Best Songs of the Month (Feb 2018)

February brought us Black Panther, a recharged Drake, and a handful of new hits.

P&P Original


Best Songs of the Month Feb 2018

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.

Kendrick Lamar & Travis Scott - "Big Shot"


It's been said a million times this month, but we'll say once more: Black Panther is awesome, and its accompanying album is fantastic. With TDE behind the project, it's a predictably thoughtful, balanced project full of surprises, big moments, and lots of Kendrick. There are plenty of highlights, but "Big Shot," the collaboration between Kendrick and Travis, is a straight-up hit and one of our most played songs of the month.—Jacob Moore

Read the 10 things we learned from the Black Panther album here.

Frank Ocean - “Moon River”

Frank Ocean

Damn, Frank. We already knew your voice was an otherworldly gift that’ll be mythologized for generations to come, but you’re just showing off with “Moon River.” Covering Audrey Hepburn’s original from Breakfast at Tiffany’s, backing instrumentation is barely needed as you layer your voice on top of itself for a stunning vocal collage unlike anything that came before it. Somehow, this is a faithful, respectful cover to a classic that feels completely fresh. Thanks, Frank. This is one I’ll be playing for a long time.—Eric Skelton

Dig into 12 essential Frank Ocean interviews here.

Post Malone ft. Ty Dolla Sign - "Psycho"

Post Malone

Post Malone makes hits. His last release was the multi-platinum, streaming record-breaking "Rockstar" with 21 Savage and it sounds as if he's got another one with "Psycho." The melodies are simple and catchy, the beat is uncluttered, and Ty Dolla $ign comes through with a typically smooth verse. Post Malone has undeniable momentum at this point, and his upcoming album Beerbongs & Bentleys is sure to be huge.—Alex Gardner

Ravyn Lenae ft. Steve Lacy - "Computer Luv"

ravyn lenae crush ep

Ravyn Lenae's new EP, Crush, is executive produced by Steve Lacy, and the two work so well together. The entire EP is magical, as Ravyn shows growth and confirms that she is one of the most exciting talents in R&B/pop right now, but "Computer Luv" is an instant highlight. She and Steve Lacy sing together and everything seems better, for two minutes and forty-two seconds at least.—Alex Gardner

Nessly - "Back 2 Life"


Atlanta rapper Nessly is on a hot streak. His releases this month included collaborations with Ski Mask The Slump God and Joji, but his solo effort on "Back 2 Life" remains our favorite. The Take A Daytrip-produced single showcases Nessly's penchant for addictive hooks and effortless melodies, and it hints at great things to come on his impending mixtape, Wildflower.—Jacob Moore

Read our recent interview with Nessly here.

Blocboy JB & Drake - "Look Alive"


Drake seems to be getting back into his zone, stringing together a nice series of hits to kick off 2018. He started with "God's Plan" and "Diplomatic Immunity," which led to him breaking streaming records, and earning his first solo Billboard No. 1 single. This time around, Drizzy tapped rising Memphis rapper Blocboy JB for "Look Alive."

Drake's taste has never been in question. He finds someone who's picking up steam and gets them to deliver the right verse on the right record. More often than not, it catapults the artist to mainstream success—and brings the Toronto superstar to a realm that he wouldn't be able to tap into with his solo catalog. "Look Alive" is a fun, high energy trap record and the video for the song serves as a perfect showcase for Blocboy JB's eccentric personality. After being absent from both the Billboard Hot 100 and the Grammys for the first time since 2009, Drake seems to be hungry to once again become the force that we've come to know in the past decade.—Eric Isom

VanJess ft. Berhana & Leikeli47 - "Easy"


Sister duo VanJess have showcased their ability to make house-infused R&B with danceable previous singles "Touch the Floor" and Through Enough." This time around, Ivana and Jessica created a silky smooth single but don't be fooled—these girls always make sure to provide a track that has at least a little bounce.

Berhana and Leikeli47 join VanJess on their latest release "Easy" and they provide the perfect balance. As a result, "Easy" is just that—it feels effortless and can easily be the soundtrack for a late-night cruise, relaxed time at home, and intimate moment, or any scenario in between. VanJess continue to flex just how versatile they can be. —Adrienne Black

Get familiar with the sister duo in our Who Is? video here.

SOB x RBE - "Anti Social"


SOB X RBE's GANGIN album dropped today. It's perfect timing, considering the Bay Area quartet had the biggest look of their career earlier this month on Kendrick Lamar's Black Panther soundtrack. GANGIN is a revelation, fifteen tracks of hard-hitting West Coast production that serves as a playground for Slimmy B​, Yhung T.O., DaBoii, and Lul G. They have a deep bag of tricks, and "Anti Social" is case in point. They're showing off a softer side, making melodic condemnations over wistful keys and drum stabs—at least until DaBoii kicks in the door with a vicious verse, a reminder of the pent-up power lurking beneath all of SOB X RBE's music.—Graham Corrigan

Jon Waltz - "Backstreets"

jon waltz briana wade

Jon Waltz has been both a personal and P&P favorite for quite some time. After releasing "Justified" and "Riot" back in 2016, the Memphis artist took some time away, and now almost two years later he's back with "Backstreets." The single doesn't disappoint, as Waltz delivers another soothing, addictive tune full of silky vocals and warm guitars. He's reminding listeners that music is an art form, and that it's important to be patient with an artist and follow them along their journey at their pace.—Eric Isom

Czarface & MF DOOM - "Nautical Depths"


Sightings of the masked villain in the city are increasing...what could it mean? DOOM recently featured on Dabrye's excellent "Lil Mufukuz" and followed that with the announcement that he was co-producing Bishop Nehru's entire new album with Kaytranada. This week, another full album project was announced, this time with Czarface, which is Wu-Tang Clan's Inspectah Deck and 7L & Esoteric. "Nautical Depth" is the first release,​ and it doesn't disappoint.

The Czarface Meets Metal Face! album drops on March 30.—Alex Gardner

Twin Shadow - "Little Woman"

Twin Shadow

Every time George Lewis Jr. readies a new project as Twin Shadow it's an exciting time. Certain elements remain, but he's always gunning for something fresh. "Little Woman" sounds like his debut Forget did in many ways, but it's also a striking distillation of the his aesthetic to its absolute core. It's a timely meditation on today's climate, but it's also a gorgeous and sonically unique return that has us eagerly awaiting his upcoming fourth album, Caer.—Joe Price

Blood Orange - "Christopher & 6th"

blood orange

It’s been a while since Dev Hynes sated us with new tunes, but a pair of tracks posted on SoundCloud in a playlist labeled “Black History” prove that the singer-songwriter-producer hasn’t lost a step since Freetown Sound. Of the two, “Christopher & 6th” is a jaggedly torn scrapbook page of musical ideas, spacious and improvisational, with freewheeling guitar and a sudden pivot to a cathartic organ for the final 40 seconds. It’s raw, but the small drams of melody are intoxicating nonetheless. Hynes noted that these tracks won’t be appearing on his next project, but the loose, unpolished feel is certainly something we hope translates to another full-length.—Grant Rindner

Sheck Wes - "Mo Bamba"

sheck wes press 2

Sheck Wes has only been back in the US for about a year, but in that short amount of time he's accomplished many things. Leaving modeling and basketball in the past, Sheck went full-force with rap and recently inked a deal with Interscope Records. "Mo Bamba" actually came out in June last year, but the video was just released this week and it's incredible. The 19-year-old rapper has a very unorthodox sound—his tracks often sound more like rallying cries than party anthems. The visuals for "Mo Bamba" put Sheck's charisma on full display, you can see early on why he's caught the eyes and ears of guys like Travis Scott and Kanye West.—Eric Isom

6LACK - "Cutting Ties"


On Valentine's Day, 6LACK offered catharsis in the form of "Cutting Ties," a brooding breakup track. He dedicated the song to everyone spending the holiday alone, tweeting "If you have a valentine good for you, if you don’t this for you" upon its release. OZ's woozy production sets a somber tone, matching the heaviness of 6LACK's lyricism. As a moody synth loop swells around him, 6LACK mourns the end of a dying relationship and enters an existential vortex, admitting, "this world is new to me, I do not know it."

"Cutting Ties" captures the complicated emotions that come with ending an unhealthy relationship and confronting difficult change.—Charlotte Freitag

Diplo & DRAM - "Look Back"


"It was a honor to work with the big homie Diplo on a record that's different from what you're used to hearing from the Big Baby. It's still 100% me and I hope you enjoy it," DRAM tweeted to introduce his latest record.

"Look Back" is certainly something different from the Virginia artist, a far cry from tracks like "Cash Machine" or "Broccoli." But DRAM's versatility has been one of his greatest assets from the jump—he sounds at home on songs with everyone from Trippie Redd or Playboi Carti to Erykah Badu or Neil Young—and this time he kills it on his rock star shit over squealing guitars and pounding drums.—Alex Gardner

Watch our interview with DRAM at ComplexCon here.

Everything Is Recorded ft. Kamasi Washington & Obongjayar - "She Said"

everything is recorded ed morris

Richard Russell's Everything Is Recorded album is out now, and although the guests vary from Giggs to Owen Pallett, from Kamasi Washington to Syd, from Ibeyi to Wiki, he makes it into a cohesive whole. The XL Recordings founder brings together established artists with rising talents, and on tracks like "She Said" the results are fantastic, with London's Obongjayar delivering a commanding vocal performance alongside Russell and Kamasi Washington.

"There's a lot for both parties to gain out of that," Russell told us of these unlikely pairings. "I've got a strong sonic taste, I suppose, and an idea of what things are meant to sound like. It's slightly hard to put into words, but it's something I can express when I'm working on things. So I think in that regard, it wasn't difficult to make this into a coherent whole, because there’s a kind of sonic thread which I think is very hip-hop and soul influenced." —Alex Gardner

Read our extensive interview with music industry veteran Richard Russell here.

YBN Nahmir - "Bounce Out With That"

ybn final final

There's a lot to be said about the strategy of releasing a single that's under two minutes long. The short length can feel like a trick to get replays and rack up streams but YBN Nahmir's "Bounce Out With That" isn't just stream bait, it's actually a really good song that just feels too damn short.

The Alabama teen has a distinctive Bay Area bounce to his approach this time around, proving that he has more in the tank than "Rubbin Off The Paint." This track deserves all the replays, and the 11 million YouTube views (and counting) prove just that.—Adrienne Black

Cozz ft. Kendrick Lamar - "Hustla's Story"

cozz live

With his sharp observations and hard-earned pragmatism, Cozz is a true everyman MC, and “Hustla’s Story” is a salute both to the hustlers in his life and the hustle as a mentality essential for survival. One of the standouts off his new album Effected, the song sees the L.A. rapper link up with Kendrick Lamar atop a wormy bass line that seems to foreshadow danger just around the corner.

Painting vivid images of his parents’ relationship and the tragic cycle of his neighborhood dopeman, Cozz shows himself to be both plain-spoken and philosophical, recalling rappers like Jay Rock and Dave East. Kendrick is fully in his bag, switching between a melodic, coolly detached flow and speedy verbal gymnastics without breaking a sweat.—Grant Rindner

Cautious Clay - "Blood Type"

cautious clay press 2018

Since his debut single "Cold War" late last year, Cautious Clay has consistently released music that demands your attention. His production is grand but his voice remains calm to create a balance that feels just right. The newcomer released his Blood Type EP this week and the title track is an immediate standout.

On "Blood Type," Cautious Clay proves himself yet again. The song starts slowly but soon the chorus comes crashing down like a wave, elevating the energy of the track entirely. He delivers another punch with the sharp line, "To the love of my life, I wish I was stable," which has the power to not only stick with you but make you restart the track and really focus on the storytelling. "Blood Type" can be interpreted in a few ways depending on your own experience, and maybe that's the beauty in it.—Adrienne Black

Nilüfer Yanya - “Thanks 4 Nothing”

nilufer yanya press photo

One of 2017’s most magnetic newcomers, Nilüfer Yanya enters 2018 with a stunner, the walloping “Thanks 4 Nothing,” an ode to the necessity of cutting lingering ties. The thorny subject matter is perfect fodder for Yanya’s inimitable voice, here showcasing its most vulnerable highs and resolute lows. Her guitar chords are surreal and dreamlike, but come with a somber sense of finality and clarity that accompanies that last deep breath taken before making a difficult decision.

In a crowded field of rising U.K. singer-guitarists, Yanya separates herself from the pack by rendering the painful and tender moments of love with a slightly off-kilter, illusory quality that only makes the universal truths sting more.—Grant Rindner

YG - “Suu Whoop”


On first listen, “Suu Whoop” is kind of a weird song. As YG growls about gang life over hard-hitting drums, there’s a crazy high-pitched voice in the background that keeps blurting out, “Suuuuu Whoooooop.” Honestly, it threw me off at first. But after repeat listens, it’s the kind of thing that grows on you. Eventually, you end up happily yelling along to that little voice. Kanye West has perfected the tactic of throwing ridiculous little elements into songs that end up being crowd favorites: “Okay, okay, okay, okay, okay, OKAY!”

It looks like YG figured that out as well. "Suu Whoop" is a strong start to 2018.—Eric Skelton

Lil Gnar ft. Germ - "Codeine Lemonade"

Lil Gnar and Germ

Lil Gnar just started releasing music this past September, and he's already picked up steam in the music industry. The Atlanta-born artist seems to thrive at everything he tries—he's a solid skater and successful clothing designer, all on top of his burgeoning rap career. Gnar released Big Bad Gnar Shit with fellow Atlanta act Germ, and "Codeine Lemonade" is a standout, with Gnar and Germ showcasing hypnotic flows to match the Izak production.—Eric Isom

​Get to know Lil Gnar with his recent episode of Trending Topics.

Miri Ben Ari - "Jam With Me"


Miri Ben-Ari is far from new to the music industry. She's already worked with Grammy winners and now the violinist/producer has used her success to help others and she's done endless humanitarian work and started her own non-for-profit organization Gedenk. Ben-Ari also has worked on music of her own and today she's here to share "Jam With Me," an uptempo record that puts her variety of musical abilities on full display. Speaking on the song, she stated, "Music is all about jamming! My musical journey started as a classical violinist from a small town in Israel and crossed over to many musical genres and collaborations with artists such as Kanye West, Jay-Z, Armin Van Buuren and Aventura to name a few. It didn't happen overnight and involved lots of jamming. I used to go to clubs and jam all night in order to become a better musician. Jamming with other people is all about listening and playing along, it teaches you how much you can learn from others!"

BOOTS ft. Run The Jewels & Cristina Miloti - "Delete Delete"


BOOTS and Run The Jewels have a lengthy history of collaborations—the producer/guitarist/singer has appeared on all three RTJ albums, going back to the classic "2100." BOOTS has a knack for crafting menacing textures that perfectly suit the pummeling bars of El-P and Killer Mike.

For their collaboration on BOOTS' surprise EP #DARKDAZE, the trio connects with singer Cristina Milioti to craft “Delete Delete,” a lurid track with bruising 808 bass. Featuring a scene-stealing verse from Killer Mike, “Delete Delete” is another strong entry in RTJ’s antihero crusader canon, bolstered by distorted vocals and a killer hook from BOOTS.—Grant Rindner

Grim Dave - "Grim"

Grim Dave

The Virginia rapper formerly known as DP makes his return with new music for the first time in two years, and a new name: Grim Dave. His new song "Grim" is a return to the vicious lyricism and dark production that Dave is so good with, and it's a sharp and necessary contrast to all the dreamy, melodic rap so prevalent in popular hip-hop today.—Jacob Moore

Wiki ft. Antwon - “Ball on the Low”

wiki stickball video

Appreciating life’s luxuries (like a deli sandwich piled to the ceiling) requires perspective, and the new collaboration from Wiki and Antwon makes sure that we know about the nights they were broke and sleeping in sprinter vans so that we appreciate their success even more. “Ballin on the Low” is one of two new songs Wiki released as bonus tracks off 2017’s No Mountains in Manhattan, and it’s a perfect showcase for the MC’s New York bars over grainy synths and hyperactive hi-hats. The juxtaposition between Wiki’s mid-range rasp and Antwon’s authoritative baritone makes us even more excited for more tunes from Secret Circle, the pair’s group with Lil Ugly Mane.—Grant Rindner

​Watch Wiki answer tough questions asked by cute puppies here.

Rhye - "Feel Your Weight"


If you're looking for a project that you can throw on and play from front to back, Rhye's new album Blood is a strong option. The album is one long mood, packed with sexy grooves and hushed melodies. The soft tones, sparse arrangements, and gentle falsetto can be misleading, though—there are some surprisingly funky moments on the project. The musicianship on Blood is understated but impressive, and "Feel Your Weight" is one of the more upbeat standouts that puts this on display.—Jacob Moore

Demo Taped - “Own It”

Demo Taped

There are shades of Jai Paul and Nao in Demo Taped’s brand of soulful pop, which seems to constantly be blooming and wilting with waves of textured synths and swelling gospel vocals. “Own It” is one of his catchiest tracks yet, challenging tired notions of masculinity with candy-colored blasts of organs, infectious synth runs, and simple, honest lyrics. The song is a taste of his new Momentary EP, and after a relatively quiet 2017 we’re thrilled the 19-year-old is back with a full body of work we can sink our teeth into.—Grant Rindner

Get to know the multi-talented artist in oue Who Is? video here.