1. Kevin Ross – Look My Way
In “Look My Way”, Ross writes about the thrill associated with the early stages of infatuation. With undertones of classic R&B inspired by the early recordings of The Jackson 5, the song is layered with harmonious silky background vocals and dreamy rhythmics that complement Ross’ passionate and poised performance at the surface. Musing on his hopeful and passion-fueled desire, Ross tells the story of falling in love from afar and doing all he can to get her attention. At each chorus, he stays persistent as he sings, “I gotta make you look my way, because baby, there’s a lot of love on this side to give.” Influenced by the inherent romance embedded in classic R&B, “Look My Way” is a musical celebration of iconic influences through a smooth and modern lens.
Kevin Ross continues to make a standout achievement in R&B as an independent artist. His most recent single “Sweet Release” is currently in the Top 10 position on the Billboard Adult R&B Airplay Chart and broke the record as longest run with a #1 requested song on Sirius XM’s Heart & Soul. Kevin Ross is the “Master P” of R&B.
A complete artist (songwriter, producer, singer, performer) and creator of his own music label, Art Society Music Group (ASMG), Kevin Ross is rising to the forefront of the culture with #1 Billboard entries on the Adult R&B Chart, countless sold-out shows, and more than 100 million streams across platforms. Along the way, he has picked up nominations at the Soul Train Music Awards, NAACP Image Awards, and iHeart Radio Music Awards. Credits / collaborations include artists such as Ty Dolla Sign, Kevin Hart, Ne-Yo, Nicki Minaj, Lil Wayne, Trey Songz, T.I., Tank, Lecrae, and Toni Braxton to name a few.
2. Rah Swish – Expensive
Rah Swish’s success comes at the cost of his pain, and in “Expensive” he explains exactly why. Rah Swish’s past vengeance toward his competition for losing some of his brothers on the block. The visual has Rah rapping in front of a luxurious car and a spray-painted hallway rapping about his ferocious approach to the game and treating his women well.
“Expensive” is one of the tracks from his most recent EP, The Old Me, which was released in December. The video was shot by Migo Lex and directed by Sarafis Midas.
3. Cruch Calhoun & Dave East ft. Dre Mac – Tapped In
Hailing from Roselle, NJ, Cruch Calhoun found success as one of the early signees of Cinematic Music and its founder Johnny Shipes. For the last few years, Cruch has been on his independent grind, touring and consistently releasing music; including with his frequent collaborator Dave East.
Now, Cruch and Dave are back and “Tapped In” again with a new single which displays their chemistry. “Tapped In” also features an appearance from Dre Mac.
“Dave and I are “Tapped In” again and staying in tune” Cruch Calhoun asserts. “With “Tapped In” I wanted to create a track where we could put our east coast vibes on a west coast classic.”
“I always love working with Cruch” Dave East proclaims.. “Tapped In” is the perfect blend of east coast and west coast music; and mixed with Kamillion’s production perfectly blends the two sounds.”
“Tapped In” is taken from Cruch Calhoun’s forthcoming album, Soul’d Out, which will be released on February 17.
4. Reuben Vincent – Love Is War
Undoubtedly, Reuben Vincent is next up. The young elite lyricist and producer has spent the last few years honing his artistry under the tutelage of Hip-Hop greats 9th Wonder and Young Guru and standing out every step of the way. From guest appearances to ripping freestyles (Sway In The Morning, Bars On I-95 and most recently the 2022 BET Hip Hop Awards Cypher), there is no question Reuben Vincent is destined for greatness. Appearances
Reuben’s Jamla/Roc Nation debut album, Love Is War, is a conceptual, yet subtly constructed project that will place him at the forefront of debates about the new rap greats. Unpacking relationships and romantic entanglements over warm, soulful beats from 9th Wonder, Young Guru, The Soul Council, and his own production, whose collective work both modernizes and morphs boom-bap. With polished and varied flows, Reuben weighs the time spent on love against the hours necessary to pursue his art and dreams. Love Is War also features guest appearances from Rapsody, Reason (TDE), Domani and Stacey Barthe.
“I worked on Love Is War for two years. Conceptually, Love Is War is an acknowledgment that as young black men, I feel like we aren’t taught, and given the tools of how to love properly. We don’t know how to love our people, our women, our brothers; and most importantly ourselves” Reuben professes. “When you don’t know how to love yourself you can’t love others the right way, Love Is War addresses that. These last two years I’ve learned a lot about myself, but I still have much to learn. My goal is to love myself properly, and that comes with exploration (internally and externally). That is why I titled the album, Love Is War, because it is a constant battle to get to that center in your life. We all battle ourselves to get to a place where we can both love and be loved.”
Conversely, Reuben wouldn’t be here without both love and war. While the accolades will surely follow, for now, he’s focused on being an example to his peers and especially representing first-generation Liberian Americans, as Reuben’s parents fled Liberia during the country’s first civil war and settled in Charlotte.Reuben reveals that his parent’s sacrifices serve as a daily affirmation that iron sharpens iron. “My parents left Liberia in the midst of a war and came here searching for love. I’m their only child together, and being that my parents were separated from me since birth; I had to accept what I was given and find some type of peace and love in it. Love Is War is me going through the tug of war to get to the self-love at the end.”
On record and in his everyday life, Reuben’s aim is to prove you can be brilliant without sacrificing your swagger. After all, being a dedicated student of your craft and yourself is how you win the war!
Reuben Vincent’s Love Is War is now available at all DSP’s via Jamla/Roc Nation Records.
5. OneShotAce – Big Pressure (Deluxe)
OneShotAce is a rising new artist from Boston, MA, one who offers tremendous versatility, as he incorporates pain music and drill music with a style uniquely his own.
After releasing, Big Pressure, at the end of 2022, which featured collaborations with Rowdy Rebel, Sheff G and Millyz, OneShotAce has released the deluxe edition of Big Pressure.
To celebrate his new release, Ace also released the visual for “Resonate,” featuring Benny The Butcher. “Resonate” is produced by Harry Fraud.
“Working with Benny is dope, you know he always cook some fire shit” OneShotAce declares. “This is one of my favorite collaborations I’ve done so far, especially having the legendary Harry Fraud on the production; that just puts the stamp on it.”
“When they find out about Ace, it’s over, he’s going up” Benny The Butcher states. “One of the most authentic; and he’s nice!”
6. Deante Hitchcock – U Were Right I Was Wrong
Grammy-nominated Atlanta rapper Deante’ Hitchcockshares his first new single of the year, “U Were Right I Was Wrong,” out now via ByStorm Entertainment/RCA Records.
The slick new single tells the story of Deante’ and his partner in the throes of an argument, cleverly referencing the classic line of “you were right, I was wrong” throughout the song’s chorus. Driven by its sleek, seductive production and Deante’s penchant for clever lyricism, his latest single is a playful ode to the familiar ebbs and flows of a relationship.
Set to release a slew of new music in 2023, “U Were Right I Was Wrong” follows last year’s release of Deante’s single “Alone” and the Valentine’s Day-themed EP Everyday The 14th. Deante’ closed out 2022 with the release of the two-pack project Callin’ All My Children, which showcased a unique blend of Deante’s southern rap roots and retro production influences, with features from Mississippi rapper and producer Big K.R.I.T. and Compton’s Westside Boogie.
7. Toosii – Magic Potion
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 is back with “Magic Potion,” a gritty, sensual track. Released today via South Coast Music Group/Capitol Records.
In the official video, Toosii’s night out at a strip club turns into a Queen & Slim-style romance with a twist. He takes a dancer along with him as he goes to pull a job, but things go sideways and they flee with the Feds in pursuit. Toosii shot the video in Atlanta with producer/director NoRatchetss, one of his frequent collaborators.
Toosii says, “‘Magic Potion’ is one of them street bangers you expect to hear when you in the club. It’s just about having motion and winning with a mix of having a pretty female that’s down to ride.”