from sound to style to visuals.—Alex Gardner
Kali Uchis ft. Steve Lacy - "Just a Stranger"
Kali Uchis has been building towards her debut album, Isolation, since 2012 mixtape Drunken Babble, and all the years of hard work paid off. The entire album is impressive, a fun, vulnerable, sexy blend of funk, R&B, soul, and rock. "Just A Stranger" with Steve Lacy is a highlight, the two singer's voices riding Lacy and Romil from Brockhampton's upbeat production for a sub-three minute slice of contemporary pop perfection.—Alex Gardner
MorMor - "Whatever Comes to Mind"
Toronto artist MorMor had one of our favorite debuts of the year with "Heaven's Only Wishful," and he followed it up with "Whatever Comes To Mind." Without abandoning all the things we loved about the first single, "Whatever Comes To Mind" showcases MorMor's sophisticatedly soulful side. It lets loose without losing control, and it's another step toward MorMor cementing his spot as one of the best new artists on the rise right now. We can't wait to hear where MorMor goes next.—Jacob Moore
Jon Waltz - "Money"
After some time out of the spotlight, Memphis artist Jon Waltz is back in motion in 2018. He dropped "Backstreets" in February, and this month he followed it up with "Money." Jon has leveled up as a songwriter, and with "Money" he's got an extremely accessible song that doesn't stick to traditional structures. "Money" is filled with standout moments that come in waves, and some of the catchiest parts of the song ("My pockets lookin' shallow like my old friends") aren't even part of the hook. Instead of filling space and sticking to the script, Jon Waltz isn't wasting a breath.—Jacob Moore
Tee Grizzley ft. Lil Yachty - "2 Vaults"
Detroit MC Tee Grizzley rose to fame for his unflinching street tales like “First Day Out,” which makes the moments where he decides to flex feel more earned than many rappers who spend all their time talking about cars, jewels, and money. While hustle rap is still his forte, hearing Grizzley cut loose can feel particularly rewarding because he lets you know he’s worked for the right to boast.
The latest single from his debut album, “2 Vaults” is simmering and understated with a subtle, yet propulsive beat from London on da Track. Grizzley and guest star Lil Yachty have radically different deliveries, with Grizzley’s pointed, staccato cadence contrasting Yachty’s fluid flow, and the pair have a clear chemistry from previous collaborations. They team up to pack “2 Vaults” full of quotable bars about rocking carrot cake colored diamonds and having Harvard students handle their taxes.—Grant Rindner
Empress Of - "In Dreams"
Empress Of is getting better and better. 2015 album Me showed us an artist not afraid to get personal in her quirky, left-of-center pop music, while 2017 single "Go To Hell" featured some of her sharpest songwriting yet. Now she's back with two more tracks, "Trust Me Baby" and "In Dreams," which mix Spanish and English lyrics. The two are both great, but "In Dreams" is my current favorite, a nostalgic song with an angelic chorus.—Alex Gardner
Khalid, 6LACK, and Ty Dolla Sign - "OTW"
Khalid's had a great month, playing Coachella, releasing a song with Billie Eilish, and dropping a new single "OTW." This time he's the lead artist, with 6LACK and Ty Dolla Sign guesting. Nineteen85, Idan Kalai and Brian Alexander Morgan handled the production, creating an uptempo, hummable hit that is neatly divided into each artist's moment. Everyone does something different—Ty carries the second verse with an operatic performance, and 6LACK closes things out with a devastating minor-keyed, car-themed contribution. But the larger lesson here: Khalid is trying new things with new people, and it sounds excellent.—Graham Corrigan
Nicki Minaj - "Barbie Tingz"
At this point, everything Nicki Minaj drops is guaranteed to be a success. She's a commercial juggernaut with a dedicated army of fans who flood the mentions of those perceived to have slighted her and will debate the meaning of her lyrics for eternity. For me personally, Nicki's hit or miss—when she's motivated to rap she's one of the most fun MCs out, a punch line machine whose voice can inhabit five different characters in a three minute song, but when she leans more towards pop, I'm not as interested. This month Nicki made her grand return with two new songs and "Barbie Tingz," with its hard as nails beat, was a pleasant surprise.—Alex Gardner
Billie Eilish & Khalid - "Lovely"
This combo makes perfect sense in retrospect, but thus far, Billie Eilish and Khalid have occupied different corners of the pop spectrum. Billie rose to stardom over tight, moody electronic production from her brother Finneas, while Khalid's American Teen has more of a big-band, open-arms vibe. Their vocal styles are markedly different too—but as we found out on "lovely," the former's husky murmur is the perfect complement to the latter's warm drawl.
Finneas handles production once again, and he shared a touching note on Instagram upon the song's release. "Khalid is one my favorite artists in the world and I feel lucky to call him a friend," he wrote. "The three of us wrote this together in my tiny little bedroom... Special thanks to Madison Leinster for playing violin on this song. You can’t fake strings like that."—Graham Corrigan
Patrick Paige II ft. Syd & Kari Faux – “On My Mind / Charge It To The Game”
The Internet returned this month with a new song and the announcement of a new album, but that's not slowing down the members of the band from releasing their own music. We've already heard solo projects from Steve Lacy, Syd, Matt Martians, and Chris Smith, but now it's Patrick Paige II's turn. His debut solo album Letters Of Irrelevance comes out out May 18, and the first single is excellent. Patrick is the bassist and producer in The Internet, but on this track he's rapping and singing with assists from Kari Faux and Syd.
Of the inspiration behind the album, he says, "Three years ago my sister and I lost our mother, I went through a bad breakup, and fell out with a couple of family members all at once. I hit the lowest point in my life, but still had my friends around me (including my band). During that time, I also experienced living on my own for the first time and that made things more difficult at times. During that summer, I had a cat named Yuka and she saved my life. I've tried to take from that experience and channel it the best I can and write about all of those moments and thus Letters Of Irrelevance was born."—Alex Gardner
Young Thug ft. Nicki Minaj - "Anybody"
Young Thug remains the most unpredictable rapper alive. He recently changed his name to SEX and said he wouldn't put out any music in 2018. This month, he returns as Young Thug with the Hear No Evil EP featuring three new songs. "Up" features Lil Uzi Vert, "Now" features 21 Savage," but the EP's Nicki Minaj-featuring opening track "Anybody" steals the show. It's one of the most polished and accessible songs Thug has released in a minute, which could mean Thug is back in music mode and gearing up for an album. Then again, it wouldn't be surprising if Thug's next move was a SEX tape featuring nothing but experimental music.—Jacob Moore
Aminé ft. Injury Reserve - "Campfire"
Aminé and Injury Reserve. Of course. It might not be the most obvious pairing of all time, but as soon as you hear them start trading references to Drew Barrymore, Oprah, and Kidz Bop over trunk-rattling production, it clicks. "Campfire" is on the "REDMERCEDES" end of the Aminé spectrum—a bass-heavy song that gives him a chance to shift into a lower vocal register and rap his ass off. Injury Reserve, of course, fit right in. Paired with a colorful Fairly OddParents-inspired music video, this one's worth running back a few times.—Eric Skelton
Oneohtrix Point Never ft. ANOHNI - "Black Snow"
Less than a year after winning the Soundtrack Award at the 2017 Cannes Film Festival for his outstanding work on Good Time, Daniel Lopatin is back with another astonishing reinvention and evolution as Oneohtrix Point Never. Building on everything he's learned through his career and applying it to more traditional songwriting, "Black Snow" is the closest Lopatin has ever come to crafting a pop song.
Blending his otherworldly, sci-fi production with a more rigid structure, "Black Snow" features Lopatin at his most human. However, that humanity is cloaked beneath layers of enigmatic swirls and blankets of fuzz, sounding up-close and distant at the same time. Drawing himself closer to the listener by singing the song's lyrics himself, with assistance from frequent collaborator ANOHNI, "Black Snow" is a true indication of his ability not just as a innovative producer, but as a songwriter, too.—Joe Price
6 Dogs ft. Lil Skies - "Off The Gas"
The next internet star to migrate to the mainstream will be 6 dogs. After making his name on tracks like "Faygo Dreams" and "Buttcheeks," the Georgia-born artist returned this week with "Off The Gas," a collaboration with Lil Skies. It dropped this month via Mad Love/Interscope Records, and according to the press release, "more new music from 6 dogs is imminent."
The song itself is the sort of subtle, gummy wave that 6 dogs has worked to perfect in recent years. It's equal parts driving and depressed, an ode to gas of all types and the hallucinations they evoke. Skies adds a jolt of energy with a metallic, shrill verse in the second half, and 6 dogs proves his staying power by following through—the "Off the Gas" outro is worth the wait.—Graham Corrigan
Yellow Days - "The Way Things Change"
Yellow Days' spot in an Atlanta commercial introduced him to a whole new audience, but the teenage artist has been winning since 2016. His contemporary take on the sounds of jazz, blues, and rock & roll has a classic feel but a youthful, modern edge, and best of all, it simply sounds natural. The British artist is blessed with a voice that is rich beyond his years, and on "The Way Things Change" a bit of funk is added to proceedings too. It's Yellow Days' first release under Sony/RCA, and an exciting taste of what's to come as he evolves and continues to hone his craft.—Alex Gardner
Smokepurpp & Murda Beatz ft. A$AP Ferg - "Pray"
Smokepurpp and Murda Beatz's Bless Yo Trap tape is super consistent, but the heavy "Pray" featuring A$AP Ferg is a standout moment. Ferg is versatile enough to go from a Premier beat to a Purpp collab without flinching, and he matches the cold-blooded energy on "Pray" while bringing some of his own unique charisma to the table.—Jacob Moore
Busu - "Do 2 Much"
Stockholm's Busu isn't averse to incorporating rock into his distinctively Swedish take on hip-hop, but "Do 2 Much" is his most riff-driven track to date. Rapping and singing over a memorable riff that builds to some room-shaking bass hits, "Do 2 Much" is what might happen if Lil Uzi Vert and Blink-182 decided to work together. In other words, it's something I've been dreaming about for longer than I'd like to admit.—Joe Price
Denzel Curry - "Sumo"
Denzel Curry's energy is unmatched. You know when you hear about those crazy stories about an ordinary civilian getting fueled by a rush of adrenaline and mustering up the superhuman strength to lift up a car or move a boulder? That's how Denzel Curry raps. But instead of just intensely shouting repetitively, Denzel meticulously crafts together impressive raps and flows around his choruses. Since Denzel's game-changing "ULTIMATE" dropped in 2015, many new rappers have followed Denzel's blueprint for intense, bass-heavy, skull-crushing hip-hop. "Sumo" is just another example that Denzel still does it best.—Jacob Moore
LUCKI - "Root of All"
LUCKI has been through a lot. Despite it all, the 21-year-old rapper has held on dearly to his artistic integrity, and now that he's in a good place mentally and back to focusing on music, he's sounding better than ever. He's working on a new album called Better Days, and his Days B4 II EP is LUCKI at his sharpest. His music still has that hypnotizing, head-in-the-clouds atmosphere to it, but he leveled up lyrically, and while the songs still feel raw and intimate, they also feel thoughtful and well-crafted. "Root of All" is an early favorite, but the whole project is worth a listen.—Jacob Moore
Tyler, the Creator - “Rose Tinted Cheeks”
Flower Boy showed a romantic and vulnerable side of Tyler, the Creator that we’d previously glimpsed, but never experienced in a sustained form. Naturally, some material was left on the cutting room floor, and Tyler recently unveiled one of these “rough drafts,” the breezy “Rose Tinted Cheeks.” A departure from the steely, bracing “Okra,” his previous loosie, this cut feels like a companion piece to Flower Boy’s “See You Again” (which Pitchfork noted actually incorporates the phrase “rose tinted cheeks”).
This bashful love song features a pitch-shifted Tyler spitting intricate rhymes, including a meta 20th Century Women reference that’ll warm the heart of any film geek. The raw, unmastered instrumental adds to the song’s confessional quality; it’s as close as we’ve ever heard Tyler come to pure bedroom pop, luxuriating in warm electric piano chords before the track blossoms with trilling strings and clean guitar. Tyler said the final hook would have been recorded by a female singer, but this demo only solidifies just how he was firing on all cylinders during the Flower Boy sessions. Plus, if you ever end up on a date with Tyler, now you already know the perfect itinerary: sushi and a show at the Echoplex.—Grant Rindner
Jazz Cartier - "Right Now"
Jazz Cartier's live shows are legendary, high-energy affairs, but his music is about much more than just turning up. The Toronto artist has consistently proven his talents as both a rapper and songwriter over singles and projects like 2016's Hotel Paranoia, and "Right Now" is another sleek song with a very catchy hook.
Jazz's major label debut album Fluerever is, according to a press release, coming very soon. "The driving force of Fleurever is duality—whether it’s battling the balances of love and money, risks and rewards, right and wrong, or living and dying," Jazz says. "I shed a lot of old layers in order to grow new wings.”—Alex Gardner
Saba - "Smile"
On “Smile,” Saba sets a stirring scene immediately, describing a neglected apartment on the west side of Chicago where he was raised, and spinning that into an autobiographical tale about taking care of his day ones. What makes Saba such a captivating artist is that he never loses his narrative thread; lyrics and themes always coalesce, and the final bars land harder thanks to the momentum built by everything that came prior.
In this case, the final hook’s daydream about vacationing in the South is anchored by the weight of Saba’s family history. Produced by Saba and frequent collaborators DaeDaePIVOT and Daoud, the instrumental is heady and subdued, a clean canvas with crisp percussion and an active bass line. The rapper’s new album, Care For Me, is full of poignant snapshots and rich detail, all of which make Saba’s desire finally kick his feet up for a minute feel well-deserved, and his conviction to his family that much more laudable.—Grant Rindner
Janelle Monáe ft. Grimes - "PYNK"
Wow, where to begin with this track... First off, I need more collaborations between Janelle Monáe and Grimes. They clearly have an amazing energy when they combine forces, and I think that we could all benefit from a joint project in the future. Back to their latest single though—I have never felt so honored to possess a vagina until this moment. Women's reproductive rights continue to be threatened by the patriarchy, and until we are all truly equal, we must not stop talking about it.
Listening to Janelle and Grimes softly sing metaphors about all the pink parts of the human body behind a bouncy, bubblegum beat is the equivalent of getting hyper from a sugar rush. As much as this track serves as a celebration of creation and "pussy power," it is also a delectable expression of self-care which femme-identifying individuals require for everyday survival. Janelle Monáe's new album Dirty Computer is out on April 27.—Sydney Gore
Thundercat - "Final Fight"
Adult Swim and Thundercat are made for each other. They've worked together on projects both musical and cinematic in nature, and this "Final Fight" is the latest link. The Bass God lives up to his name, unleashing a flurry of wonky licks under lyrics about insomnia and a lover who punches in her sleep. It's beautiful and weird, sad and funny—in other words, another classic Thundercat cut. It's the first music we've heard since Drunk, but the Kendrick collaborator has only gotten better with time.—Graham Corrigan
Clairo - "4EVER"
Clairo has been clear about one thing: her ambition stretches way past the homemade sounds she started with. Her Danny L Harle collaboration "Blue Angel" hinted at the possibilities, but on her new song "4EVER," she goes all-in. "This isn't bedroom pop KK," she announced on Twitter last night, and she wasn't lying. It's her most polished song yet, placing her low-key vocals and effortless melodies into a whole new context—and it sounds fantastic.—Jacob Moore