The hip-hop world came out swinging on New Music Friday, as we were blessed with new projects from Wale (Wow... That’s Crazy), Lil Tjay (True 2 Myself), YoungBoy Never Broke Again (AI YoungBoy II), YK Osiris (The Golden Child), and more. Beyond the full-length projects, some of the best music this week came in the form of singles: Pusha-T’s “Puppets,” City Girls’ “JT First Day Out,” FKA Twigs’ “Home With Me,” Roddy Ricch’s “Big Stepper,” Internet Money, Lil Tecca & A Boogie wit da Hoodie’s “Somebody,” French Montana, A$AP Rocky, Logic & Juicy J’s “Twisted,” Gucci Mane & Lil Baby’s “Tootsies,” and Grip’s “Open Arms.” These are the best new songs this week.

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Pusha-T, “Puppets” 

Who would’ve thought that Kendall Roy’s “L to the OG”—the cringe-worthy freestyle he wrote to commemorate 50 years of his dad, Logan, running Waystar Roy, in the September 29 episode of Succession—would be the second-most-talked-about rap performance from the show’s second season? With no disrespect to Logan’s number one boy, King Ken’s reign came to an end this week, as King Push laid waste to the Succession theme on “Puppets.” On the HBO-sanctioned remix, the G.O.O.D. Music president glides over composer Nicholas Britell’s signature piano licks with relative ease, delivering a verse that touches on all of the themes of the show. “Family, fortune, envy, jealousy, privilege, passed on legacy,” he chants in the chorus. “Secret, sabotage, borderline felony, suicide, subtract, selfish, pedigree.” —Brad Callas

Grip f/ Grandmaster Vic, “Open Arms”

Grip earned a spot on our Rappers to Watch in 2019 list due to the strength of his debut project, Porch. Now, closing in on the end of the year, we finally have the follow-up, and it lives up to our high expectations. The Atlanta rapper delivers a top-to-bottom excellent album with Snubnose, but it really all comes together on the project’s final track, “Open Arms.” Alongside a soulful chorus from Grandmaster Vic, Grip gets reflective about his upbringing and family ties over a piano-heavy beat. If you’re liking what you hear on this one, make sure to give the rest of Snubnose a spin. This might end up being one of the best under-the-radar releases of the whole year. —Eric Skelton

Lil Tjay f/ Lil Baby, “Decline” 

This past summer, Lil Tecca and Lil Nas X joined superstars Lil Wayne, Lil Uzi Vert, and Lil Baby atop the Lil’ rappers’ food chain. And now, with the release of his debut album, True 2 Myself, 18-year-old Bronx native Lil Tjay joins the ranks. The LP is loaded with stellar rap-R&B hybrid tracks like “Post To Be,” “Mixed Emotions,” and “Sex Sounds.” But the best is “Decline.” The track finds reigning Rap Rookie of the Year Lil Baby on cruise control, but Tjay brings enough energy to support both of them, coming through with one of the straight-ahead R&B songs he teased earlier this week. —Brad Callas

City Girls, “JT First Day Out”

Imagine experiencing both the highest and lowest moments of your life in the same week. I presume that’s what it was like for City Girls’ JT, who, last summer, started serving a two-year federal prison sentence for credit card fraud only about a week after the Miami duo scored a No. 1 hit with their appearance on Drake’s “In My Feelings.” Earlier this week, JT celebrated her prison release with “JT First Day Out.” The single follows the recent tradition of rappers getting out of jail and then immediately recording and releasing songs called “First Day Out” (see Gucci Mane’s 2009 and 2016 renditions, along with Tee Grizzley’s 2017 breakout single of the same name), as she details the time leading up to her incarceration and the aftermath. “I don’t gotta throw shade to get a fanbase, I been a real bitch way before the Fed case,” she raps. “Yung Miami held me down, that’s a bitch ace/And if a bitch try her, it’s a cold case.” —Brad Callas

FKA Twigs, “Home With You”

In anticipation of her upcoming album, Magdalene, out October 25th, British singer, dancer, and producer FKA Twigs delivers a swelling piano ballad on new single, “Home With Me.” In a FaceTime interview with Zane Lowe of Apple Music’s Beats 1 Radio program, Twigs described the song’s recording as a “flow of consciousness” between her and her collaborators that was done in one take. “‘Home with You’ is a record that I’ve written from the heart, and it talks about really just me going home to the suburbs where I’m from in Gloucestershire,” she said. “When in doubt, I just follow my gut and try to be around nature, go back to the Cotswolds, and get in touch with my family.” —Brad Callas

Internet Money, Lil Tecca & A Boogie wit da Hoodie, “Somebody”

Fresh off signing a joint venture deal with 10K Projects (who also recently signed 6ix9ine to new $10 million deal) producer Taz Taylor’s Internet Money collective teams up with two of the hottest rappers in New York right now, Lil Tecca and A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie, for their new single, “Somebody.” 10K Projects Founder and CEO Elliot Grainge decided to sign Taylor, sensing his talent early on. “Taz Taylor is a proven hitmaker who we believe will unearth and unlock true talent across multiple genres,” Grainge said in a statement. “Taz has the rare ability to not only create great music in the studio but mentor up-and-coming artists and producers and build hugely successful teams outside of it. We're thrilled to be working with Taz and his entire team.” —Brad Callas

YK Osiris, “Ballin”

On first listen, the immediate standout on YK Osiris’ debut album, The Golden Child, is “Ballin” (besides the songs that were previously released). The London On Da Track-produced cut has everything that makes the young Def Jam signee special: catchy melodies, deceptively introspective lyrics, and a confident delivery. If it wasn’t obvious already, the kid’s a star, and he knows it. “I came from nothin’, now I'm ballin’, Scottie Pippen, my n***a/Had to leave some folks behind, ’cause they weren't really my n****s.” Exactly. —Eric Skelton

Roddy Ricch, “Big Stepper”

Don’t let the title, artwork, and music video for Roddy Ricch’s new single, “Big Stepper,” fool you into thinking it’s an attempt at making his own version of “Old Town Road.” Sure, there are plenty of horses featured in the video, but you won’t find any country talk on “Big Stepper.” Instead, the track sees the 20-year-old Los Angeles rapper rhyming about his financial come-up. “That 100 that made me million, I got it laminated/Can’t fuck with none of these broke n****s, they contaminated/Thank God for all of these blue faces, I barely done made it/Made 40,000 on new years, took a private to Vegas/I been on promethazine so long, when I’m slidin’ I’m faded/I been tryin’ to get a crib so long, now I got it, it’s gated/I been touchin' all of these millions, I know they gon' hate it.” Money aside, Roddy appears poised to make the leap toward superstardom in the coming months, as he preps the release of his forthcoming project, Please Excuse Me For Being Antisocial. —Brad Callas

French Montana f/ A$AP Rocky, Logic & Juicy J, “Twisted”

Who drops as many one-off singles as French Montana? Over the past few months, French has been rolling out songs with huge star power on demand: “Slide” with Blueface and Lil Tjay, “Suicide Doors” with Gunna, “Wiggle It” with City Girls, and most recently, “Writing On the Wall” with Cardi B and Post Malone. This week, in anticipation of his forthcoming album, MONTANA, which is slated for a November release, French returns with “Twisted,” another club-ready track that features A-list stars in A$AP Rocky, Logic, and Juicy J. Backed by Three Six Mafia-esque production, the song is, expectedly, a ratchet one, as the rappers detail encounters with strippers and women they just want for one night. —Brad Callas

YoungBoy Never Broke Again, “Lonely Child”

NBA YoungBoy has made a career off heart-on-your-sleeve kind of anthems. “Lonely Child,” a highlight from his new mixtape, AI Youngboy II, is a welcome addition to the canon of YoungBoy confessionals (see: “Wat Chu Gone Do,” “Pour One,” “Traumitized”). In fact, it’s fair to argue that it’s the most gut-wrenching song in his catalog, as the 19-year-old Baton Rogue opens the track, crooning, “I just wanna be loved,” before pouring his heart out for the next three and a half minutes. Painstakingly, he addresses everyone in his life, from his parents and grandparents (“My paw-paw getting old, and once he gone, I'm on my own/Right now I'm all alone, I pray that grandmom keep me strong”), to his former girlfriends and children (“I never knew this fame would take the ones I love from ‘way from me/I wanna see Kacey bad, but I can't seem to call Nene”). In one song, YoungBoy accomplishes what most rappers fail to do over the course of their careers: remind listeners that, sometimes, money and fame isn’t worth losing everything that makes life worth living. —Brad Callas

Gucci Mane f/ Lil Baby, “Tootsies”

Aside from September (highlighted by the beginning of the football season and, for those of us in states that have all four seasons, the best weather of the year) and December (who doesn’t like Christmas and New Years Eve?), the best month on the calendar is October (Woptober). This week, as he prepares to drop his 15th studio album, Woptober II, next Friday, Gucci shared a preview of what’s to come with “Tootsies.” Fresh off collaborating with Rap’s co-Rookies of the Year, Da Baby (on last month’s “Richer Than Errbody”) and Megan Thee Stallion (last week’s “Big Booty”), “Tootsies” sees Big Guwop trade boastful bars with last year’s breakout star Lil Baby. “This dope’ll make you do the Kanye, took so many opiates,” Gucci raps. “The mall ain’t even open yet but Gucci made ’em open it/Dr. Trapenstein and I just prescribed a Percocet/She ain’t even fine enough so I don’t ever wanna hit.” —Brad Callas

Wale f/ Kelly Price, “Set You Free”

If you aren’t convinced that soul samples bring out the best in rappers, listen to Wale’s new album, Wow...That’s Crazy. Eight of the LP’s 15 tracks—“Sue Me,” “Love…(Her Fault),” “On Chill,” “Love Me Nina / Semiautomatic,” “Break My Heart (My Fault),” “Debbie,” “Set You Free,” and “Black Bonnie”—are soaked in soul loops. On “Set You Free,” the DMV veteran uses a lush soundscape and monumental hook courtesy of Kelly Price to reflect on the mental health issues he’s been battling. And though it’s followed by two additional tracks, there’s no denying that “Set You Free” acts as the album’s real outro. —Brad Callas

Goon Des Garçons, “Back 2 Square 1”

Goon Des Garçons’ is on his Greta Thunberg wave, with a new EP out this week that’s all about, as he puts it, his generation “celebrating the lousy hand they’ve been dealt.” Much of Cheers to the End of the World revels in nihilism, egging the apocalypse on. But towards the end of the project’s brief runtime, a little optimism starts to creep in. You don’t need a press bio to know Cudi is one of Goon’s biggest influences, as he croons “I see the future in your eyes” over a bouncy, hopeful beat. It’s not a happy ending, but at least it leaves room for one. —Frazier Tharpe

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