This year marks the 25th anniversary of Usher’s breakout album My Way, but the R&B legend is still capable of blowing minds, as demonstrated during his stunning 25-minute Tiny Desk concert to close out Black Music Month. In addition to maintaining his silky smooth voice through the years, Usher hasn’t lost his inner freak, either. His hook on City Girls’ new single “Good Love” confirms as much.
“All the freaky things that I can do,” the 43-year-old boasts. “I can freak you ’til the mornin’/ Get on top and ride on it/ Eighty ways, I’ll keep you comin’.” After all, age ain’t nothing but a number and there’s a certain level of sexual freedom that the Miami duo demand with their collaborations.
After Usher sets the tone, City Girls settle into their comfort zone. Yung Miami flaunts her sexuality while paying tribute to forebears like Luke (“Like don’t stop, get it, get it, ooh, ooh, hit it, hit it”), while JT sets clear expectations: “If that n***a broke, then make that ass freeze/ We ain’t shakin’ ass for n***as with no cheese.”
Although City Girls scored Top 40 hits back in 2019 with “Act Up” and “Twerk,” overall their chart positions have never seemed to accurately reflect the popularity of viral hits like “Twerkulator.” With a catchy, yet raunchy hook from Usher and a well-timed arrival during July 4th weekend, “Good Love” could buck that trend.
Catch City Girls performing “Good Love” on tour with Jack Harlow this fall; tickets are available here. Meanwhile, Usher is gearing up for his second Vegas residency in celebration of the My Way anniversary; grab your seats here.
Lloyd Banks feat. Conway the Machine – “Menace”
At his peak, Lloyd Banks was one of the best lyricists in hip-hop, but it once seemed like those days were long gone. In 2021, however, he returned to form with The Course of the Inevitable, leading him to boast “I’m sharp as ever” on “Menace.” Banks drops punchline after punchline, briefly handing the baton to The Machine before closing out the track with vintage bars like, “Ain’t no way around the PTSD from the cruel conditions/ Everything is independent now, droppin’ on due permission.”
Cakes Da Killa feat. Sevndeep – “Sip of My Sip”
Drake could learn a thing or two from “Sip of My Sip,” in which Cakes Da Killa seamlessly blends club music with hip-hop — just like he has over the past decade. Seemingly without breaking a sweat, Cakes gets the party started with deceptively complex rhymes over an uptempo beat. As he puts it best, “Guess shit look easy, so it’s hard to read me.” Take notes, Champagne Papi.
REASON – “Barely Miss”
One of the more forgotten members of TDE, it appears REASON has kicked off a new album cycle. On “Barely Miss,” the Carson rapper tackles an unorthodox flute-driven beat by soberly celebrating the enduring strength of the Black community in the face of systemic racism and oppression. “Had our people up in chains, n****s shackled to the ankles,” he spits. “Now we bussin’ down chains, beat the system.”
Headie One feat. Frenna – “Bigger Than Life”
Instead of going at it alone like his last mixtape, Headie One has been recruiting some of the biggest rappers in Europe for his recent run of singles. On “Bigger Than Life,” the UK drill innovator links up with Dutch artist Frenna to celebrate their success over a beat made for drinking champagne on a boat in the Caribbean. It’s not all fun, though, as Headie One remains torn about wanting to leave the streets behind and his desire to bring up the people who stayed loyal.
Nezi Momodu – “On Gawd”
Coming off a scene-stealing verse on Logic’s appropriately titled “Introducing Nezi,” Nezi Momodu slows it down to pay tribute to late 2000s Dallas jigging culture with “On Gawd.” Rather than delivering another lyrical miracle, she focuses more on providing a soundtrack to dance to over a sparse beat. Instead of giving step-by-step instructions, however, Nezi takes a moment to reflect on how her career was “suicidal” just a year ago before declaring she’s just getting started.
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