It’s the first day of June, which means summer is around the corner. As the hottest season of the year approaches, I’ve got you covered with the very best of emerging R&B/hip hop talent. This week sees the return of rap heavyweights J Hus and Kenny Mason, while blossoming acts like grouptherapy. and Khamari are making their way to the R&B centerstage. Check out this week’s picks below.
Freshest Find: Khamari, “Cherry Picking”
Boston-made artist Khamari has made a splashy album debut with A Brief Nirvana. The 11-track project is the multi-instrumentalist’s gripping introduction to the world, with cuts like “Cherry Picking” embracing the quiet and vulnerable. Centering songwriting and the texture of his brain-tickling voice, Khamari is captivating, eliciting emotion and forgotten memories with each track.
J Hus, “It’s Crazy”
J Hus returns with a vengeance on his new drill-adjacent track “It’s Crazy.” Released with a frenetic video, the U.K. rapper peers directly into the camera, questioning, “Why you wanna see the evil in me when I wanna live my life peacefully?” The new song marks a new era of music for J Hus — and is hopefully the precursor to a new album.
L.A.-based best friend trio grouptherapy. are reveling in their youth. On “Nasty,” the collective is embracing their resilience and self-acceptance: “We all felt a need to let our id speak and embrace our nastier side; whether that be sexy and seductive or slick like an oil spill,” they share in a press release. “This is grouptherapy. on our pimp shit.”
“Hydroplane” is the climactic intro to Cochise’s new EP No One’s Nice to Me. He enunciates more than usual on the opener track, rapping, “I’m counting out this money, while I’m counting up my blessings,” over cinematic strings and glimmering keys.
Kenny Mason, “Dracula”
Kenny Mason’s new Coupe-produced track “Dracula” further proves that he is one to watch. The Atlanta artist likens himself to the infamous vampire, but with platinum teeth and thirsting for bags of money. Mason went full rapper mode for “Dracula” though his knack for effortlessly fusing rap and grunge is what makes him a standout amongst the next class of artists.
audrey mika, “satuRday”
Thank god for Saturdays: the day of the week that lacks the scaries of Sundays and the anticipation of Fridays. Audrey Mika agrees, the cheery singer embracing the beauty of the weekend feeling being spread throughout less exciting days of our lives. The cut is uplifting and perfect for those lazy summer afternoons, equipped with a bouncy percussion line and Mika’s soft rasp.
$NOT, “Easter Pink”
An ode to Cam’Ron and Y2K style, $NOT delivers “Easter Pink”: a perfectly summer single, made to be blasted with all the windows down. The MBWAV instrumental is perfectly nostalgic as $NOT coolly raps, “Wanna be my friend again? Ride around up in the Benz/ Drivin’ up into night ’til we hit the mornin’.”