Mic Drop: These 10 New Songs Are All Over the Map of Love

Mic Drop: These 10 New Songs Are All Over the Map of Love

Kelly Rowland – Black Magic
Kelly Rowland – Black Magic
Screenshot: YouTube

Now that we have officially entered the second half of Black History Month and made it past Valentine’s Day, it looks like some of our favorite Black musicians decided it was time to let the world know what type of love they’re feeling—and on these new tracks, they seem to be in their bag!

Now don’t get me wrong, Nasty C and Ari Lennox detail a beautiful love story about long-distance love and the excitement that the beginning of a relationship brings, but living on the other side of the world from your boo will totally have you in your feelings.

Tiera has us thinking about forever love with an upbeat soul and R&B-inspired country song, while Miss Kelly Rowland gives us absolute Black Magic in her new video with her precious newborn and 6-year-old son making an appearance at the end.

On the other hand, we’ve got some people out here who are saying no to love (or trying to) and in the meantime, giving us some absolute bangers to work with, such as Syd, Arlissa, and Brent Faiyaz.

In addition to the singles released this week, the album accompanying the new film Judas and the Black Messiah dropped Feb. 12 featuring songs by Nipsey Hussle, Nas, Masego, Smino, Rakim, Rapsody, and so many more. I implore you to grab your headphones and your bag and get on in.

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Robert Glasper feat. H.E.R. & Meshell Ndegeocello — “Better Than I Imagined” (DJ Tunez Remix)

Robert Glasper feat. H.E.R. & Meshell Ndegeocello — “Better Than I Imagined” (DJ Tunez Remix)

I’m here for a good remix—especially one that makes me want to get up and dance around. This Afrobeats-style remix to Robert Glasper’s original track, released August 2020, gives me hope that warmer days are on their way. Where the original is a soulful ballad with jazzy piano melodies and a chill drum line, the remix features layered harmonies and bouncy drums. H.E.R.’s alto vocals keep with the same integrity and meld beautifully with the sped-up rhythm of this remix. Is it summer yet?

Feb. 11, Concord Loma Vista (Afrobeats)

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Nasty C feat. Ari Lennox — “Black and White”

Nasty C feat. Ari Lennox — “Black and White”

Def Jam Recordings and Def Jam Africa are getting us all excited about the upcoming Coming 2 America film (out on Amazon Prime on March 5) with a newly released album Music Inspired By Zamunda. It features a variety of African artists from across the continent, and a new track from South African rapper Nasty C and R&B singer Ari Lennox has me in my feels. Taking place literally across the world, the video depicts a flirtatious long-distance flirtation-ship featuring a gorgeous oceanside house, sprawling lawns, FaceTime dinner dates, and Ari Lennox being the bad bitch that she is.

Feb. 12, Universal Music (Hip Hop/R&B)

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Kelly Rowland – “Black Magic”

Kelly Rowland – “Black Magic”

Black magic, baby / We bring the glow to the sun

Where is the lie, though? Kelly Rowland really said, “Black joy? Bet.” In her newest video, “Black Magic,” the vibrant colors match the equally vibrant music as she gives us exactly what we need to celebrate joy. Amid upbeat horns, Rowland celebrates Black art, movement, and love and brings up an amazing point that boils down to “what would the world look like if Black people just… left?”

And the hair representation? Immaculate.

Feb. 12, Roc Nation (R&B)

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Brent Faiyaz feat. Purr — “Circles”

Brent Faiyaz feat. Purr — “Circles”

If you want to feel like you’re underwater while also in a ‘90s music video, throw this one on. Brent Faiyaz goes into the ideas of God, heaven, and self-identity in his newest single “Circles” while remaining true to his funky R&B roots.

Feb. 8, Anti/Epitaph (Alternative R&B)

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Arlissa — “Heart vs. Brain”

Arlissa — “Heart vs. Brain”

R&B singer Arlissa released her debut EP, The Lovers, on Feb. 12, and the song “Heart vs. Brain” is a perfect representation of the project. The song nails the mix of longing for someone you can’t have, with a swift and efficient “fuck you” to them as well. The soft-rock electric guitar in the background builds during the bridge, adding to the feelings of heartbreak and internal conflict. Some damn good high notes float above the melody of the hook. The rest of her EP sticks to a similar note of longing but wanting to pull away at the same time. You can stream The Lovers now.

Feb. 12, bigbootyrecords (R&B)

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Pink Sweat$ —“Heaven”

Pink Sweat$ —“Heaven”

Pink Sweat$ creates an alternate world—or just gives us a glimpse into what heaven looks like—in his new video for R&B slow jam Heaven. It opens with a zoom-in from space down into a pink world, right into the eyes of the artist, who is looking to the sky. Viewers take a rose-colored journey as we watch the singer walk through a field of pink grass, rocking the flyest pink ascot I’ve ever seen, as children chase neon butterflies. The song also features incredible drum, electric guitar, and piano breakdowns.

Feb. 8, Atlantic Records (R&B)

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Ruth B. feat The Harlem Gospel Travelers — “If I Have a Son”

Ruth B. feat The Harlem Gospel Travelers — “If I Have a Son”

In 2015, Ruth B. released her single Lost Boys about the complexities of mental health. Her new song, If I Have a Son, explores what it means to raise children in a world where Black kids, specifically Black boys, aren’t safe. The hard-hitting lyrics tap into the fears that parents have and how to go about dealing with those emotions while still raising strong and resilient children. The emotional ballad features the harmonies of the Harlem Gospel Travelers on the chorus; piano and strings sections allow Ruth B.’s voice and lyrics to rise above everything else.

Feb. 11, Downtown Records (Ballad)

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Tiera feat. BRELAND — “Miles”

Tiera feat. BRELAND — “Miles”

Alabama native Tiera is championing the women-in-country-music game. Her new song Miles uses standard country instrumentals but has a clear influence from other genres such as R&B and soul. The opening drums are reminiscent of a typical soul intro but shift toward a more lowkey country rhythm after the first few beats. The song utilizes both an acoustic and electric guitar and what sounds like a shaker and tambourine in the chorus. In October, the singer-songwriter got engaged to her longtime partner, and Miles, which is about someone putting in miles on her heart, definitely exudes that forever type of love.

Feb. 12, Songs & Daughters (Country)

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Syd — “Missing Out”

Syd — “Missing Out”

I’m not sure if Valentine’s Day—or week—has got everyone in their bag, but Syd sure seems to be in hers. The new single “Missing Out” embodies the “you absolutely fucked up in leaving me” vibe but also “come back to me,” much like Arlissa’s new EP. The synths and drums feel very sci-fi while sticking to the well-loved formula Syd uses across a lot of her music—the percussion and melodies do the talking, as her melancholy voice hovers just below the peak volume of the instrumentals.

Feb. 12, Columbia Records (R&B) 

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Nipsey Hussle feat. Jay-Z —“What It Feels Like”

Nipsey Hussle feat. Jay-Z —“What It Feels Like”

No words for this one. Just love.

Feb. 14, Attitude Music (Hip Hop) 

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