- Cordae and Lil Wayne, Sinister (B+): One of the most promising rising stars in the rap game, Cordae’s debut album, The Lost Boy, showed promise but since then he has become even more proficient. His growth shows in this tightly produced track featuring Lil Wayne. Great bars, great beat, good track.
- SZA, I Hate U (B): Solana Rowe, known as SZA, releases her first solo single since 2020’s Good Days. Although the structure is loose, the production (featuring a catchy riff) and writing are strong throughout, highlighted by stunning vocals. Let’s hope that this means a new album is coming since we’ve been waiting since 2017…
- Brent Faiyaz, MERCEDES (B-): Maryland native, Brent Faiyaz, never ceases to ignore his potential. His features are excellent, but his solo output has been largely lifeless to this date. Although this song has a great beat and good vocals, the writing itself is just not as good as he needs to shine.
- Shawn Mendes, It’ll Be Okay (C+): Following his breakup with Camilla Cabello, Shawn Mendes has put out a breakup song and it is predictably intimate and indulgent. This song features great vocals and good instrumentals, but the back half of the track becomes a mess of emotional strings, piano, overdramatic drums, and changes of dynamics, and it overwhelms the sensitive material.
- Rick Ross, The-Dream, and Willie Falcon, Little Havana (C+): With an open endorsement from a cocaine kingpin (Falcon), Rick Ross continues his consistent career as the mafioso of Miami. This track features good bars and a passable beat but it lags part-way through, making it feel a little too relaxed.
- Ariana Grande and Kid Cudi, Just Look Up (C): On this film track, Ariana shows off impressive vocals over a blandly epic instrumental. Putting Kid Cudi on this song is a strange decision because his style so clearly clashes with Ariana’s and the writing.
- Juice WRLD and Justin Bieber, Wandered to LA (C): The newest posthumous track from the late Jarad Higgin’s vault. This one has a solid performance from Juice but the production and Bieber feature are shameless and uninspired hit bait.
- NLE Choppa, Jumpin (C-): The past few releases from Choppa were more energetic and focused than the shallow bangers that made him famous. This new single, however, is repetitive, lazy, and feels too long at 3 minutes exactly.
- Tierra Whack, Rap? (B): Possibly the most perplexing modern rapper, Tierra Whack’s output has been bizarre and strangely brilliant. On this brief EP, Tierra shows her “pop” side with self-conscious bangers using mainstream hip-hop cliches. Whether Tierra is commenting on rap culture or just producing bangers the product is good.
- Polo G, Hall of Fame 2.0 (B-): Polo follows up his 2021 album, Hall of Fame, with a deluxe version featuring 14 new tracks. Although several of the new tracks are not good, Polo has improved his rapping notably, with subtler autotune and more emotion. This complete project is way too long but the newest additions are a considerable improvement.