As the bird with the quickest heart rate, the Hummingbirds never skip a beat or some heat. Tune in weekly on Tuesdays for the Mag’s weekly roundup of what’s popping in music. Looking for other weeks? Click here. Here are Spotify and Apple Music playlists.
Ambré — Pulp (Director’s Cut)
Ambré has the potential to be one of the most influential artists of this generation — and she’s already started with a Grammy award on H.E.R.’s 2017 album in addition to several full-length efforts. Adding five songs to Pulp, Ambré gives herself the chance to sit in the director’s chair and fully form the narratives and scenes of the original, which was released in 2019. Amongst the tracks are “gucci slides,” featuring Smino, and an especially fun track called “Slip” which features Beam. “Slip” is especially mesmerizing, with some Carti-invoking baby-voice lyrics and a music video that sees her fencing in her Air Forces.
Dominic Fike — What Could Possibly Go Wrong
The boyish wonder finally dropped his debut album after many months of hype — after a demo release back in 2017, fans have been waiting a while for a fully-developed product. He’s an alluring figure with co-signs from artists that have at some points been considered alternative or off-the-beaten path like Omar Apollo, Kenny Beats, and Brockhampton, the latter of which has shined a boy-band light on Fike’s career.
What Could Possibly Go Wrong is a debut with scattered melodies, some moments of elation, and many of dissonance. It’s representative of his career thus far — while hit singles “3 Nights” and “Phone Numbers” are easy tracks to get behind, his misses outnumber his hits. However, they don’t outweigh those great moments, which validate the hype around this album. The playlists will love this album — ”Why,” “Double Negative,” and “What’s For Dinner?” are sure to be crowd-pleasers. But asking to get “me too-ed” on “Cancel Me” calls into question his innocent, boyish persona.
Mo Sella — Stories of a Manhattan Apartment
Over a series of bass lines that could get the dead up and dancing, Mo Sella sings about love, heartbreak, and mental health on Stories of a Manhattan Apartment, a debut attractive to nonstop music listeners and casual fans alike. It’s got something for everyone; “Talk To Me” contains an extremely sticky chorus and “It’s Ok” is a comforting ballad for anyone having a hard time these days.
Akon — Ain’t No Peace
Let this album be a reminder to all those that haven’t kept Akon in their rotations — an excusable mistake given the longstanding status of his career and his relative avoidance of a spotlight. Ain’t No Peace feels like a steady celebration of the progression of the Black Lives Matter movement, but with the feeling that there’s plenty more work to be done. “A Letter To My Son” chronicles the acts he’s done that he’s not necessarily proud of, but would do ten times over in order to give his son the best life he can. “System Ain’t For Us” is a lamentation and critique of the government’s white supremacist bedrock. It’s an album that won’t blow anyone away, rather make us go back and listen to all the incredible work Akon’s put out over the years.
Guapdad 4000 — Choppa Talk
Continuing his run of alluring singles, Guapdad 4000 is building an impressively nuanced persona, and the title “Choppa Talk” might give off aggressive vibes centered around guns, though that turns out not to be the case. As is the norm with Guapdad — he’s invested in the “don’t judge a book by it’s cover” adage, and he does it well. “Choppa Talk” speaks on love in relationships, hoping his romance works out despite confusion around every corner.
Action Bronson — Latin Grammys
Following his tease of a full length release in 2020, Action Bronson has stayed quiet during 2020 up until his untamed release of “Latin Grammys.” What’s even more energizing is the must-watch video that chaperones the single, which spotlights Bronson as the world’s strongest man. Luckily, the track displays a galvanizing combination of Action’s dense bars and the production of Tommy Mas, the mastermind behind Bronson’s 2011 Dr. Lecter, providing some evidence for Bronson’s claim that he’s the hottest alive.
Jorja Smith — By Any Means
As the second piece of music to be released this year by the 23- year- old R&B phenom, Jorja Smith, “By Any Means” pulls together a cosmic amount of emotion, centering issues of racial injustice towards Black people and the motivating spirit associated with revolt. “And what if we changed the world? / We rise from the flames the victor / It’s far from a perfect picture / I know we’re sinful but we are human.”