Mic Drop: Music Releases From the First Week of January to Get You Ready for 2021

Mic Drop: Music Releases From the First Week of January to Get You Ready for 2021

Saweetie - Best Friend (feat. Doja Cat)
Saweetie - Best Friend (feat. Doja Cat)
Screenshot: YouTube

2021 started off with a bang, literally and metaphorically. From the insanity that happened in D.C. last Wednesday (January 6th, 2021) to KimYe’s split to every other random act in between, it was hard for me to stay on top of the new music that I was dying to hear as it dropped.

Because we’ve started off this year with an “oh shit,” tone, weekly “Mic Drops” of new music released will be published each week, recapping what came out over the weekend. From well known artists like Jazmine Sullivan, to new ones such as 5AM, each week will feature different types of releases I’ve chosen to help push you through the week until the next set of bangers drops.

This week, a ton of artists dropped their hip hop and R&B tracks/albums and I’m really here for it. So grab your headphones (or Airpods, or whatever) and listen up.

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5AM – “Falsetto”

5AM – “Falsetto”

I had never heard of 5AM before, and was pleasantly surprised by the alternative R&B vibe that this song gave off. It definitely falls under the “hip hop” genre, but the smooth and flowing melody attached to the beat mellow it out. The song has an atmospheric trap beat, using hard-hitting rhythm and tons of reverb to give the illusion that the beat is moving with the lyrics rather than remaining stagnant in the background.

January 8, 2021, 1865/Interscope Records (Hip Hop)

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Andra Day – “All of Me”

Andra Day – “All of Me”

If I close my eyes, Andra Day’s cover of Billie Holiday’s jazz standard “All of Me” brings me to a jazz club with a glass of scotch in the ‘40s. Day plays Holiday in Barry Jenkins’ new film United States vs. Billie Holiday, premiering February 26, 2021. I’ve obviously never met Billie Holiday, but Day’s raspy voice and smokey nonchalance makes me want to go back in time and search for her. This song goes past your typical jazz club ensemble and brings it to the Hollywood big bands of the 1950s.

January 11, 2021, Warner Records Inc. (Vocal Jazz)

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Devon Gilfillian – “Thank Me Later (Again)” (Live Video), Black Hole Rainbow (Deluxe Album)

Devon Gilfillian – “Thank Me Later (Again)” (Live Video), Black Hole Rainbow (Deluxe Album)

The live performance for “Thank Me Later (Again)“ features Gilfillian and an accompanying pianist. The piano-ballad’s video was released alongside the deluxe edition of his debut album Black Hole Rainbow, including new tracks: “Thank Me Later (Again),” “The Good Life - Piano Version,” “Trouble Maker,” “High,” “Here and Now,” “Cracks In The Ceiling,” “Unchained - Stripped,” “Get or and Get It - Jacquel Remix,” “Truth ft. Tate Tucker,” “Here and Now - Live,” and “The Good Life - Acoustic.”

January 8, 2021, Capitol Records (Soul/R&B)

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dvsn – “Use Somebody”

dvsn – “Use Somebody”

dvsn released Use Somebody on January 8, 2021 ahead of their new project coming out through OVO Sound on January 15, 2021. The R&B cover is an art in itself, and dvsn pairs down the grandeur of the original pop-style song by Kings of Leon. It shows the classic dvsn formula of laid-back production and emotional vocals while still staying in touch with the balladry of the original.

January 8, 2021, OVO Sound/Warner Records Inc. (Pop R&B)

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Jazmine Sullivan ft. H.E.R. – “Girl Like Me”

Jazmine Sullivan ft. H.E.R. – “Girl Like Me”

Jazmine Sullivan released her single “Girl Like Me” alongside her new EP Heaux Tales last week. While this whole EP will have you in your bag, this song will get you there in seconds. It makes you want to both cry and fuck a heaux up. Her sultry vocals paired with the acoustic sounding guitar loop make up for the seeming lack of drum beats. H.E.R.’s harmonies blend seamlessly with Sullivan’s and she is just one of many heavy-hitting features on the EP such as Anderson .Paak and Ari Lennox.

January 7, 2021, RCA (R&B)

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Meli ft. 6lack – “You Ain’t Worth It”

Meli ft. 6lack – “You Ain’t Worth It”

The “You Ain’t Worth It” video, is incredibly aesthetically pleasing if your aesthetic is “trap, but make it fashion.” It opens to Meli looking snatched and stan-cing (stand-dancing) in the middle of a skate park. 6lack’s verse is set on a roof at night, shrouded in darkness which fits in with his whole thing. The video embodies the song’s laid-back enthusiasm, mixing bright colors and monochromatic clothing against skate park and house party settings.

January 8, 2021, Interscope Records (R&B Trap)

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Rexx Life Raj – “Bad Bad Bad”

Rexx Life Raj – “Bad Bad Bad”

Rexx Life Raj shows the severity of the pandemic as well as the importance of keeping touch with your community in the new video, “Bad Bad Bad”. Raj and friends can be seen playing basketball, hanging out in the club and having a picnic while trying to navigate space helmet lookin’ headgear that is strapped to their shoulders. while people around them stare uncomfortably. It’s kind of hilarious because I both really want one of these space helmets and want to light them all on fire. The best part about this video is the fancy, Pinterest-inspired French picnic staged on the bank of a pond next to their basketball game, and watching as they all try to shove brie in their mouths through these plastic suits.

January 8, 2021, Empire (Hip Hop)

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RMR – “Her Honeymoon”

RMR – “Her Honeymoon”

RMR’s (pronounced “Rumor”) music is the perfect combination of R&B trap sounds mixed with the balladry found in country music. “Her Honeymoon” tells a story within a story. There are the lyrics which tell the story of a man worried about his girl, played by Janet Guzman, coming home, and then the uncharacteristic storyline of “pick your own adventure.” RMR has asked fans to decide how the video ends, leaving it open-ended and clearly laid out throughout the song

January 8, 2021, Warner Records Inc./Cmnty Rcrds (Hip Hop)

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Saweetie ft. Doja Cat – “Best Friend”

Saweetie ft. Doja Cat – “Best Friend”

Performative feminism? Saweetie standing on top of Doja Cat? King Bach? That’s all.

January 7, 2021, WMG/Warner Records Inc. (Hip Hop)

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VanJess ft. Jimi Tents, Garren – “Curious”

VanJess ft. Jimi Tents, Garren – “Curious”


Nigerian sister duo VanJess teams up with Jimi Tents and Garren for their new single, “Curious,that has slow lyrics over a minimalist hard-hitting beat. It’s a song that you could listen to alone and vibe, or played at a function (remember those?)

January 7, 2021, Keep Cool/RCA (Alternative R&B)

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DISCUSSION