It’s been a blockbuster week for new releases — we’ve already covered new albums from Ariana Grande and Sam Smith, as well as new songs from Oneohtrix Point Never (featuring the Weeknd) and election-themed songs from Alicia Keys and Brandi Carlile as well as the unexpected teamup from Keke Palmer, Billie Eilish collaborator Finneas and the “Dear Evan Hansen” songwriters Pasek and Paul.
But clearly that wasn’t all the week had in store: We’re kicking off with the return of Kendrick Lamar (kind of…)
Busta Rhymes (featuring Kendrick Lamar) “Look Over Your Shoulder” Okay, this is technically Busta Rhymes’ song and a highlight of his star-studded new album “Extinction Level Event: The Wrath of God,” but the desperately missed Kendrick Lamar drops one of the most powerful set of rhymes we’ve heard in a year filled with them. “The poltergeist that scare emcees, my prototype for every/ My share of deeds and R.I.P.s/ You know my type of style is like my everything/ Apparently, my appetite stay famished/ Bite no hand that feed/ The culture vulture die and bleed/ My focus hold these thoughts and dreams/ Control this pen (Look over your shoulder)/ Boldest lines of rhymes and things/ Devote my time and mind it seems/ Supposed to shine, remind I’m king/ Provoke the blind and bomb the fiends/ The pros, the cons, the diamond rings/ I’m full of time but I’ma bring/ The soul divine and cross between/ What’s yours and mines, the gold, the green/ The ropes that show just what it mean/ Then grab Shakur right by the wing/ And fly before my vocals” (via Genius.com). Busta steps up and follows with some strong verses as well, but that’s one tough act to follow. (And between this song’s Motown-era Michael Jackson sample and guest spots from Lamar and Chris Rock shouting at the end, you know he’s not making a dime on this song!)
Dua Lipa and Angele “Fever” Ten and a half months into a very prolific year for Dua Lipa, she drops yet another song, this one a duet with French singer Angele. As if a likely Grammy contender album, “Future Nostalgia,” and a remix album just a few months later weren’t enough — this song will be included in a forthcoming French edition of the album.
Benee (featuring Lily Allen and Flo Milli) “Plain” The “Supalonely” star is back with not just a low-key-hot new song but also two of the most inspired features we’ve seen all year: British alt-vet Lily Allen and fast-rising young rapper Flo Milli. ““I’m writing music for one human listening to the music,” says the young New Zealand native. “I want them to feel as connected as they can to my mind. Like a message that you send to a friend.” We’ll all get to find out when her debut album drops next month.
Tierra Whack “Dora” As shown by her mind-boggling 2018 album “Whack World” — a 15-track album and video collection comprised completely of one-minute-long songs — this Philadelphia native is a true original. And this, her first new song in several months, shows promise for whatever’s coming next. The song is an effervescent two-and-a-half-minute midtempo romp — and the video is like a Telletubbies fantasy.
Avalanches (featuring Leon Bridges) “Interstellar Love” This groundbreaking Australian DJ-producer team dropped one of the most important albums of the new millennium in 2001, “Since I Lost You,” and then didn’t release a follow up — the equally great “Wildflower” — for 15 years, but their third effort will be arriving in a comparative blink of an eye at the end of this year. This team-up with Leon Bridges is the latest of several previews, and it promises that the third time will be even more of a charm.