The best new albums of this week include a soundtrack, Valentine’s Day albums, and a heartfelt comeback story.
The second week of Black History Month has brought dozens of new albums for your listening pleasures. It’s New Music Friday and once again, we here at Okayplayer have sifted through the noise to find the best projects you can spin this weekend.
Whether you’re checking out Judas and the Black Messiah and its soundtrack, or cozying up with your Valentine to the new Lucky Daye, these 24 albums have something for just about everyone. Grime/punk rap MC slowthai dropped his second studio album, while Dancehall star Kranium and Canarsie, Brooklyn MC TyBass offer something for the West Indian massive. Detroit star Babyface Ray also delivered a power-packed EP.
Check all of these new albums and more out below.
Judas and the Black Messiah: The Inspired Album
The star-studded soundtrack to one of the most anticipated movies of the year is here. In addition to the first-ever collaboration between Nipsey Hussle and Jay-Z, the soundtrack features tracks from Rakim, Nas, Saba and Smino, Masego, and Polo G. Spin this album before streaming the movie on HBO Max today.
Lucky Daye — Table For Two
2020 was a pretty quiet year for Lucky Daye as a solo artist. He dropped a single “Fly,” and hoppped on tracks with Leon Bridges, SG Lewis, Kaytranada, Kehlani, and Kiana Ledé. Now, just in time for Valentine’s Day, Lucky drops a seven-track EP. The project features tracks with Yebba, Ari Lennox, Mahalia, and more.
R+R=NOW — R+R=NOW LIVE
R+R is a collective of virtuosos assembled by Robert Glasper made up of Terrace Martin, Derrick Hodge, Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah, Taylor McFerrin and Justin Tyson. Back in 2018, the group released their debut album, Collagically Speaking. On Friday, the group released a live recording of select tracks from the album in addition to a cover of Kendrick Lamar’s “How Much a Dollar Cost.”
Chris Crack — Might Delete Later
Ultra-prolific Chicago MC Chris Crack is back with another offering. After a breakneck pace of releases in 2020 in which he dropped five albums, Crack kicks off 2021 with Might Delete Later. This time around, the ever-entertaining MC recruits names like Nickelus F, Nate Knew, J. Arthur and Mr. MFN eXquire along for the ride.
Dominique Fils-Aimé — Three Little Words
Back in 2018, Haitian-Canadian singer Dominique Fils-Aime released her debut album Nameless, a tribute to blues music. The project was the first in a trilogy dedicated to the history of African-American music. Stay Tuned!, which pays homage to jazz music, followed in 2019 and wan a JUNO award for . On Friday, Fils-Aime completes the trilogy with Three Little Words, a collection of soul music produced, mixed, and arranged by Jacques Roy.
JPEGMAFIA – EP2!
Back in November, JPEGMAFIA released a compilation of all the singles he released in 2020 in chronological order. On Friday, he dropped EP2!, seven all-new tracks co-produced by James Blake. Peggy fans can tune into a YouTube livestream at 8PM GMT to celebrate the project’s release with the man himself.
OCHÉ — Oche Tape
Enigmatic Toronto-based singer OCHÉ returns with a three-song pack called the Blu Tape. After taking years away from music after the death of his father, OCHÉ returned in 2020 with a handful of singles showing his range as a double-threat. At just about seven minutes of runtime, the new project is all at once triumphant, contemplative, and sorrowful.
Claud — Super Monster
Currently, 21-year-old indie pop artist Claud is currently the only signee to the Grammy-nominated Phoebe Bridgers’ label Saddest Factory. Their solo full-length debut, Super Monster, blends cozy pop records with pining and at-times jarring lyrics. The project features appearances from Nick Hakim, Shelly. and Melanie Faye.
Kranium — Toxic
Friday marks the first project from dancehall star Kranium since 2019’s Midnight Sparks. After the success of his early 2020 single “Gal Policy,” Kranium planned to release an EP but was thwarted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Now that lockdown will persist for the foreseeable future, the Atlantic Records signee gives his fans stuck inside a bit of warmth during this cold winter.
Pink Sweat$ — PINK PLANET
Philadelphia-born, Nashville-based singer Pink Sweat$ debut album Pink Planet blends neo-soul, gospel, and folk tunes for a dazzling first full-length release. “Love is what the Pink Planet is about,” Sweat$ told Nashville Scene. “It’s not about anything else. When you’re open and you love, there’s a gravitational pull…love is the gravity.”
Phora — heartbreak hotel
Anaheim, California MC Phora drops a nine-track reflection on love, heartbreak and resentment on his latest project Heartbreak Hotel.
Babyface Ray – Unfuckwitable
Babyface Ray has been a major name in the Detroit rap scene for the better part of the last decade. After catching the eye of major names like Future and Moneybagg Yo, Ray capitalizes on the attention with a seven-track EP featuring Kash Doll and rapidly-rising Louisville rapper EST Gee.
Smoke DZA, Nym Lo & Jayy Grams — R.F.C. Money Is The Motive [Re-Rolled & Reloaded]
Back in January, Smoke DZA linked up with Jayy Grams, Nym Lo, 183rd and OT the Real for a compilation album, R.F.C. Money is the Motive. On Friday, the collective added two more tracks for the Re-Rolled & Reloaded deluxe edition. The new tracks include “Godfather” with 183rd and “No Regrets” featuring Dom Kennedy.
Marlon Craft — How We Intended
Fresh off his scathing “State of the Union” and a a subsequent appearance on MSNBC’s The Beat with Ari Melber, Marlon Craft returns with his second studio album, How We Intended. The project features guest appearances from Malz Monday and Katori Walker.
Smokepurpp – PSYCHO (Legally Insane)
Miami rapper Smokepurpp pays homage to Ozzy Osbourne on the cover of his latest EP, PSYCHO (Legally Insane). Despite the rock and roll aesthetic, the EP is a sparse, pulsing collection of trap tracks. With the exception of “We Outside” with Lil Mosey, Smokepurpp handles the entire EP on his own.
Eric Bellinger & Hitmaka — 1-800-Hit-Eazy
Rapper-turned-producer Hitmaka teams up with the Grammy-winning singer/songwriter Eric Bellinger for 1-800-HIT-EAZY, 14 tracks of radio-ready tracks most accurately described as “vibe music.”
TyBass — BØNNIE & BIZZLE
Brooklyn MC TyBass blends dancehall with hip-hop for the nine-track Bonnie & Bizzle. The project features guest appearances from Fresh the Prophet and Baby4ourn.
Ralo — Conspiracy (Deluxe)
Atlanta MC Ralo has been one of the most beloved figures in the local scene for years. Currently incarcerated on drug charges, he dropped eight new tracks for his latest project Conspiracy. The new songs include features from Derez DeShon, Kevin Gates, and Lil’ Baby.
SMD — 4Chun Cookies
Rochester producer/MC SMD’s new project 4Chun Cookies features production from Polo Yeung, Blaq Rage, and features from Tony Cashaw and Tony Hooks.
Rob $tone — Solitaire Stone
San Diego MC Rob Stone follows up his 2020 album Stone Cold with a laidback seven-track solo effort.
slowthai — TYRON
Northampton, UK MC Slowthai connects with names like Skepta, A$AP Rocky, and James Blake for TYRON, one of the more intriguing of the new albums. The project is split into two seven-track halves, half mosh pit-inciting tracks, the other half reflective exploring subjects like ADHD, the NHS, and social media.
One-third of the Queens collective Worlds Fair, NIGELTHREETIMES kicks off this three-track Nigel EP by taking the sample Timbaland used for Ludacris’ “Roll Out”–Senegalese band Africando’s “Yay Boy,” and amping it up into an amped up drum-and-bass track.
G Perico — Lover Boy Slim
Los Angeles’ G. Perico continues a productive year with his third short project in as many months, this one a six-track offering themed around Valentine’s Day.
Robin Thicke — On Earth, And In Heaven
Robin Thicke returns to music after a seven-year hiatus. While he was away, he experienced a tumultuous divorce and lawsuit, his house burning down in California’s 2018 wildfires, as well as the death of his father Alan, manager Jordan Feldstein, and mentor Andre Harrell. On On Earth, and in Heaven, Thicke offers a project dedicated to his loved ones who brought him through the tough time.