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.
Drake ft. JAY-Z - "Talk Up"
Out of the 25 songs on Drake's Scorpion, there are only four officially featured artists. Two of those artists (Static Major and Michael Jackson) are no longer with us, and Ty Dolla $ign is basically a given if you're making music in 2018. That leaves one feature, JAY-Z, and it goes to good use. The tone is set by a booming, N.W.A.-sampling, gothic-tinged, bully of a beat by DJ Paul, and Drake and Hov both show up for the highlight off Side A of Scorpion.—Jacob Moore
Kanye West & Kid Cudi - "4th Dimension"
I stayed up late waiting for the stream, but as soon as that first note hit, as soon as Pusha's voice flooded my speakers, waiting to hear Kids See Ghosts felt worth it. Kanye and Kid Cudi's collaborative album seems to fill some of the void that ye created. Whereas ye felt abrupt, Kids See Ghosts feels concise and purposeful; whereas Kanye sounded unfocused on the former, there seems to be extra effort put into his own flow as well as the production that highlights Cudi's signature style.
"4th Dimension" is an immediate standout, with both 'Ye and Cudi sounding their best on a beat reminiscent of the G.O.O.D. Fridays era. Though Cudi is often commended for his mood-setting humming, it's always exciting to hear him lay down a few bars. It's also exciting that the two sound like they're having fun on the record, a welcome change from the recent music and conversation around Kanye.—Joyce
Yung Bans ft. Juice WRLD - "Round"
Yung Bans has been going from strength to strength with each new release in his self-titled project series, polishing his sound and mastering the art of delivering earworms in his signature low-key delivery. Vol. 5 dropped this month, and it's impressively versatile, from surefire summer hit "Ridin" to the brilliantly left-field "Stuntin Like My Daddy." There are no weak links, but "Round" was an instant favorite. Yung Bans and Juice WRLD are two of the new artists who have shone the brightest in 2018, so it makes sense that this collaborative track would be a winner.—Alex Gardner
Charli XCX - "Focus"
Since it began in earnest on Number 1 Angel, the alliance between Charli XCX and PC Music's stable of producers has been nothing short of iconic. Their glitchy electronica and her daring pop choices have made for some excellent collabs, the latest of which dropped earlier this week: "Focus" is love at hyperspeed, with A.G. Cook and Jack & Coke teaming up for punchy synth flourishes and growling bass, while Charli provides a breathy, seductive plea for concentration. She's locked in, and is consistently making her best music yet.—Graham Corrigan
Jay Rock ft. Kendrick Lamar - "Wow Freestyle"
Jay Rock provides a wide range of styles on Redemption, but he still sounds most comfortable alongside his Black Hippy associates. "Wow Freestyle" features an irresistible flute sample from Hit-Boy and G Day, which provides ample room and energy for Jay and Kendrick to trade verses with increasing intensity. It's a fun, giddy track that showcases the pair's indestructible chemistry and serves as a worthy sequel to "King's Dead."—Graham Corrigan
Jorja Smith - "Lifeboats (Freestyle)"
Jorja Smith is a transcendent singer and gifted songwriter, but who knew she had fire bars? On “Lifeboats (Freestyle)” one of the standouts from her stellar debut album Lost & Found, Smith floats over a laid-back instrumental, switching between sung and rapped vocals with a grace that would put most MCs (including Smith collaborator Drake) on notice. Lyrically, Smith takes the idea of drowning and stretches it to apply to a myriad of situations, from personal demons to systemic oppression to wealth inequality.
“Even money sinks to the bottom when it's waterlogged / So nobody truly stays afloat,” she muses at the end of the second verse, a warning about chasing material gains over helping your fellow humans. That “Lifeboats” also works as breezy summer drive music is a testament to Smith’s charisma and emotive delivery, which finds the dark humor in the bleak circumstances she describes. Lost & Found is filled with powerhouse ballads, but this shows Smith is capable of shining in any number of musical surroundings.—Grant Rindner
A$AP Ferg - "Verified"
A$AP Ferg is king of the summer. He makes music that makes you sweat, barking over raunchy, bawdy beats that carom off the walls of your skull. Lately, Ferg's been doubling down on the feverish energy that made last year's Still Striving so irresistible: collaborations with IDK, Denzel Curry, and Joey Bada$$ have left 2018 in the palm of Ferg's hands, but he's on his own for these latest loosies.
"Verified" is technically the B-side to "Not The Boy," but both tracks are strong enough to stand out on their own. Ferg's ode to blue checks is a zany feat of storytelling, following Harlem's finest through his morning Listerine routines and digital dopamine hits. I can't tell how serious Ferg is when he chants about how "that blue check is gon' validate me," but there's a thousand percent chance I'm screaming it in a crowded room by month's end.—Graham Corrigan
Rico Nasty ft. BlocBoy JB - "In The Air"
Maryland rapper Rico Nasty's new project Nasty is her first release with Atlantic, and she's capitalized on the buzz of 2017 mixtape Sugar Trap 2 with an energetic and consistent release. Her raw, brash rap style finds a perfect partner in Memphis rising star BlocBoy JB, who comes through with another personality packed verse over a fist pumping beat from frequent collaborator Tay Keith.—Alex Gardner
The Carters - "713"
EVERYTHING IS LOVE is an album that would have gone down in history regardless of its content. Beyoncé and JAY-Z are at that level now—anything they release will be a commercial success, automatically adored by their legions. But they delivered despite the security—The Carters at the top for a reason, and "713" is case in point. It's feels, at first, like a straightforward piano beat for Jay to boast on. Which he does, providing some of the album's strongest bars about remaining honest with yourself after fame, but it's Bey's pre-chorus and ferocious, hook (that little Auto-Tune flourish!) that gives the song its weight. Beyoncé's Houston and the reinvention of Dr. Dre's best hooks make "713" unskippable, and a crown jewel on an album full of gems.—Graham Corrigan
Inner Wave and Bane's World - "Whoa"
Currently on tour together, Inner Wave and Bane's World are two of our favorite young acts from Southern California, and they blend their talents with ease on "Whoa." Mixing crazy little electronic flairs from Inner Wave with the effortlessly smooth sound of Bane's World, the song takes shape as a relaxing summer that you'll want to get up and dance to as well. Queue this one up at your 4th of July BBQ.—Eric Skelton
Drake ft. Michael Jackson - "Don't Matter To Me"
It's unclear how Drake managed to make this one happen, but the Michael Jackson feature on "Don't Matter To Me" works way better than it has any right to. Where did this posthumous vocal track from the biggest pop star to ever live come from? And more importantly, why does Drake have it? There are so many questions to ask, which makes sense considering Drake loves to sprinkle riddles throughout his albums like clumsy subs in an Instagram caption.
Regardless of how "Don't Matter To Me" came to be, it ushers in the last stretch of Scorpion beautifully. It's an appearance that could have worked just as well if The Weeknd was behind it, but something about MJ providing the hook feels a little more monumental. It fits well, despite how thorny its mere existence might be, offering a glimpse at what his music might have sounded like were he still with us today.—Joe Price
Nas - "Adam & Eve"
The new Nas album, his first since 2012's Life is Good, arrived during a whirlwind of hype around Kanye-assisted projects. The buzz behind Kanye's new album, the Kanye and Cudi album, and Pusha T's album is still percolating, but Nas shifted attention to himself with the announcement of the Kanye-produced NASIR and a striking album cover shared on Thursday night. It's hard to judge the project based off the live stream playback of Nas' listening event, but the second song, "Adam & Eve," is already a new addiction. Over a piano loop fit for a Western flick, Nas' sharp lyricism and slick confidence remove all doubt that the 44-year-old Queens representative has still got it.—Jacob Moore
Lykke Li - "sex money feelings die"
Before Lykke Li's So Sad So Sexy album came out, she mentioned that she'd be going back to her pop roots. That's definitely the case on the hook-centric "sex money feelings die," but it comes with all the depth, emotion, and sophistication that has always set the Swedish singer apart from more
straightforward basic pop stars.—Jacob Moore
6LACK - "Switch"
6LACK told fans "I think my album is done" earlier this month, and quickly returned with a new song called "Switch." Moody and melodic as we've come to expect from the singer, it's a polished R&B song that touches on fame and the Freaky Friday idea of switching places with somebody else. With his "OTW" collaboration with Khalid and Ty Dolla $ign still in rotation and that album on the way, 2018 is set to be another monster year for 6LACK.—Alex Gardner
Okay Kaya - "Glitch"
Okay Kaya's debut album Both was released at the beginning of this month. It's the end of a three-year road for the Norwegian artist, and the resulting 14 tracks are an appropriately ambitious distillation. Kaya is moving beyond the guitar and voice setup into something more ambitious, electronic, and layered—"Glitch" is a serious accomplishment, a weird, bewitching pairing of Matrix-inspired lyrics and saintly strings. By song's end, her voice is as clear and confident as it's ever been, doubtlessly emboldened by a backing choir of vocal clones and the transcendent atmosphere. It's a moment. "Glitch" is below, and you can listen to Both here.—Graham Corrigan
Best Picture ft. Bernard Jabs - "Gold Mint"
I've been intrigued by Georgia rapper Bernard Jabs since first hearing him earlier this year, but he still hasn't released any music on Spotify. I know this because I'm constantly searching for Bernard Jabs on Spotify so I can add his songs to daily personal playlists. Still no original Jabs music there, but I did stumble on this Best Picture song called "Gold Mint," which features Jabs prominently, and it's a new addiction. Check it out below and hear it on our P&P Weekly playlist on Spotify.—Jacob Moore
Peter CottonTale ft. Chance The Rapper, Daniel Caesar, Rex Orange County, and More - "Forever Always"
Chance The Rapper, Daniel Caesar, Rex Orange County, and Peter CottonTale are on the same song, and it sounds even better than it looks on paper. Squeezing that many big artists into one track often produces cluttered music with no clear direction, but CottonTale seamlessly stitches vocals from each artist—plus Madison Ryann Ward and Yebba—into a smooth, cohesive mix. This has the same effortless feel we loved about The Social Experiment's Surf, with perhaps a little more polish. "Forever Always" feels warm. It feels comforting. It feels good.—Eric Skelton
Popcaan - "Firm and Strong"
I'm not going to lie, I was not expecting Popcaan to take me to church on this track. With a title like "Firm and Strong" I was ready for raunchy lyrics and a party tune (that's saved for companion single "Wine For Me," also released this week) and then I got hit right in the soul by Popcaan's ghetto gospel. The beat starts sparse and haunting but by the end of the song a 20 person choir takes control, and launches things to the next level. Never underestimate Popcaan's versatility.
His new album Forever is due this summer via Mixpak.—Alex Gardner
MorMor - "Waiting on the Warmth"
Toronto artist MorMor debuted with the delicate, alternative pop of "Heavens Only Wishful" and followed up with another winner, "Whatever Comes To Mind." His next single, "Waiting On The Warmth," starts slow but bursts to life with a huge, technicolor chorus.
"A lot of my inspiration stems from wanting to share a perspective of Toronto that I feel hasn’t been represented," MorMor told us. "I’m glad Toronto is getting a lot of attention right now, but my experience of the city that has shaped me isn’t really part of the story yet."
MorMor's Heaven's Only Wishful EP is out now.—Alex Gardner
Florence + The Machine - "Big God"
Florence + The Machine's music has always had an otherworldly quality to me because of her unique voice, but "Big God" is about a very modern phenomenon.
"It was written about that feeling when someone has not replied to your text, the modern phenomenon of ‘Ghosting’ which is one of my favorite words but not my favorite feeling," she explains. "I was describing it to someone and they said to me ‘You need a big god,’ as if the need in me were so cavernous, it would take something enormous to fill it. Probably something bigger than a text message."
It's a spare, slow-paced song that eventually bursts into life, and it's a reminder that however much success she's already had, Florence has never been content to stick to a formula. Her new album High As Hope is out now.—Alex Gardner
Boy Pablo - "Sick Feeling"
Roughly nine months after winning the YouTube algorithm lottery and ending up with a surprise hit on his hands, Boy Pablo is proving his success was no fluke. Following the viral success of the charming "Everytime" video, the Norwegian teenager has delivered two excellent follow-ups—first "Losing You" and now "Sick Feeling"—that have built on his calming brand of jangly pop. It doesn't have a charismatic squinty-eyed music video (yet), but "Sick Feeling" might be his most polished, catchy effort yet.—Eric Skelton
Lou The Human - "Play Your Part"
"I work better when my heart is broken," Lou The Human raps at the top of a track that includes references to Kurt Cobain and '02-era Eminem. In a nutshell, that's what I love so much about his songs. Lou is far from anything you could label "soft," but like Cobain and Eminem, he's at his best when he's tapping into an emotional place and communicating those feelings through raw, visceral music. It's easy to get caught up in the Selena Gomez references and the wild characters he comes up with, but at the core of every Lou The Human song is an intelligent young rapper working through real, personal issues in his own unique way. "Play Your Part" is no exception.—Eric Skelton
Kanye West - "Ghost Town"
While the conversation around his recent comments should continue, it feels good to talk about Kanye West's music, rather than his politics.
Fortunately, ye is an album that highlights Kanye's powers of curation as much as his lyricism. "Ghost Town," for example, features opposite bookends of 2018 Kanye. Kid Cudi is a confidante and long-term co-creator. The two produced timeless classics and weathered significant storms, and Kids See Ghost is due out next week. 070 Shake is one of GOOD Music's newest signees, and has been building—most recently with March's Glitter EP. Her breakout moment is here—she previously featured on Pusha T's "Santeria," and then made a star-making appearance on "Ghost Town."
Together, Cudi and Shake push the song into epic, operatic territory. I think the right verb for what they're doing is "belting." Kanye's production follows suit, finding a middle ground between "Runaway" and "Otis" with big distorted guitars, organ, and tambourine. Shake boils down the "Ghost Town" missive nicely when she sings, "I put my hand on the stove, to see if I still bleed / And nothing hurts anymore, I feel kind of free."—Graham Corrigan
Teyana Taylor - "Gonna Love Me"
If you miss the old Kanye, chop up the soul Kanye, this one's for you. Over a perfect sample of The Delfonics “I Gave to You,” Teyana Taylor reminds us of the effortless allure of her voice, crafting a timeless love song that is one of K.T.S.E.'s standout moments. Her album may have been the last of the five release Wyoming run, but it ended up being one of the best.—Alex Gardner
A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie ft. Jessie Reyez - “Pretending”
While A Boogie does bravado well, the singer-rapper’s finest moments often come on raw, romantically-inclined cuts like “Still Think About You” and “D.T.B.” The International Artist, his new globally-inspired EP, sees him collaborating with the likes of Tory Lanez, Davido, and Alkaline, but he finds a perfect foil in Jessie Reyez.
She joins him on “Pretending,” in which the pair try to smother their sorrow over lost love in a sea of liquor. Jahaan Sweet’s production is emotive but understated, and the woozy synths mirror the muddled 5 a.m. thoughts that can lead you to call up an ex. A Boogie is more vulnerable than ever, especially when he harmonizes with Reyez on her aching hook. The Canadian singer-songwriter conveys heartache as well as anyone, and her delivery of the closing line “My baby won't pick up” is absolutely devastating every time. A Boogie has always had melodic chops, but with the help of Sweet and Reyez he’s crafted what may be his best ballad yet.—Grant Rindner
Future ft. Yung Bans - "Bag"
There are a lot of big Future collaborations on the SUPERFLY soundtrack. One of the standout moments comes from a rising newcomer, though. "Bag" is the collaboration between Yung Bans and Future that we've been waiting for ever since we saw this picture. Over deep, rubbery bass and what sounds like a trickling marimba, Bans and Future take turns on the most effortless track from a stacked project.—Jacob Moore
88rising ft. Joji, Rich Brian, Higher Brothers & AUGUST 08 - "Midsummer Madness"
A posse cut style collaboration between all of 88rising has been long overdue, and "Midsummer Madness" absolutely delivers on its promise. Built around Joji's gorgeous hook, "Midsummer Madness" is not just an excellent display of 88rising's extensive array of talent, but also the perfect transitionary song as we head into the hotter months.
Each artist brings their a-game here, but AUGUST 08 and Higher Brothers' DZ definitely have the standout verses here, flaunting their melodic expertise so effortlessly that it threatens to outshine everything else the song has going for it. Of course, with Rich Brian delivering another precise verse over his and AUGUST 08's gorgeous production, too, that thankfully never happens. Expectations for the 88rising album couldn't be higher after this.—Joe Price
Snail Mail - "Full Control"
Snail Mail's Lush validates the hype generated by 2016's "Thinning"—Lindsey Jordan has a voice that demands attention, and her sophomore album is an impressive leap forward. "Heat Wave" might go on as the project's biggest song, but "Full Control" shows a different side of Jordan and her band. As a whole, Lush brims with the righteous indignation and bitter pills of past breakups, but the end of the album finds peace—or, at the very least, consolation. She has both hands on the wheel for "Full Control," banishing the past and moving forward with confidence.—Graham Corrigan
Gorillaz - "Humility"
Gorillaz back! Damon Albarn and co.'s virtual band have a new album, The Now Now, out on June 29, and "Humility" is the first single. It's a sunny, summery, faintly psychedelic song with a fun video to match, which stars Jack Black. When Gorillaz are at their best, they're one of the most exciting bands around, and this gives me high hopes for the upcoming album.—Alex Gardner
Tierra Whack - "Cable Guy"
Tierra Whack dropped this months most consistent project. 15 tracks, 15 minutes, no skips. Every song on Whack World leaves you wanting more, and "Cable Guy" might be the chief example. Whack's sounding heartbroken over stock electric piano and clipped drums, flipping through channels and bemoaning a love lost. The way she fills space is incredible, and her flow in the song's second half is one of the project's numerous jaw-dropping moments.—Graham Corrigan
Mura Masa ft. Octavian - "Move Me"
Nothing has slowed British artist Octavian down since he released "Party Here" towards the end of 2017. Each new track is a reminder of the rapper's restless creativity and ability to switch between razor-sharp rapping and melodic deliveries with ease. March release "Hands," which eschewed rapping for singing, was especially impressive, and this month Octavian returned with British producer Mura Masa. The beat bumps and Octavian goes off again, confirming his status as one of the most exciting new artists out.—Alex Gardner
Buddy ft. Ty Dolla $ign - "Hey Up There"
Buddy has been going from strength to strength recently, showing off his different styles and collaborating with A-list artists. His last song was "Trouble On Central" was smooth and funk, previous release "Black" was a rap workout with A$AP Ferg, and on "Hey Up There" he gets an assist from Ty Dolla $ign. It's an uplifting song with a catchy hook, and the video is great too—it was shot at the Compton airport and Tomorrow's Aeronautical Museum which are across the street from where Buddy grew up. His debut album Harlan & Alondra comes out July 20.—Alex Gardner
Hana Vu - “426”
Aching, tender, and still somehow breezily Californian, “426” is the latest stunner from Hana Vu, a 17-year-old singer-songwriter-producer with a skill set far beyond her years. The song lopes along with chugging percussion and beachy guitar chords, but the serene production is undercut by an understanding of how fragile the blissful stasis of youth can be. “If I go searching for / Better weather / Will I love home / More than I have ever,” Vu wonders. There are shades of Mitski in her candor and frankness, as well as the subversive way a group like Tennis uses the architecture of their songs for thematic misdirection, but Vu is is a thrilling talent all her own. Her project, How Many Times Have You Driven By showcases her abilities in a wide range of contexts, and “426” just happens to be the example that is also perfect for the drive home after a long summer night.—Grant Rindner