Some of our favorite artists came out swinging on the third Friday of November, as we were blessed with new projects from Tory Lanez (Chixtape 5), Lil Peep (Everything’s Everything), and Styles P (Presence). Beyond the full-length projects, some of the best music this week came in the form of singles: Vince Staples, 6LACK, and Mereba’s “Yo Love”; A Boogie and Lil Uzi Vert’s “Reply”; Billie Eilish’s “everything I wanted”; Flipp Deniro and Lil Baby’s “How I Move”; 03 Greedo and Kenny Beats’ “Maria”; NLE Choppa’s “Dekario”; Future and Lil Durk’s “Last Name”; and more. These are the best new songs this week.
Follow our accompanying Best New Music playlist on Spotify here!
Vince Staples, 6LACK & Mereba, “Yo Love”
Fresh from releasing the second episode of The Vince Staples Show, along with his latest single, “Sheet Music,” Vince Staples recruits 6LACK & Mereba for “Yo Love,” a standout from the Queen & Slim soundtrack. The nostalgic cut finds the Long Beach rapper pivoting away from the cynical approach to love he’s displayed in the past (see: Big Fish Theory’s “Love Can Be…”), to unveil a refreshingly mushy soft spot. “I been beaten black and blue/Story of my life, tell me something’ about you,” Staples raps over a jazzy guitar riff. “Where you from? Did you stay or did you run?/You ever thought about a daughter or a son?” 6LACK, who is amidst a hot streak of stellar R&B guest spots, lets his emotions pour out, too, reflecting on the ups and downs of early relationships. “You stole my eye, I stole your heart down at the county fair,” he croons. “Now if first come to worst, I left a note in your purse/Remember me from this verse.”
A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie f/ Lil Uzi Vert, “Reply”
Having suffered through vague release date teases and multiple perceived delays of the long-anticipated Eternal Atake, any official offering from Lil Uzi Vert—even if only in the form of a guest verse—is cause for celebration. Thankfully, Uzi’s appearance on A Boogie’s latest single, “Reply,” doesn’t disappoint. In fact, it’s one of his best features this year. The single, which fans have been anticipating for weeks, centers around each rapper reflecting on the women in their lives, as well as seemingly one-sided relationships. “If I write you girl, will you reply?” Uzi raps on the opening verse. “And I can see all the lies in your eyes/But I'm no different, selling dreams for tonight/Just so I could have my way, rubbin' on your thighs/In the morning, go back home because I do not have no ties.”
Billie Eilish, “everything i wanted”
After catapulting to superstardom with her debut album, When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?, Billie Eilish addresses her anxiety and the trappings of fame on her melancholic new single, “everything i wanted.” Over twinkling keys and synths that are both dire and sorrowful, the 17-year-old pop star sings about jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge and finding out that no one cares about her as much as they pretend to. The haunting song would be draining if not for Elish’s hopeful hook, which relates to her close relationship to brother, Finneas. “And you say, ‘As long as I’m here, no one can hurt you/Don’t wanna lie here, but you can learn to/If I could change the way that you see yourself/You wouldn’t wonder why you’re here, they don’t deserve you’” she sings in a soft whisper.
Future f/ Lil Durk, “Last Name”
Lil Durk is an important figure when it comes to the melodic sound of Chicago street rap, and he has inspired a whole new wave of sing-song rappers in his hometown: Polo G, Calboy, and El Hitta included. You could argue that Future has done the same thing for southern hip-hop, with his signature trap ballads paving the way for rappers like Rich Homie Quan, Lil Baby, Gunna, and NBA YoungBoy, among others. As such, it’s hardly surprising that Future and Durk bring out the best in each other on “Last Name,” their first collaboration since 2018’s “Stop the Block.” While the Chicago rapper discusses perils of the streets, Future faces his recent paternity controversies head on. “Gotta keep it stashed up for the trial/Material intentions, gotta play a foul/Fuck the bitch once, now she wanna cry/Snitches told the feds, I had an alibi” he raps. “Brokenhearted, fuck my bitch every night/I don't know her name, she wanna have my child.”
Flipp Dinero f/ Lil Baby, “How I Move”
Following last week’s “Woah,” his first solo record since July’s “Out the Mud,” Lil Baby returned this week with a pair of new offerings: “Catch the Sun,” a Baby solo cut from the Queen & Slim soundtrack, along with a guest spot on Flipp Deniro’s “How I Move.” The song will appear on Flipp’s forthcoming album, Love For Guala, which is expected to arrive on November 22. Recently, the Brooklyn rapper spoke candidly about what went into crafting the project. “I sequenced the project with intent; I try to give fans what they want before I give them what they need,” Dinero said of the project. “There’s a transition from hood sounds to a more universal sound: it starts with songs from the street, then love songs, to ending with songs about growth and being a man.”
03 Greedo & Kenny Beats, “Maria”
Earlier this week, 03 Greedo’s team revealed plans for a forthcoming collaborative project with producer Kenny Beats, titled Netflix & Deal. After unveiling a documentary about its creation, the currently incarcerated L.A. rapper delivered the tape’s first single, “Maria.” Driven by a hypnotic, organ-heavy beat, the song finds Greedo rapping about his romance with the title character, while making references to the 1950s musical, Westside Story, as well as the 2004 film, Maria Full of Grace. “Maria, she's full of grace, travelin' out the state/Matter fact the country, balloons while I float away,” he raps. “Powder in her nose, ain't no makeup on her face/Change the case and raise the stakes, I wrote up the latest estate.”
NLE Choppa, “Dekario (Pain)”
With the one-two punch of “Shotta Flow” and “Camelot,” NLE Choppa proved his ability to craft towering bangers over harsh, hammering piano beats. If that’s all he could do, it would be enough to make him one of the biggest breakout rappers of the year. This month, though, he’s also revealed his depth with “Forever” and “Dekario,” a pair of singles in which Choppa makes a successful pivot to melodic street rap. On “Dekario,” the Memphis rapper’s signature bravado is replaced by humility, as he explores the depths of his pain and reflects on suicidal thoughts. “If I didn’t have the money or the fame, would you still text me?/I don't wanna tote no gun, I know the crackers gon' arrest me” he sings. “But if they opposite me out in person/You know they gon' bless me/They say I'm overrated, because I'm most hated/They throwin' dirt up on my name, but I'm dedicated/Got suicidal thoughts goin' through my brain daily.”
Tory Lanez f/ Chris Brown, “The Take”
Tory Lanez’ Chixtape series is built on nostalgia. Whereas Chixtape 2 featured memorable samples of ’90s R&B classics (see: “R.I.D.E.,” a stellar tribute to Ginuwine’s “Pony”), and Chixtape 4 revisited early-’00s hip-hop hits (Fat Joe’s “What’s Luv?” and P. Diddy’s “I Need a Girl (Part 2),” among others), the fifth installment in the series sees Lanez seamlessly flip ‘00s R&B cuts like Fabolous’ “Trade It All (Pt. 2)” and Mario’s “Crying Out For Me.” One of the early standouts from Chixtape 5 is “The Take,” which reworks Chris Brown’s iconic 2007 slow jam, “Take You Down.” Alongside Breezy, who submits a quality guest appearance, Lanez turns out a worthy sequel as steamy as the original.
Ama Lou, “Better”
“I love melody,” Ama Lou told me in 2018. “That's my thing.” The young London singer knows herself well. After first catching our attention last year with the gorgeous EP, DDD, she’s back with more stunning melodies on the freshly-released project, Ama, who? Ama pushes herself to play with different flows throughout the five-song EP, but our favorite cut (outside of the previously-released “NORTHSIDE” single) is “Better.” Over a lush musical backdrop co-produced by Frank Dukes, Zachary Foster, Jerald Cooper, Mr Pope, and Ama Lou herself, she delivers gems like, “Snakes redefining terms/And they named us best friends/Pigeons were birds that we tried saving/But I'll never waste time on the same bitch again.” Sheesh. Hop on the Ama Lou bandwagon while there’s still room. —Eric Skelton