With so many new rap albums, mixtapes, EPs and songs dropping every week; knowing which ones are worth your time can be a challenge. But no worries, we'll help smooth out the process with "Now N' Laters," a column that highlights the hottest new releases of the week and the songs you'll want to listen to now — and later.
This week's "Now N' Laters" includes a number of high-profile album releases from some of hip hop and R&B's biggest and brightest stars. Migos member Quavo, who was rumored to be releasing a solo album for quite some time, gave fans what they've been waiting for with Quavo Huncho, the first project with him as the sole centerpiece. Rising R&B sensation Ella Mai caught lightning in a bottle with "Boo'd Up" and followed it up with the equally impressive "Trip." But, the singer looks to show and prove that she's the real deal with her highly anticipated debut album, while Roc Nation artist and XO affiliate Belly steps to the scene with Immigrant, his long-awaited studio album.
With all three albums getting airplay and dominating the conversation, REVOLT shares our critics picks for the three songs from each album that stand a cut above the rest and should be in heavy rotation. Be sure to let us know what your favorites are in the comments below.
"Biggest Alley Oop"
Quavo kicks off his highly anticipated solo album, Quavo Huncho, in grand fashion with "Biggest Alley Oop," an introductory cut that captures the Migos member in a triumphant mood. Produced by CuBeatz and 30 Roc, and powered by flutes and vocal chants, "Biggest Alley Oop" finds Quavo levying boastful statements while sharing his ambitions for the future.
"Flip The Switch"
The Migos' collaborative history with Drake is storied and runs deep. So, the 6 God's appearance on the Quavo Huncho track, "Flip The Switch" is among the more pleasant surprises from Quavo's solo set. Borrowing Juvenile's "Ha" flow, Huncho delivers a surefire hit with this CuBeatz and Wheezy produced standout.
Guitar licks greet listeners on "Swing," a mid-tempo selection on Quavo Huncho that beckons women to the dance floor. Featuring appearances from former Fifth Harmony member-turned-soloist Normani and Nigerian singer/songwriter DaVido, "Swing" serves as a change of pace from Quavo's signature trap musings. It has the potential to be an international hit in the vein of "Unforgettable" by French Montana, who happens to be credited as a co-producer on the track.
Ella Mai, Ella Mai
One of the first selections from Mai's debut that is sure to induce a head nod -- or three -- is "Dangerous," a pulsating affair produced by renowned songwriter/boardsman Bryan-Michael Cox. On it, the British singer is enamored and in a state of infatuation. "I'm the type to play safe/Always hard to make decisions, but you break me out," Mai croons, revealing her willingness to test the limits of her love and live on the edge for romance sake.
Harmony Samuels helms the boards on "Shot Clock," a conceptual number from Mai that finds the British rising star comparing her lovers window for opportunity to a shot clock in sports. Interpolating Drake's If You're Reading This It's Too Late track, "Legend," Mai turns in another enticing ditty that is sure to quickly become a fan favorite and further boost her ascension as R&B's latest fixation.
Mai slows down the tempo with "Everything," a sleepy duet that pairs her with John Legend for one of the premier offerings from the newcomer's eponymous debut. Produced by DJ Mustard, Dayyon Alexander and Jeff Alexander, "Everything" is powered by solemn keys, guitar licks and 808 drums; resulting in a backdrop over which Mai and John Legend trade verses conveying their love and devotion that tug on the heartstrings.
"Who Hurt You"
Belly bares his soul on "Who Hurt You." It's an offering from Immigrant that captures the Canadian in a state of introspect, reflecting on his past misdeeds and the lows encountered along the road to success. Powered by a sample of The Weeknd and Drake's 2011 collaboration, "The Zone," "Who Hurt You" is a brooding composition that ranks in the strongest material that Belly's latest long player has to offer. It showcases the rapper's depth and transparency.
Liberation is at the forefront of Belly's mind on Immigrant's title-track, which finds the Palestinian descendant addressing the plight facing him and his ancestors. "There's nothin' more priceless than bein' free/Immigrant, that's why they hate me just for bein' me," Belly raps. Meek Mill also touches on the turmoil engulfing Black America in the wake of the Trump administration, resulting in a politically charged selection that pairs style with substance.
Belly collides with French Montana on "Dust," a rollicking track from Immigrant that finds the tandem volleying bars over production by The ANMLS. Reeling off an epic opening verse, Montana sets the table for his Coke Boy affiliate, who completes the cipher with a melodic hook and a stanza. This results in an epic number on Belly's project that adds to the pair's list of collaborative efforts.
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