Various Artists — Judas and the Black Messiah: The Inspired Album
A long-awaited collaboration between JAY-Z and the late, great Nipsey Hussle may be the biggest draw. Still, there’s plenty to love on the “inspired album” accompaniment to Fred Hampton biopic Judas and the Black Messiah. Executive produced by Hit-Boy, the film’s director and writer Ryan Coogler, Interscope VP of A&R Dash Sherrod, and RCA SVP of Marketing Archie Davis, the full-length project also features Nas, H.E.R., Black Thought, Rakim, A$AP Rocky, Lil Durk, Polo G, G Herbo, Pooh Shiesty, and many more for a soulful mix of hip-hop and R&B that sets a high bar for the film itself.
CKay — Boyfriend
CKay has the only Valentine’s Day gift you’ll need. The Nigerian singer-songwriter’s Boyfriend EP is seven tracks of sultry, sensitive love songs that capture the stories and emotions of his relationships over the last few years. Oxlade, KiDi, Amaarae, and Bianca Costa help CKay open up.
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Babyface Ray — Unfuckwitable
Babyface Ray has long been a regional star in Detroit, where the rap scene has experienced a growing spotlight over the last few years. Unfuckwitable, his new EP and first project in nearly a year, looks to build off of this attention. The laid-back rapper is joined by Moneybagg Yo, Kash Doll, and Louisville’s EST Gee across seven tracks that mix his usual racing Detroit production (“Real N*ggas Don’t Rap,” “Like Daisy Lane”) with more Southern-inspired beats (“If You Know You Know”).
Chris Crack — Might Delete Later
Over the last few years, Chicago’s Chris Crack has established himself as one of rap’s most irreverent personalities across a prolific streak of independent releases with outlandish titles and a sneering sense of wit. Might Delete Later, his debut for Fool’s Gold, highlights everything to love about the rapper, from song names (“Fapping Ruined My Life,” “Creampies Are Consensual”) to raps that balance the philosophical (“And they say it’s just depression but it’s really stress”) with the flippant (“PBR next to my toothbrush”).
Kranium — Toxic
Jamaican dancehall star Kranium returns with his first project since 2019’s Midnight Sparks. Toxic is exactly what you’d expect from its name, as Kranium covers his favorite topic—sex—across a tight set of polished dancehall pop. Rytikal is the sole guest on the five-track EP, which features the 2020 hit “Gal Policy” and is promised to be an “appetizer” to an upcoming full-length.