Hear that? Sounds good, doesn't it? What is it, you ask?
It's the sound of way too much great music. Sure, we get at least 10 amazing songs every week. But April's first weekend really spoiled us and for the first time in 2018, it felt like too much music to swim through in just a few days.
Cardi B's debut. New Drake. Must-hear albums from Saba, Kali Uchis, Flatbush Zombies, ODIE, and Tom Misch. The steadily intoxicating eroticism of anticipating my Endless vinyl arriving after what seems like half a year. Yup, the music gods truly blessed us, and not Lil Xan's album could ruin it.
Here are the 10 best hip-hop and R&B songs this week. Listen in a Spotify playlist here.
Drake — “Nice For What”
You can feel it. The rumblings of doubt creeping up in the deep recesses of even the biggest Drake detractors. God’s plan? Charity? Women’s empowerment? Lauryn Hill samples? What is there to hate on, other than cover art?
“Nice For What” might actually be my favorite thing Drake has ever done. From the song to the sample to the beat to the video to the message, it’s undeniable. All hail Drake, who has somehow become even more calculated and successful than ever before.
Cardi B — “I Do” ft. SZA
After months of speculation, we can finally put doubts of Cardi’s ability to translate hot songs into a great album to rest. Invasion of Privacy is as satisfying a superstar debut as we could have hoped for, and it’s closing SZA collab is unsurprisingly a merciless tag-team banger.
Saba — “PROM/KING”
As unfortunate it may be, there’s no denying the profound effect that loss can imprint upon the creative mind. Saba lost his cousin, friend, and fellow Pivot Gang artist John Walt last year in a tragic act of violence, and the pain and loneliness resulting from that incident shaped the Chicago rapper’s latest full-length offering, CARE FOR ME.
Colored in shades of grey and shrouded in reflective seriousness, the album is quietly fantastic, finding Saba trying to make equal sense of the world around him and the emotions within. “PROM/KING” is vivid storytelling, a harrowing retelling of high school prom, the kindling of a deep bond with his cousin, and the events leading up to his cousin’s passing. While it might not offer the replay value of the tracks that surround it, “PROM/KING” is one of the most emotionally striking records of the year.
Nines — “I See You Shining”
Over a year removed from the release of his debut album, One Foot Out, London rapper and XL signee Nines has finally returned with new music, a glistening ode to lavish living “I See You Shining.”
Kali Uchis — “Just a Stranger” ft. Steve Lacy
After years of flashing promise, Kali Uchis has finally unveiled her long-awaited debut LP, a sprawling, genre-hopping affair that counts Tyler, The Creator, Thundercat, Damon Albarn, Kevin Parker, and Jorja Smith as just a few of its talented guests. Assisted by The Internet’s Steve Lacy and BROCKHAMPTON’s Romil Hemnani, “Just a Stranger” is a nostalgic groove from the stardom-bound singer.
A$AP Rocky — "A$AP Forever" ft. Moby
After a series of disappointing "tests" culminating in a proper single where he was outshined by BlocBoy JB, A$AP Rocky has finally instilled some reassurance for longtime fans that his first album since 2015's AT.LONG.LAST.A$AP will be worth the three-year wait. All it took was a 19-year-old Moby sample and one of the year's best music videos.
Tom Misch — “Lost In Paris” ft. GoldLink
Tom Misch's music just feels so fucking good. "Lost In Paris" is no exception. Also, GoldLink raps.
Bobby Sessions — "Like Me"
Dallas' Bobby Sessions, the first Def Jam signing by new CEO Paul Rosenberg, raps like a man possessed over galvanizing production on his political major-label introduction "Like Me."
Topaz Jones — "Cotton Fields"
Topaz Jones continues his streak as one of the funkiest rappers on the planet with a song inspired by a psychedelic trip in the woods.
ODIE — "Little Lies"
Technically, "Little Lies" was released in January, but since ODIE's very strong debut Analogue just dropped, and because the Toronto-raised singer is an artist you need to know, go ahead and start here.
Album of the Week:
Tie: Saba — CARE FOR ME / Cardi B — Invasion of Privacy / Kali Uchis — Isolation