This year marks the first that Apple Music will take over Pepsi’s role as sponsor for the Super Bowl Halftime Show, and it’s going all out for the occasion. In addition to securing the one and only Rihanna to perform as headliner, the music streaming service will count down the next two weeks before game day with a multimedia “Rihanna’s Road to Halftime” launch, as announced Monday (Jan. 30).
“Rihanna’s Road to Halftime” includes Apple Music features tailored specifically to the star’s music and fans. For example, subscribers can now listen to the Fenty Beauty founder’s catalog with Spatial Audio in Dolby Atmos, or they can take center stage by singing along with the new Apple Music Sing feature, compatible with iPhone and iPad models as well as the new Apple TV 4K.
Leading up to Super Bowl Sunday on Feb. 12, Apple Music Radio will also celebrate the Barbados superstar’s career with “Rihanna Revisited Radio,” an eight-episode roundtable exploring the cultural impact of her music. Plus, a collection of 32 playlists featuring the top songs listened to by each NFL team in the locker room, the weight room and on game day will be made available to subscribers.
“Rihanna is one of the most prolific artists of our time, and we, along with her many fans across the globe, cannot wait to see her take the stage at the first Apple Music Super Bowl Halftime Show,” said Oliver Schusser, vice president of Apple Music and Beats, in a statement. “We are excited to celebrate Rihanna, and give her fans a new way to experience her music with Spatial Audio, as well as exclusive content from Apple Music.”
Other special programming will include “Halftime Hype Radio,” a 10-part series reflecting on some of the most notable past Super Bowl Halftime performances and “Live from Super Bowl LVII,” a series of daily live broadcasts co-hosted by Zane Lowe that will capture the excitement in Arizona leading up to kickoff in Glendale’s State Farm Stadium. The day after the Super Bowl, Apple Music Radio will celebrate the debut of Apple Music’s Halftime Show sponsorship with a program called “Halftime Recap Radio.”
Dancehall legend Burna Boy just released the music video for his single “Common Person.” The video begins with the excitement Burna Boy brings by visiting a village in Africa where he assists with the everyday duties of the people, showing that he is still connected despite his superstar status. Burna Boy has been nominated for Best Global Music Performance for his single “Last, Last” and Best Global Music Album for his latest effort, “Love, Damini” at the Grammy Awards. Watch the video “Common Person” below.
Happy Tuesday! I’ve decided to highlight some of the best new music from emerging R&B/Hip Hop artists from the past few weeks. Female rappers like Gloss Up, Kari Faux and Flo Milli caught the ears of rap fans this week along with smooth cuts from JGrrey and Maesu. See the list of new R&B/Hip Hop tracks below.
Freshest Find: Cordae feat. Anderson .Paak, “Two Tens”
Overtop a nostalgic hip-hop beat produced by none other than J. Cole and Grammy-winning producer Dem Jointz, Anderson .Paak opens “Two Tens” vivaciously, declaring, “Two friends and they both tens, lookin’ nice/ Too bent, I should call it quits but I’m not.” Both .Paak and Cordae toss the mic back and forth perfectly, displaying enviable synergy that leaves fans craving more collabs from the lively pair.
Gloss Up, “Head, Shoulders, Knees, Toes”
Gloss Up is on your head, shoulders, knees and toes. The nursery rhyme-inspired standout track appears on the rising Memphis rapper’s debut mixtape Before the Gloss Up — which also houses her single “Bestfrenn,” featuring real-life best friend GloRilla. The Quality Control signee is carving a lane for herself in the rap game, and is already proving to be a mainstay with her bars and wordplay, highlighted here.
With “Theirs13”, rising U.K. singer JGrrey touches on her various complexities through vocals similar to that of Macy Gray. The intoxicating single is a hazy meditation on love, identity, adoption and the transitional periods she’s faced as an artist and person, as she ponders the same question throughout: “Who am I?”
Taylor Hill, “i want you to know.”
After earning credits with big names like Justin Bieber, Summer Walker and more, producer/songwriter Taylor Hill is honing in on his own artistry. His funk-inspired new single “i want you to know.” explores the dichotomy of his personal point-of-view and God’s, sprouting from an argument he had with his now-wife at church.
Jordan Ward feat. Ryan Trey, “White Crocs”
“White Crocs” is the second single off of Jordan Ward’s upcoming debut album FORWARD. The rising singer tapped fellow St. Louis native Ryan Trey for the Lido-produced track, which sees the two trade thoughts on balancing a relationship while satisfying a partner’s expensive tastes. FORWARD, which will be released March 3, holds layers of significance for the artist both artistically and personally. “FORWARD, not only pushing our sound and creativity, but pushing to evolve and break cycles,” Ward says of the album title. “FOR WARD, a dedication to my family and our future. FOUR-WARD, my fourth project, but also a FOREWORD in my story being the debut album!”
Kari Faux, “Me First”
Kari Faux is putting herself first … as she should. “Me First” sees the Arkansas native expressing über-confidence as she delivers a self-love bop to set the tone for all the girls this year. Faux is one of many rap girls running laps around their male counterparts right now, with “Me First” being the latest addition to her arsenal.
TRAETWOTHREE, “Outside Like This”
On the precipice of Grammy Weekend, Cali upstart TRAETWOTHREE scripts a gripping tale set at a Grammy party, which could double as a Tyler Perry flick. “Outside Like This” is a cautionary tale about TRAE running into his ex-girlfriend at the awards-week festivities. The biggest blow? Seeing her chat it up with another dude right in front of his eyes.
Flo Milli feat. Lola Brooke & Maiya the Don, “Conceited”
As if the original wasn’t epic enough, Flo Milli’s “Conceited” is back, with a few new it-girls. Enlisting buzzing Brooklyn newcomers Lola Brooke and Maiya the Don, Milli breathes new life into her viral summer 2022 anthem. All three distinct voices shine through, from Milli’s theatrical tone to Brooke’s husk and Maiya the Don’s laid back approach.
Maesu, “Sex on GPS”
“Sex with me on location please/ I’ve been away for weeks,” croons L.A.-based singer, songwriter, and producer Maesu, providing a simple enough plea to catch the attention of listeners. The afro-fusion number is smooth and sensual with tons of replay value thanks to Maesu’s addictive flows and Tejiri Akpoghene’s silky production.
midwxst & Denzel Curry, “Tally”
Indiana rapper midwxst channels his inner Old Hollywood crime boss in the visual for his latest single, “Tally.” Produced by Charlie Heat and Kennedy Sabin and centering latin guitar and horn melodies, the track’s emphatic production adds to the visual’s theatrics, perfectly underscoring midwxst and Denzel Curry’s loaded verses.
Robert Rihmeek Williams, known professionally as Meek Mill, is an American rapper from Philadelphia, PA. He has released the albums “Dreams And Nightmares” (2012), “Dreams Worth More Than Money” (2015), “Wins & Losses” (2017), “Championships” (2018) and “Expensive Pain” (2021).
This song is the property of Kannon Entertainment.
Indira Khan, known professionally as I. Khan, is an American singer. She began her career as a member of the R&B group Pretty In Pink. She has worked with such artists as Johnny Gill and Miki Howard. She recently released her new single “Sea Of Love.” Creative syncopation and instrumentation provide a strong background for Khan’s powerful vocals. Enjoy.
He was quietly a pioneer on the label that became synonymous with 60s soul music: both the organization’s first hitmaker and one of its key songwriters for a decade. The music industry mourns the passing of Motown star Barrett Strong at age 81.
The Mississippi-born Strong was one of the first artists to sign to the fledgling Motown label in 1960, and it was later that same year that the 19 year old delivered the first major hit for Berry Gordy’s company, shooting all the way to #2 on the charts with “Money (That’s What I Want),” a chugging number that announced the arrival of the Detroit label to the world.
“Money” went on to be recorded countless times over the years by various artists, but Strong didn’t use it as a springboard for a long recording career of his own. Instead, he teamed with music wunderkind Norman Whitfield to create one of the most successful songwriting teams in popular music. The two penned the guts of Motown’s biggest hits in the late 60s and early 70s by such artists as The Temptations (“Papa Was A Rolling Stone,” “Just My Imagination,” “Cloud Nine” and many more), Marvin Gaye (“I Heard It Through The Grapevine”), and Edwin Starr (“War”). Strong and Whitfield’s ability to move the label’s sweet, orchestral soul into a hot, grittier blend that incorporated rock and the funk sounds pioneered by Sly & The Family Stone and James Brown, gave Motown its second life as America’s #1 record label.
In the early 70s, Motown relocated to the West Coast and Whitfield left the fold to form his own label. This became the opportunity for Strong to resurrect his solo career, and he released albums on both Capitol Records and Epic Records, achieving some success with the single “Is It True” and the 1975 album Stronghold. While his production slowed down beginning in the 80s and beyond, Strong continued to write for other artists, and returned in 2008 to record a sequel to his Stronghold album, Stronghold II. Strong was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2004.
He was not a household name, but it is difficult to overstate the role that Barrett Strong played in establishing the greatest Black record label ever, and then moving popular R&B music to the funk-driven soul that would define it from the late 60s into the mid 70s. He will be greatly missed, even as we celebrate his tremendous contribution.
One of New York’s most esteemed veterans, Styles P, has delivered his fifteenth studio album, Penultimate: A Calm Wolf Is Still A Wolf, out today. The 13-track offering boasts production from frequent collaborators Noah Styles and Black Saun, Dayzel (Snoop Dogg, Benny the Butcher, Busta Rhymes, etc), and four tracks from legendary producer Vinny Idol including the standout track “Porsche Lights”.
There are no features on this Penultimate solo effort except for a Brady Watt hook on the lead single “Death Before Dishonor” which dropped last week. Styles doesn’t hold back on his raw bars about the streets, while Watt’s strings and smooth vocals help tie the song together – culminated with words from DJ Premier on the track.
The Queens-born, Yonkers-raised rap titan shared his 2002 solo debut album A Gangster and a Gentleman,which was led by the Swizz Beatz-produced hit single “Good Times.” He’s had a two-decade long career of consistency, dropping over a dozen more projects to date (not including work with the LOX). In 2016, Styles P and the LOX shared their long-awaited first album together in 16 years Filthy America…It’s Beautiful, which debuted within the Top 50 of the Billboard 200 and was followed by a tour. Early on, he was a featured guest on Rick Ross’ 2010 massive hit “BMF (Blowin’ Money Fast)”.
Styles P announced that he would be dropping one more solo album before retiring as a solo artist. Check out the album art below.
Dominique Armani Jones, known professionally as Lil Baby, is an American rapper/singer/songwriter. He rose to prominence with the mixtape “Perfect Timing.” He went on to release the albums “Harder Than Ever” (2018), “My Turn” (2020) and “It’s Only Me” (2022).