Today, an estimated 60,000 songs are uploaded to Spotify daily. It’s easy to miss good music when there’s so much of it available. ICYMI is VIBE Staff Writer DeMicia Inman’s monthly roundup of singles, albums, EPs, and mixtapes that may have passed you by.
"Me First" - Kari Faux
On “Me First,” Kari Faux is confident in lyrics and sound; her delivery stops just short of aggressive over an entrancing bass line. Produced by Phoelix, 2forwOyNE, and Park Ave, the song was first premiered on COLORS in August 2022.
“‘Me First’ is an affirmation,” Faux said of the song in a statement. “It’s a reminder not to neglect your own needs in hopes of being liked or accepted. It’s really a self-love bop for the twerkers. Get into it!” In an interview with PAPER Magazine, she elaborated more on her creative process behind the track.
“The music industry is just very tiring. I love making music. But then the other side of it is it can become exhausting, especially with me,” she said. “I’ve been doing this for almost 10 years and I’ve pretty much been in control of my own career for most of it. I like managing myself and doing all these different things. On the first day of 2022, I got this pack of beats from my friend. ‘ME FIRST’ was one of the first ones I heard, and then I just started freestyling to it. It just turned into a song from there.”
"Every Night" - Mozzy Feat. Baby Money
Mozzy tapped Baby Money for a Sacramento, Calif. to Detroit linkup for their new collaboration “Every Night.” The two rappers trade bars about their past, present, and future, rhyming about the experiences that influenced their artistry and shaped their livelihood.
With the hook repeating “Every night, it’s gunshots and you’ll get popped if you don’t play it right,” the illustrative track serves as a warning. “Every Night” follows Mozzy’s 2022 album, Survivor’s Guilt, and proves he has zero intentions of slowing down any time soon.
"Good 2 Me" - Kelz
R&B singer Kelz kicked off 2023 with his latest song, “Good To Me.” As an Artist to Watch by Apple Music who’s received cosigns from the likes of Pharrell, Drake, Jack Harlow, Jorja Smith, and Brent Faiyaz, the Brooklyn musician hopes to carry the momentum.
Produced by Luke Swirsky and Derrick Milano, “Good To Me” is only Kelz’s third official release. The uptempo song incorporates a melodic delivery from the Independent artist over a groovy, dance-ready beat.
“Good 2 Me’ is an ode to East NY. I wanted to give an uptempo meaning to the block,” expressed the singer in a press statement. “My mission is to create a sound out of NY no one has heard before.”
"White Crocs" - Jordan Ward And Ryan Trey
Rising R&B talent Jordan Ward started his year with new music and an album announcement, setting the tone for an expansive 2023. On “White Crocs” with Ryan Trey, the two trade thoughts about balancing a relationship while satisfying a partner’s expensive tastes.
Opening select dates for JID and Smino’s Love Is 4Ever Tour, Ward also revealed his debut album FORWARD is due on March 3. “FORWARD, not only pushing our sound and creativity, but pushing to evolve and break cycles” Jordan explains of his album’s name in a press statement. “FOR WARD, a dedication to my family and our future. FOUR-WARD, my fourth project, but also a FOREWORD in my story being the debut album!”
"Betty" - J Noa
Teenager J Noa is using her latest song to send a message. On “Betty,” the 17-year-old reflects on the everyday life of adolescents in her native country Dominican Republic, who are plagued by drug use, unprotected sex, and unwanted pregnancy.
“With Betty’s story, I want the upper class to know what we experience in the hood and see what they can’t or don’t want to see as outsiders. That’s why in the video you see a white family riding through the hood and witnessing the harsh reality which we live in. It’s so repulsive to them they can hardly look at it and that’s the reality here in the DR,” explains J Noa.
“Sharing ‘Betty’ with the world means a lot to me, because I have witnessed all those situations that I decry in my own neighborhood,” she adds. “My greatest wish is that someone who finds themself in any of these situations listens to my song and manages to get away from everything that doesn’t add to their personal growth.”
'Highly Favored' - Richie Evans
Phoenix rapper Richie Evans shares six new songs on his latest EP, Highly Favored. With production from The Olympicks, Othello Beats, Tariq & Paul Cabbin, TrackPros, and Kofi the sounds experiment from smooth jams to boom-bap style rap, showcasing his musical range. Featured artists include Jay Rock, Eastside K-Boy, Rick Ross, and Vedo.
“I’m excited for this first release under my own imprint The Evans Administration,” explained Evans in a press release. “I’ve learned so much working closely with entrepreneurs like The Game and Rick Ross. One of the most meaningful songs on the project is my latest single “Can’t Knock The Hustle.” When I recorded that song I felt that I had similar emotions to Jay-Z when he was hustling to build his own brand and legacy by any means necessary. I’m trying to grab a hold of that American Dream that he achieved with a hard work ethic, strong character and a hustlers mentality.”
"KILLERS AND ROBBERS" - Jasiah Feat. Denzel Curry, Mdwxst, And Matt Ox
“KILLERS AND ROBBERS” by Jasiah Featuring Denzel Curry, mdwxst, and Matt Ox is loud and defiant, taking elements of Hip-Hop straight to the mosh pit. The tone switches between artists and verses from a menacing, low pitch to outright screaming and makes full-ride in just under three-and-a-half minutes. The track was first previewed on Oct. 11, 2022, and is the official first single from the upcoming project 3.
"Conceited (Remix)" - Flo Milli Feat. Lola Brooke And Maiya The Don
Flo Milli called on two of New York’s rising rap stars—Lola Brooke and Maiya The Don—to add their own “Conceited” attitude to her viral record. The trio united triumphantly for a girl-powered anthem. On the remix, all three ladies prove to be more than social media stars, bringing the lyrics and delivery along with personality and flair.
The Alabama rapper’s first verse sets the tone and is empowered by her Brooklyn-bred costars. Lola Brooke carries the middle of the song by reminding us all she’s “still a hood bi**h” as her profile rises.
Maiya The Don closes the song, asserting herself as a potent, bad bi**h that “scary-a** ho*s can’t look up in the mirror.” Together, all three dispel the myth that women in rap don’t collaborate. With this song, the ladies prove that they do, and can do it well.