Temperatures are dropping but the R&B/hip-hop heat still persists. This week we’ve got a collection of songs by genre-benders (Omar Apollo and Tai Verdes), emerging rap stars (Luh Tyler, Audrey Nuna and Big Bratt) and an R&B staple (Kyle Dion) to help you power through this last week of August.
Don’t forget to share the wealth and check out our August picks in the Spotify playlist, linked below. Stay tuned for September!
Freshest Find: Omar Apollo, “Ice Slippin”
This week’s freshest find goes to Omar Apollo for “Ice Slippin,” his emotional ballad about the time he came out to his family. “‘Ice Slippin’ is about reliving the thoughts I had passing through my mind the winter I came out to my family,” Apollo shared in a press statement. “Receiving cold judgment as opposed to the acceptance I felt I deserved. This song is a reflection and reaction of all the emotions I had to face before and after I decided to leave the icy streets of Indiana.” “Ice Slippin” will appear on Apollo’s upcoming EP Live for Me (out October 6).
Luh Tyler, “Rapper of the Year”
“I ain’t never wrote a song, no, I don’t need no pad or pen,” is the boastful intro line to Luh Tyler’s new track “Rapper of the Year.” The Florida teen rapper has been making a name for himself in rap with his witty bars and quivering flow. “Rapper of the Year” is the intro track on his new three-song EP ROTY.
Tai Verdes, “All White”
Tai Verdes’ “All White” is a bass-forward track inspired in part by what he describes as the “second-generation Black mindset of putting culture on your shoulders and moving forward.” The California artist has mastered making light and airy pop songs, though “All White” arguably slightly crosses into R&B territory with its groovy bass line.
Kyle Dion, “Boyfriend Jeans”
Leaning fully into R&B is Kyle Dion, whose new single “Boyfriend Jeans” seamlessly infuses his creamy falsetto with funky 2000s R&B elements. After taking a full year off following the release of his 2022 deluxe album SASSY, the L.A.-based crooner is back with a song “about a fling with a girl and getting caught in an ever-endless cycle of toxicity between her and her boyfriend,” he shares in a press release. “Every time they fight and break up, she’d come running back to me.”
AUDREY NUNA, “locket”
Audrey Nuna samples the late rapper Huey’s 2006 hit “Pop, Lock and Drop It” for her new single “locket.” The New Jersey rapper also pays homage to late French filmmaker Valentin Petit, who passed earlier this year and directed the song’s video. “When it came time to build out the visual universe for my new project, I came across Valentin’s name through my friend and reached out online. After two months of preparing over the phone, we shot ‘locket’ in Paris in April of 2023… it was a surreal week,” she shares in a statement. “Even though I only knew Valentin for a sum of three months, I found in this short time
that everything that drew me to his videos clearly stemmed from the blueprint of his soul and who he was at his core.”
Fridayy, “Stand by Me”
On his self-titled new album Fridayy, the baritone Philly singer is telling his story as well as the story of those around him. “It’s a project for us, by me,” he says. “I want people to connect to their experiences as they hear mine. I’m talking about hope and inspiration as much as I’m talking about trials and tribulations. You can’t talk about the dream without talking about the pain. Those life aspects are universal, so I’m hoping it touches as many people as possible as they see themselves in me.” Standout track “Stand By Me” hears him backed by a choir, crooning about righting his wrongs and wishing for his people to sticky by him through thick and thin.
Big Bratt, “Real Stand Up Bxtch”
Big Bratt had to “cut them hatin’ b–ches off ’cause they had different visions” — rightfully so. The Chattanooga, Tennessee rapper proved that she’s a “Real Stand Up Bxtch” on her new single which was released under Slaughter Gang Entertainment (21 Savage) and Boominati Worldwide (Metro Boomin).