After a quiet month of album releases, the rap game came correct with a handful of highly-anticipated offerings this week: DaBaby (Kirk), Young M.A (Herstory in the Making), and Kevin Gates (I’m Me). Beyond the full-length offerings, we were blessed with singles from French Montana (“Writing in the Wall”), Lil Tecca (“Glo Up”), H.E.R. (“Slide”), Retch (“On Me”), and Lil Tjay (“Hold On”). These are the best new songs this week.
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DaBaby, “There He Go”
London On Da Track delivers the backdrop for this motivational anthem, which is the penultimate track from DaBaby’s new album, Kirk. On “There He Go,” DaBaby levitates over London’s piano licks, as the Charlotte rapper contrasts his newfound fame with his humble beginnings. “I just did five shows, three days, came out with the bag, bitch/Pockets swole, 45K and a four-five, so I sag, bitch/Gotta show coming up in London and got London on da Track, bitch.” When he celebrates his platinum status near the end of the first verse, it feels more like an act of foreshadowing than reminiscing. Two platinum plaques in the same year? At this point, we wouldn’t put anything past DaBaby.
Young M.A, “Da Come Up”
Three years since blowing up with the triple-platinum viral hit “OOOUUU,” Young M.A returns with her long-awaited debut album, Herstory in the Making. “Da Come Up” finds the 27-year-old rapper flexing her lyrical prowess. She looks back on her days of selling “mixtapes out the Chevy Cruze,” before boasting about her work ethic with Instagram-worthy captions (“No off days on the calendar”) and a motivational closing refrain: “Get back to work, ain’t no resting/When I caught an L, I learned my lesson/Now I count my money, count my blessing.”
Lil Tecca, “Glo Up”
After scoring his first top 10 hit (“Ransom”) and releasing his debut album, We Love You Tecca, in August, 17-year-old Queens native Lil Tecca returns with “Glo Up.” The NextLane Beats-produced track finds Tecca reflecting on his meteoric rise to stardom, as he continues to move further into the spotlight with his fame growing by the hour. “And it took a lot of me/I swear, I lost lot of friends/I thought they was part of me/ Yeah, and I’m at the top now/ I guess this really how its ‘posed to be,” he raps.
Retch f/ Schoolboy Q, “On Me”
Retch joins forces with Schoolboy Q for “On Me,” the latest in a string of songs in 2019 that have our attention. Featuring production from Benjamin Lasnier and Frenzy Beatz, the West Coast bop sees both rappers showcase their lyrical prowess, as Groovy Q chimes in with some memorable bars, rapping, “Drop the top on this Ferrari, got it sunny/ What the fuck you talkin’ bout if it ain’t money.”
French Montana f/ Post Malone, Cardi B, & Rvssian, “Writing on the Wall”
For someone who has been on record saying that he spent 600,000 of his own dollars on the Swae Lee-assisted single “Unforgettable,” which peaked at no. 5 on the Hot 100 and became one of the biggest hits of French’s career, it’s hardly surprising that the Bronx rapper was able to get Post Malone and Cardi B on the same song. Featuring production and songwriting assistance from the Jamaican singer and producer, Rvssian, it’s safe to say that French has another hit on his hands with “Writing on the Wall,” the first single from his forthcoming album Montana.
H.E.R. f/ YG, “Slide”
After performing an unreleased version of the song at the Lights on Festival in Concord, California earlier this month, H.E.R. blessed fans with her YG-assisted new single, “Slide.” On the Bay Area banger, the Grammy-winning songstress pays homage to her hometown of Vallejo (“Candy paint with the windows all black”), while the Compton rapper reps his corner on the infectious bop. “I need a baecation/I need my bitch in an apron / Booty all out cookin’ bacon.”
Lil Tjay, “Hold On”
Many of the influences that Lil Tjay names aren’t rappers; they’re pop and R&B singers: Usher, Michael Jackson, Justin Bieber. It’s hardly surprising, then, that the 18-year-old Bronx rapper’s entire style is guided by melodies. After his stellar performance on Polo G’s “Pop Out,” the young upstart returns with his latest track, “Hold On,” which, like several Tjay songs, is backed by a catchy hook and an emotional delivery.
Kevin Gates, “Betta For You”
Kevin Gates is one of the most underrated rappers in the game. Three and a half years since the 2016 release of Islah, Gates’ major-label debut, a prison stint, two EPs, and a mixtape later, the Baton Rogue rapper is back with his sophomore album, I’m Him. On “Betta For You,” a standout from the LP, Gates raps about his daughter in a touching, genuine manner. It’s beautiful to hear a father express to his child he will be better.