Label: Warner Records
Released: March 13

On “Industry Games,” CHIKA chides artists who make rap but lack a true passion for the music. Throughout the rest of her acclaimed EP, the rapper and singer showcases not just a deep reverence for the genre, but an ability to consistently excel on vastly different beats. “Designer” begins as a trap song with CHIKA rapping in pristine triplets, but a beat change creeps up, turning the track into a soul-sampling mission statement. “I’m over tip-toein’ around the problems, honey/I been steady cryin’ and dyin’, it ain't about the money,” she says. She further shows her versatility on “Crown,” which pairs a joyous gospel beat with hard-hitting lyrics about depression and self-doubt, as well as “Songs About You,” a breezy, neo soul-tinged record about manifestation and success. “I met Hov last week, that shit was hella cool/Diddy introduced me as the best of the new school,” she raps nonchalantly on the latter. After one listen to Industry Games, it’s clear why hip-hop legends are paying attention to CHIKA. —Grant Rindner