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!
Kelly Rowland is back.
After steadily releasing singles throughout 2020 and welcoming second son Noah at the end of January, the Destiny's Child superstar has dropped her first EP in two years, the appropriately titled K. And she couldn't be more thrilled to finally have the new collection out at a time when fans might need it most.
"I know music is always a relief for me," she told E! News ahead of its release. "It makes me feel like it's some sort of escape, you know what I mean? I really wanted to make sure there was tempo on the album that felt alive and fun, and also moments like 'Flowers' or 'Speed of Love' or 'Better' that are just a vibe. I'm really proud of this body of work and excited to share it because it's been a long time coming for records for me, for sure."
We're happy to report it was well worth the wait.
Of course, Kelly isn't the only artist dropping new material this week. In the interest of spreading the love around, these are our picks for the best of the best.
Your playlist for the weekend of Feb. 19-21 has arrived. Enjoy!
Kelly Rowland — "Flowers"
For the latest single off her new EP, Kelly slows things down with a soulful and sumptuous reminder to give the ones we love their flowers while they're still around to receive them. It makes for an absolutely stirring centerpiece. And the accompanying music video? Stunning.
Dawn Richard — "Bussifame"
The former Danity Kane member continues her unimpeachably excellent solo career, previewing her forthcoming sixth studio album, Second Line, with this rousing lead single. And much like the beloved New Orleans tradition the LP is named for, this track builds to such joy that you'll be lost in reverie by its end. We can't wait to hear the rest of what Dawn has in store for us.
Isaac Dunbar — "fan behavior"
An immediate standout off the wunderkind's just-released third EP evil twin, this track is a perfect distillation of what makes Isaac such a special talent. Between the cheeky cockiness of the lyric, the pristine pop composition and his staggering, multi-faceted vocals, it's just oozing with star quality. Join the fan club now.
Mahalia feat. Rico Nasty — "Jealous"
While they might seem to make for strange bedfellows at the onset, the combining of Mahalia's gentler R&B and Rico Nasty's punk-rap vibes instead finds the two rising stars on compelling common ground. They've delivered a killer kiss-off track aimed squarely at anyone who can't handle all they've got going on.
Ruby Amanfu — "You Belong"
Just two weeks after joining forces with Sixpence None the Richer's Leigh Nash on the gripping "Good Trouble," the Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter has returned with an emotional new track all her own. The heartrending ballad finds Ruby reaching her hand out to anyone who might need to hear her powerful reminder.
Citizen Queen — "No Ego"
The latest from this quintet of powerhouse vocalists is a fierce and fabulous celebration of women recognizing their own worth. It's a flex that flawlessly fills the void left behind by the dissolution of Fifth Harmony.
serpentwithfeet — "Same Size Shoe"
For the latest release off his forthcoming sophomore album Deacon, the experimental artist born Josiah Wise delivers a sensuous single that finds him singing an ode to Black gay love. It's tender, touching and all around terrific.
Justine Skye feat. Timbaland — "Intruded"
Ahead of the release of this Timbaland-produced track, the first taste off their forthcoming collaborative album Space & Time, Justine tweeted, "All I know is when my s--t drop tonight, I don't wanna hear no more 'what does she do?' 'I wish her music was better' 'she need better visuals' and that's on ARTISTRY." Suffice to say, mission accomplished. This one's major.
Haich Ber Na feat. RODEL — "Both Ways"
The self-taught London-based Haich Ber Na has a winner on his hands with this track off new EP From Then 'til Now. A glitchy bit of avant-garde experimentation with a lilting falsetto vocal at its center, the song is both expertly chill and immensely danceable all at once. It's a whole vibe.