1. Loyal Katana – STR8
19-year-old Toronto-born R&B singer and songwriter Liyah Katana unveils a brand new single and music video entitled “STR8” via Nycesound/ARTium Records/Def Jam Recordings.
“STR8” channels the sultry spirit of R&B with a fresh twist courtesy of Liyah’s show-stopping vocal range and singular sonic sensibility. On the track, her vocals practically curl around a slick beat, melting into a magnetic hook. As she confesses “falling out of love with the things you’ve done,” a string crescendo only amplifies the emotional punch. In the accompanying visual, she decamps to a stylish modern lakeside retreat. With candles lit, she overlooks the water joined by a violinist as she processes the aftermath of a breakup and, ultimately, moves on with her head held high.
The song only paves the way for her debut EP 8—coming soon.
2. Toosii – Favorite Song
This week, Toosii shared the bittersweet official video for his new hit single, “Favorite Song.” Directed by Damien Sandoval (Wiz Khalifa, Tyga, Anitta, Missy Elliott) for Happy I’m Sad production company, the video opens with Toosii alone in a massive, majestic theater after a show. As he performs “Favorite Song” in the empty room, a tender, emotional love story unfolds about a couple and the last days they spent together.
With “Favorite Song,” Toosii has achieved a new career milestone. Billboard observed, “Toosii has maintained a steady presence on Billboard’s charts over the past three years, but now he’s officially a Billboard Hot 100 hitmaker…” In its second week on the Hot 100, “Favorite Song” climbed into the top 50. Following its release by South Coast Music Group/Capitol Records, the track placed number 1 on Apple Music’s Hip-Hop chart, within the top 10 of Apple Music’s overall Top 100, and the top 10 of Spotify’s Viral 50 – USA.
Earlier this month, Toosii kicked off – and concluded – his incredible Rolling Loud California set with his first performances of “Favorite Song.” In his interview for the Rolling Loud Livestream, he spoke with YesJulz and Drea Jackson about the track. View the interview HERE. Complex hailed Toosii as “One of music’s brightest stars” and Teen Vogue said, “if you’re not in his orbit yet, you need to tap in.”
After closing out 2022 with Boys Don’t Cry: Men Do (Deluxe), which shot to #1 on Apple Music’s R&B Chart, and the direct support slot on Rod Wave’s Beautiful Mind arena tour, Toosii kicked off 2023 with “Magic Potion,” which was singled out as one of the week’s most notable new songs by XXL Magazine, Brooklyn Vegan and others upon its release.
Hailing him as one of the artists “you should keep on your radar,” Ebony noted, “[Toosii] shows a vulnerability in his music which he embraces wholeheartedly.” VIBE observed, “[Toosii] has never shied away from his feelings, and promotes how strong it makes a man to embrace them… [Toosii] has an innate ability to capture his personal experiences in a way that makes them sound like specific situations everyone has endured.”
3. LAVI$H – We Make Sense
LAVI$H was born in Lusaka, Zambia, to parents who emigrated to Winnipeg, where they sought a better life for their seven children. The stark contrast in climate and culture to his home in Central Africa was underscored by the new music that LAVI$H heard in this new land. “When I came across all these other genres, it was crazy,” he recalls, as he combined his African roots with hip-hop, heavy metal, screamo, and pop. “I couldn’t stop searching for more.” Young LAVI$H was transformed and empowered when he discovered fellow Canadian Drake’s “Headlines.” LAVI$H cut his teeth recording songs on a computer with headset mics and using the family’s soundbar as a makeshift studio monitor. Believing listeners would embrace him, he continuously uploaded songs online, seeking validation.
Chubbs from OVO heard LAVI$H’s music and played it for his team. Before long, LAVI$H had decamped to Los Angeles, where he began recording at one of Drake’s L.A. studio Houses. While honing his sound, LAVI$H developed his vision as an entrepreneur, building his CLUBBLVD brand in Toronto with Michael “Trizz” Williams and Christopher “Criti” Jack. Now, LAVI$H shares new single “We Make Sense,” ahead of his highly-anticipated debut EP You Made A Big Mistake, this Spring.
4. Saneit – Be The One
Emerging R&B sensation, Saneit breaks through the independent music scene with the noteworthy new single “Be The One” (Produced by SpunkBigga) set to release on all DSP’s Friday, March 24, 2023. “Be The One” is written by Saneit, Jean Michael, A-Train and vocal produced by Grammy nominated David Je’. This single will take you back to the soulful, feel good, R&B music era. The songstress is certainly blooming and continues to show development as an artist. Her vocal presence is solid and the production on this record creates freedom to showcase her impressive range. Since her last release, she has been connecting with compatible songwriters to show improvement with each new release. As she continues to develop, she is a talent to keep on your radar.
Coming off the success of her latest visual “Nothing Like Them”, which has amassed over 16K views and streams, the Chicago bred singer has a fan base and following that is always watching to see what she does next.
5. Peter $un – Things Can’t Stay The Same
Richmond-born, Los Angeles-based rapper Peter $un unveiled the official music video for “Things Can’t Stay The Same,” the biggest single off his 2022 EP, Phone Calls Gimme Anxiety on Red Bull Records/Mind of a Genius Records this week. Rooted in the truths of his life, he knows it’s time to move on and grow from his pain, a theme woven across the entire project. Whether it’s a bad breakup or a traumatic loss, Sunny’s lyricism is honest and relatable as he tells himself, “I’ve got to change, get my shit together.” The breathy chorus and twinkling keys parallel the moody visuals and trippy edits, drawing viewers into the world of Peter $un as he closes this chapter and prepares for the next.
Peter $un shares, “This release of the “Things Can’t Stay The Same” music video marks the end of the ‘Phone Calls Give Me Anxiety’ phase of music. The video indicates the halfway point to the next evolution of my music. Think of it as a break up from the old constructs of conciseness in love & life in my last release. This exodus frees me to explore life in its most uninhibited form on these next new releases. I’m so excited about where we are, but more excited for what’s to come.”
Earlier this month, Sunny performed to a sold-out crowd at The Peppermint Club in LA, alongside Trip Carter, Brenzy, and more. For fans that missed out, catch his anticipated co-headline show at The Roxy with YGTUT and special guests on April 30. Tickets are available here, and stay tuned for more live dates to be announced.
6. Navy Blue – Ways of Knowing
Los Angeles-born rapper, producer, professional skateboarder, and creative Navy Blue, aka Sage Elsesser, presents his anxiously awaited new album Ways of Knowing. It notably marks his full-length debut for Def Jam Recordings.
Over the course of 13 tracks, the record traverses a sonic and emotional spectrum, exploring everything from moments of insecurity to infatuation and introspection. Ways of Knowingshowcases Navy Blue’s adroit lyricism and eloquent songcraft above immersive, throwback soulful beatcraft. Piano rings out on “The Medium” as his rhymes cut through choir-style samples with an admission, “Bro, I wasn’t scared. I learned patience, cuz it made sense.” With its island-style sway, “To Fall In Love” slips into a nostalgic lovestruck groove punctuated by admissions, “I’m ready to learn how to be the man you trust.” Then, there’s “Freehold” where the airy soundscape bolsters the intention of his delivery as he wonders, “What’s the sum of all this damage done?” It culminates on “Shadow’s Shield.” A message from his mother sets the tone as he delivers one final thought-provoking verbal crescendo.
About Ways of Knowing, he shared the philosophy behind the record, “I don’t really want to be remembered as this stoic guy who’s perpetually reflecting on my trauma and Black plight, you know? I want to make something that makes people smile out of joy, rather than smile in grief.”
He paved the way for the album with “Chosen.” Beyond gaining traction at streaming platforms, it picked up plugs from Pitchfork, OkayPlayer, and more, Stereogum proclaimed, “Producer Budgie’s beat is warm and smeary and melodic, and Navy Blue sounds casual but motivated.” Insomniac Magazine hailed it as “a silky smooth joint.”
Navy Blue continues to incite curiosity and excitement in equal measure. The Los Angeles native has quietly captivated the culture with the likes of Gangway for Navy, Àdá Irin , and Song of Sage: Post Panic! , which found him trading bars with everyone from Yasiin Bey to billy woods. He maintained his momentum with Navy’s Reprise  highlighted by “Timberwolves,” pulling in 3 million-plus Spotify streams and counting. Earning tastemaker acclaim, Pitchfork attested, “His soul is bared every time he graces the jazzy, sample-heavy loops he prefers.” Not to mention, he even lent a verse to “The Mint” off Earl Sweatshirt’s seminal Some Rap Songs. 2022 saw him unleash three physical-only projects—Gift of Gabriel: Rain’s Reign!, Crypt of Carlos: Onward!, and Arc of Atreyu: Neverending!
7. 4L Javi – Double Tree
Everyone loves a hotel party. The Sugarhill Gang and Chingy called for all the ladies to pull up to the Holiday Inn, but today rising rapper and singer 4L Javi has other plans of taking it to the “DoubleTree.” With a clear influence of California house party rap, the Riverside native paints the scene of beautiful women and black trucks leaving his show to head straight to the hotel. Using his signature smooth sound, Javi reminds his special guests why he surpasses any competition over an atmospheric beat backed by 808s and snaps.
Alongside the release, Javi announces that he will be performing an all-ages event at The Observatory OC on Saturday, April 8th. The event is hosted by RosecransLIVE and will showcase Javi alongside Lil Vada, Big $wift, Thirty2, and other surprise special guests.
4L Javi has been steadily increasing his visibility and brand since he began his career in 2018 with his debut project, No Sleep. Javi started ‘4L’ with longtime friend Thirty2, and the two describe it as a group of people and a lifestyle. Javi says, “4L means everything is for life. Not just music related, with anything we do, the hustle and passion of whatever you want to do.” After receiving comparisons to Kalan.frfr, Blxst, and MCM Raymond, 4L Javi looks to pave his way in the industry by putting Riverside on the map. After delivering hits like “Models,” “Playboy,” and “Valabasas” which earned him praise from Pitchfork, FADER, UPROXX Sessions, HotNewHipHop, and over 8 million streams across all digital platforms, Javi shows a tenacity that will have him doing just that in no time.
8. Kool Keith & Real Bad Man – Serpent
After teaming up with Boldy James to release Real Bad Boldy (2021) and Killing Nothing (2022) and linking up with rising star Pink Siifu for Real Bad Flights (2022), Real Bad Man returns to announce his first collaborative album of the year with Serpent.
Serpent brings Real Bad Man together with the inimitable Kool Keith and is produced in its entirety by Real Bad Man. Serpent features appearances from Slug of Atmosphere, Ice-T, Edan, Cool Calm Pete and Zeelooperz.
“My rhymes go where the tracks take me and Serpent took me on a journey through time and space. I channeled Ultra, Ocatgon, Rhythm X, and Black Elvis to make something new and mind-blowing” Kool Keith declares. When the Serpent bites, don’t try to understand it; just enjoy the injection. The sound dynamic crystals mix so proper, my vocals and guest appearances are set in the right spots.
“My goal for this album is to capture my favorite parts from Keith’s catalog. I wanted to make beats that got into his (Keith’s) subconscious” Real Bad Man maintains. “I think it worked. “
Kool Keith x Real Bad Man’s Serpent is now available.
9. Jae Skeese – Abolished Uncertainties
The first signee to Conway The Machine’s Drumwork Music Group imprint, Jae Skeese appeared on two songs on the deluxe version of Conway The Machine’s From King To A GOD, and the first single, “Blood Roses,” from La Maquina. Skeese continued his ascent by not only appearing (“Drumwork” with fellow signee 7xvethegenius) on Conway’s Shady Records debut album God Don’t Make Mistakes, but also by contributing to the album’s rollout, as Skeese murked two different freestyles alongside Conway on Bootleg Kev and LA Leakers.
On the heels of his recently released collaborative project, Pain Provided Profit, with Conway The Machine, Drumwork Music Group Spring takeover continues with the release of Jae Skeese’s Drumwork Music Group debut album, Abolished Uncertainties, which is now available. Abolished Uncertainties is executive produced by Conway The Machine, and features appearances from Conway and Freeway.
“Abolished Uncertainties in a nutshell is ME; not only the artist but the person as well. I’m super honest and vulnerable on the album because I wanted the album to be super relatable and down to earth considering I’m coming from a position of living check to check and living a “normal” life” Skeese offers. “I wanted the message on the album to reflect that, because everyone wants more for themselves and that hunger and drive is what got me here today. Abolished Uncertainties is without a doubt the greatest work I have ever put together, I hope it inspires those that listen, and I hope my fans and supporters appreciate it for what it is.”
Jae Skeese’ Abolished Uncertainties is now available via Drumwork Music Group/EMPIRE.
10. Connie Diamond ft. KenTheMan – Move (Remix)
11. Saucy Santana – 1-800-Bad-Bxtch
Rapper and hitmaker Saucy Santana shares his latest single, “1-800-Bad-Bxtch,” out now via RCA Records.
The playful single follows a run of hits from Santana, including last year’s summer anthem “Booty” featuring Latto, “I’m Too Much,” and “Bop Bop.” Opening with a phone call from Santana, the catchy single has all the rapper’s quintessential elements – an undeniable hook, clever lyricism, and twerk-worthy production.
Between supporting tours for Latto and Lizzo, collaborating with Madonna on a remix of “Material Girl,” and a series of breakout performances for the MTV VMAs Pre-Show, BET Awards Pre-Show, and The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, 2022 belonged to Saucy Santana. He graced the covers of Teen Vogue, PAPER, and V Magazine, in addition to being selected as XXL 2022 Freshman Class member, as well as earning spots on Forbes’ 30 Under 30, the Out 100 list, and Ebony’s Power 100 list.
This year sees Santana continuing his takeover in full force, with new music to come and festival performances at Something In The Water Festival in Virginia Beach, Roots Picnic in Philadelphia, Broccoli City Festival in DC, and more.
12. Victoria Monét ft. Lucky Daye – Smoke
Grammy-nominated singer, songwriter and producer Victoria Monét is warming up for a big 2023 with the release of her fiery new single, “Smoke” feat. Lucky Daye, out now on new label home, RCA Records. Produced by frequent collaborator and Grammy winner D’Mile, Tim Suby and Yogi, “Smoke” sizzles from start to finish with Monét and Daye’s perfect harmonies taking a trip over a funky staccato bass line and soaring horn section.
“Smoke is the beginning of a new era for me! Exhaling the old and inhaling the new.” says Monét. “I am also really happy that this release is with collaborators I consider family! I can’t wait to elevate. I want all the smoke!”
Equally known to bring the heat with her visuals, Monét has also dropped the official video for “Smoke”, directed by Charlie Denis. The unabashed homage to herbal ecstasy finds Monét and Daye in surreal and sultry setups that could only be dreamt of, leading into a glimmering finale that assures: Monét season is here!
“Smoke” represents the next era of Victoria Monét and follows a string of single releases since her heralded 2020 solo project Jaguar. Remixes featuring Kehlani (“Touch Me”) and Bryson Tiller (“We Might Even Be Falling In Love (Duet)”) have reiterated the staying power of Jaguar while additional tracks “F.U.C.K” and “Coastin” built on the Jaguar sound, each with impressive visuals all set in Monét’s signature warm tones and West Coast vibes. Garnering press praise from the likes of Paper, Pitchfork, Vulture, VICE, NY Post, The New Yorker, The Guardian and more, Monét continues to evolve in her artistry while challenging social norms, gender norms, and sexual norms through her multidimensional lyricism. Monet’s breakthrough artistry led to appearances on The Late Night Show with Jimmy Kimmel Live! and The Late Show With Stephen Colbert’s #PlayAtHome + festivals such as Made In America, Sol Blume, and Day N Vegas and a coveted slot as an artist partner with Cash App Studios.
Monét recently announced her first ever headlining show in Los Angeles – which sold out in under one minute – set to take place on March 31st at the El Rey Theatre in partnership with Spotify and Goldenvoice. Monét most recently became a member of the RCA Records which signals that more new music is imminent! Victoria Monét is riding on a high with no plans to come down – until then, plan to hear “Smoke” on 420 playlists and booming out of barbecue stereos all summer long.
13. Baby Tate & Saweetie – Hey Mickey (Remix)
Atlanta breakout Baby Tate joins forces with Grammy®-nominated hitmaker Saweetie for the remix of “Hey, Mickey!” — a scorching interpolation of Toni Basil’s seminal 1981 hit via Warner Records. Fierce, empowering, and utterly addictive, the collaboration showcases the rappers’ undeniable chemistry and knack for memorable wordplay.
Tate shares, “It’s so crazy how much Hey, Mickey has blown up in the past few months! I’m super proud to be able to give this song new life with a fire verse from Saweetie along with a super hot video that I can’t wait for people to see!”
“Hey, Mickey!” combines all of Tate’s favorite elements: booming percussion, scandalous bars, and a hook to die for. “Met this boy named Mickey, he had on some yellow Dickies,” she raps on the feisty production. “I knew he was a hoe because his neck had hella hickies.” That’s when Saweetie steps up and sprinkles some magic on the mic. “Aye Mickey, maybe I could be yo’ Minnie,” she spits. “I’m about my cheddar, but I never been no snitchey.”
Tate’s original version, which first dropped in 2016 before going hyper-viral on TikTok this year, has already amassed more than 140 million global streams. With the arrival of this remix, that number is expected to skyrocket. The collaboration comes on the heels of Tate’s 2022’s acclaimed 14-track project Mani/Pedi, an infectious statement of self-love boasting features from 2 Chainz, Kali, and Slim Wav.
The Billboard ‘Chart Breaker’ has been fusing pop, rap, and R&B since the release of her 2015 debut project, ROYGBIV, which she followed with 2019’s acclaimed GIRLS, and 2021’s After the Rain. When Tate isn’t living in her own technicolor universe, she’s collaborating with her contemporaries like Babyface on “Don’t Even Think About It,” LAYA on the genre-bending “Sailor Moon 2.0” and JID on the 21 Savage-assisted “Surround Sound” from his The Forever Story album.
With the “Hey, Mickey!” remix, Tate gives an iconic hook her own, playful spin — and lines up the biggest hit of her career.
14. Nonso Amadt ft. Zinoleesky – Lock Up
Following a streak of pivotal single releases, today, globally acclaimed, Canada-based Nigerian singer, songwriter, and producer Nonso Amadi announces his awaited debut album. When It Blooms is set to releaseMay 26 through a network of international label partners comprised of Def Jam Recordings (US), Polydor Records in the UK, MCA in France with Universal Music Canada (UMC) leading the charge, offering the opportunity to strategically focus on a range of global markets, including his native region in Nigeria. Alongside the album announcement, Amadi drops the latest track off the record “Lock Up” today featuring Afrobeats sensation Zinoleesky.
When It Blooms will arrive as the first comprehensive body of work for Amadi, celebrating years of evolution through experience both as an artist and an individual. In anticipation of the album release, Amadi alludes, “I want people to listen to this project and know who I am and what I’ve gone through. I want to make great songs that tell my story for you. When It Blooms embodies my creative and personal growth, reflecting on my journey up until this point. I feel this message is best represented in the growth from seeds to a flower, uncoiling naturally for you.” The album features four previously released singles including the song that served as the epic return after a hiatus, “Foreigner,” as well as the collaborative track “Different” ft. Majid Jordan, an alliance which has garnered over 17 million global streams, plus “Eye To Eye” which picked up praise from UPROXX,MTV, COMPLEX and the patriotic single “Ease Up.”
“Lock Up” is shared as the fifth track released ahead of When It Blooms. Amadi skillfully teams up with globally recognized compatriot Zinoleesky to deliver this danceable, up-tempo collaboration. On the partnership, Amadi notes, “’Lock Up’ is an Afro-pop song I wrote sometime back in 2018. It is probably one of the most upbeat songs I’ve done. I bumped into Zinoleesky’s manager at a song camp in Benin Republic and had her listen to the track. Fast forward couple months later Zinoleesky drops his verse and video calls me dancing to it.” Amadi digs deeper into the meaning behind the song, “the actual theme of the song is way edgier than most of my other songs as well. Lock up in Nigerian slang translates to Shut up, so this is me acting strong telling a girl that I like her and willing to tell off anyone who might get in the way of a relationship.”
Earlier this year, Amadi released a remix with three-time historic JUNO Award winner Savannah Ré for her track “Closure.” Collaborations like this plus with Majid Jordan and Zinoleesky are essential not only to fueling Nonso’s creativity but are also instrumental in continuing to spread the Afrobeats genre globally. Expect many more dynamic collaborations announced with When It Blooms.
The announcement of a debut album builds off the momentum of a monumental 2022; between being featured as Spotify’s Radar Artist, making the top of the list for Audiomack Africa x The Beat’s “Alte Vibes” playlist, and surpassing over 1 million monthly listeners on Spotify. The SOCAN Foundation announced Nonso Amadi as one of the winners of the SiriusXM Black Canadian Music Awards alongside Adria Kain, AHI, Desarae Dee and Zach Zoya. Amadi cemented himself in the vanguard of the next generation artists bringing Alte and Afro-R&B to the international stage.
Nonso Amadi capped off last year with the announcement that he had been selected to be a part of the ‘VEVO DSCVR Artists to Watch 2023’ list alongside emerging superstars poised to make an impact this year including Armani White, Ice Spice, GloRilla and many more. Amadi is the first domestically signed UMC artist to be selected for this prestigious program.
15. Kofi – Just To Piss You Off
Multi-faceted artist Kofi has returned today with his anticipated six-track EP, Just To Piss You Off on Red Bull Records. True to its name, Kofi pens a collection of bold and audacious songs that flex his unfiltered attitude through smooth vocals and crisp beats. The EP opener, “Fly With Me,” featuring Toronto rapper Dom Vallie is a refreshing taste of his light and breezy flows followed by the infectious cut, “Mine” featuring BC-based tastemaker, Boslen. Trailing the toxic fan-favorite, “Uninvited” the new single, “Don’t Lie” emerges in a slick collaboration with fellow Ghanaian artist Kuami Eugene. With each cut pettier than the next, Kofi’s confidence shines in the best way through his robust musicianship, boasting songwriting, producing, mixing, and mastering credits across the entire package.
Kofi shares, “This might be the pettiest EP I’ve ever put out… like even the sweet songs are written just to piss her off.”
Each track in the lead-up to the EP has been accompanied by a visual representation of Kofi’s internal dilemmas and the aftermath of moving on from an intense flame. It’s the ultimate mix of passion, ego, and dynamic lyrics that have established this chapter as one of his best.
16. 6LACK – Since I Have A Lover
After nearly five years largely out of the spotlight, one of music’s most beloved and groundbreaking artists 6LACKreleases his highly anticipated album Since I Have A Lover via LVRN/Interscope Records today. This is 6LACK like we’ve never seen or heard him before.
This new body of work is lined with incredible depth and range, housing a collection of songs that delve into mental health, healing, personal growth, love and his own journey of finding his way – the good and the bad. The album features stunning collaborations with Don Toliver, Wale, India Shawn, Ty Dolla $ign, QUIN, and production by Leon Thomas, OZ, Fwdslxsh, Scribz Riley, EarthGang’s Olu, Teddy Walton and others.
17. Bia – I’m That B-tch
BIA releases the defiant new single “I’M THAT BITCH” produced by hip-hop icon Timbaland, out today via Epic Records. In-your-face and infectious, the high-energy anthem is sure to be on the setlist of BIA’s show at Drais Nightclub in Las Vegas, NV tonight. The track is accompanied by an eye-popping video directed Mike Ho. It’s the first music video evr show in IMAX as a format.
“As soon as you see me, I’m up and I’m gone, I’m really living this sh*t in my songs,” BIA raps over Timbaland’s ferocious beats, warped effects and nimble melodies. With its take-no-prisoners attitude and swagger-filled wordplay, “I’M THAT BITCH” certainly lives up to its title. That fierce energy is perfectly captured by the video.
The visual finds BIA sporting head-to-toe silver as she gets down with her mask-wearing back-up dancers on a futuristic set. It’s not only a tribute to one of the genre’s trailblazers, but also a reminder that BIA has studied the greats and is well on track to becoming one in her own right.