New music Fridays are a thrilling, yet daunting prospect for any music lover.
It's essentially a weekly holiday where fan-favorite artists and fresh faces alike drop their latest offerings for all the world to hear, flooding streaming services and digital retailers with an onslaught of aural goodies. But who has the time to sit there and listen to everything before updating their playlists? There's just too much good stuff! (And, if we're being honest, usually a few stinkers, too.)
As it turns out, we do. Welcome to The MixtapE!
Black history is being made every day.
And so, as we continue to celebrate Black History Month throughout February, we here at The MixtapE! are also looking forward and shining a light on the artists who are reminding the world that Black excellence is everywhere you look. Including the return of some high-profile voices like Kelly Rowland and Big Freedia—as well as the debuts of some names you ought to commit to memory now—and spanning genres as varied as country, dance, rock and R&B, these are our picks for the best of this week's best.
Your playlist for the long weekend of Feb. 12-15 has arrived. Enjoy!
Kelly Rowland — "Black Magic"
A week out from the release of her new EP, K, the former Destiny's Child member has dropped this joyful, buoyant celebration of her culture. "'Black Magic' expresses everything there is to feel confident, feel proud of, feel encouraged by being Black," she said in a press release. "I am really excited that it's coming now which is in the thick of Black History Month. To me, I feel like we should be celebrating 365 days a year from what we've been through to what we continue to fight for when it comes to equal rights, and justice. To me this is a fight song. We're continuing to put our magic forth so that we can put it on display for others to continue to see, even when they don't want to see it. But I think they can't help but see it because Black magic is effortless."
Big Freedia — "Platinum"
Does the Queen Diva ever disappoint? No, she does not. This latest single is a triumphant reminder of just what a good time New Orleans bounce, the genre Freedia helped put on the map, can be. "Platinum is a fun track about being bold," Freedia said of the track in a press release. "Whether it's your jewelry or nails, be bold with everything you do!!"
Lucky Daye feat. Yebba — "How Much Can a Heart Take"
Just in time for Valentine's Day, rising R&B star Lucky Daye has released a dreamy collection of duets with female vocalists entitled Table For Two. This sumptuous standout sees him teaming with neo-jazz vocalist Yebba for a swirling rumination on the limits of love. It's gorgeous, just like the rest of the EP.
Pink Sweat$ — "PINK CITY"
For the track that kicks off his debut album Pink Planet, the promising R&B newcomer born David Bowden delivers something almost ethereal in its lilting grace. "When you're cold and all alone, you can build you a city and call it home," he sings in the gospel and jazz-inflected song. It all builds to something timeless, a gorgeous introduction to an equally beautiful LP. This is one locale we wouldn't mind putting down roots in.
Syd — "Missing Out"
On her first solo release since 2017, the Internet frontwoman revisits an old flame, wondering what could've been. Accompanied by a sparse, stirring production, Syd delivers a melancholic marvel.
X Ambassadors & Jensen McRae — "skip.that.party"
The indie rock trio wisely team with a rising folk-pop star whose name needs to be at the forefront of your minds now. The emotional collab chronicles the disintegration of a relationship. Describing the track on Twitter, Jensen wrote, "it's like 'drivers license' but if Bon Iver wrote it and he was an extremely pissed off 23-year-old girl hanging out with her cool rock band friends."
Shygirl — "Tasty (Boys Noize Remix)"
The British rapper and DJ born Blane Muise tapped German producer Alexander Ridha for this fantastic remix of her already perfect hyperpop-influenced house track. If you weren't missing the clubs yet, you will be after listening to this.
Tiera feat. BRELAND — "Miles"
Sparks fly as two rising country stars come together for a sweetly sunny, romantic duet. They'll have you swooning by song's end. We guarantee it.
Masego feat. JID & Rapsody — "Somethin Ain't Right"
While the soundtrack for new film Judas and the Black Messiah features work from heavy-hitters like Nas, Jay-Z, A$AP Rocky and more, it's a pair of tracks from some lesser-known luminaries that left us floored. This one, with verses from JID and Rapsody while Masego skillfully handles the melody, finds the trio at the top of their game, delivering soulful social commentary that'll take your breath away.
SAFE feat. Kiana Ledé — "CONTAGIOUS"
And the other standout song featured on the soundtrack is this smooth collaboration that's radiating warmth and romance. It just hits so right.