Billboard’s First Stream serves as a handy guide to this Friday’s most essential releases: the key music everyone will be talking about today and will dominate playlists this weekend and beyond.
This week, it’s time for Lizzo’s big comeback, J-Hope’s solo act, and Steve Lacy’s breakout moment. Check out all of this week’s First Stream picks below:
Three years after becoming an A-lister with retro-leaning rhythmic pop hits like “Truth Hurts” and “Good As Hell,” Lizzo is back in the spotlight with “About Damn Time,” another hit in the same vein as it has been done top 5 on the Hot 100 recently… but the most exciting special, the long-awaited new feature from Lizzo, is how he is not bound to a successful style. As a meditation on love and its many entanglements, special delves into the modern R&B sound that Lizzo has explored throughout her career to help demonstrate her vocal prowess, but songs like “2 Be Loved (Am I Ready),” a vulnerable dance workout and assured hit, show where Lizzo’s focus might go. in the future.
J-Hope, jack in the box
Casual BTS fans pressing play jack in the boxgroup member J-Hope’s debut solo project, and expecting to hear radio-friendly earworms like “Dynamite” and “Butter” simply haven’t paid enough attention to what he’s capable of inside and outside of the group dynamic . jack in the box is full of sonic ambition, as J-Hope explores fast-paced, indebted ’90s hip-hop with a pleasingly darker tone on tracks like “Arson” and “Pandora’s Box”—the project is only 21 minutes long, but it’s exciting enough to leave listeners breathless and wanting more.
Steve Lacy, Rights of Twins
After shining as a member of the R&B collective The Internet, Steve Lacy has forged a singular solo path and crafted an overall breakthrough that seems to be just beginning — as he releases a sophomore solo LP. Rights of Twins, the single “Bad Habit” gave Lacy her first Hot 100 hit and has continued to climb the charts ever since. Those unfamiliar with the polymath will be duly impressed with what he does as a singer, songwriter, producer and multi-instrumentalist in Rights of Twinswhich brings together a mountain of hype with futuristic R&B, psych-rock, bossa nova and jazz, all wrapped up in one accessible package.
Calvin Harris featuring Justin Timberlake, Halsey and Pharrell, “Stay With Me”
Time so it can be the main attraction Funk Wav Bounces Vol. 2: After Calvin Harris began previewing his star-studded, summer-ready latest project with “Potion” (featuring Dua Lipa and Young Thug) and “New Money” (featuring 21 Savage), the third offering ” Stay With Me” features even more A-listers, as Halsey joins longtime collaborators Justin Timberlake and Pharrell Williams on the sleekest production we’ve heard from Harris’ new project. “Stay With Me” plays like a game of hot potato—Timberlake’s verse leading into Williams’ prechorus leading into Halsey’s hook—but the performers are so magnetic that they pull off every pass from the mic and make the listener move
“Girls just wanna have rights / So why do we have to fight?” P!nk demands “Irrelevant”; Current events make the line all the more poignant, but the pop superstar’s new single works in any historical context as an anthem about balancing political urgency with personal fear. Not only is P!nk adept at ramping up the intensity of a track like this, following along as the gritty guitar work leads into the heavy drumming of the chorus, but she can also land lines that are too school-y for cool like “Sticks”. and stones and all that s–t” better than anyone.
CMG, Gangsta Art
“You’ve never seen so many gangsters on the same team,” sings Yo Gotta at the start of the title track. Gangsta Art, the fascinating new compilation album from his CMG imprint. The idea of a “label compilation” may seem outdated in 2022, but Gotti’s set list has always reflected his buzzing flow and relentless drive, and Gangsta ArtThe addition of artists like Moneybagg Yo, EST Gee, Black Youngsta, 42 Dugg, Mozzy and Lehla Samia sounds natural and time-honored, as if the entire label had been working to make such a cohesive showcase.