Friday Playlist: New Music for Your Weekend

New music from Drake, Little Simz, Lady Gaga, JMSN, and more
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After a year and change spent listening to new music from the confines of our homes, dance parties and concerts have returned (with some restrictions, of course) and artists are ramping up their new releases. Each week, we pick a handful of newly released songs worth a play—or eight.


Drake, “Certified Lover Boy”

After a year of delays, teasers, and an ongoing feud with rapper Kanye West, Drake has finally unveiled his highly anticipated album, Certified Lover Boy. Leading up to the release, the Toronto rapper launched a clever multi-city guest feature billboard campaign, which appeared in California, Memphis, New York City, Houston, Atlanta, Chicago, and Nigeria, XXL reports. Certified Lover Boy, which is Drake’s first studio album release since 2018’s Scorpion, features hip-hop heavy hitters including Jay Z, Lil Wayne, Rick Ross, Kid Cudi, and Lil Baby, and West Coast crooners Ty Dolla $ign and Giveon.

For the single “Way 2 Sexy,” featuring Future and Young Thug, Drake released a comical video that’s as troll-worthy as the full album’s cover art. (Los Angeles Clippers basketball player Kawhi Leonard even makes an appearance in the new video.)

But if you’re ready to get into your feels in the lead-up to “toxic boy fall,” this is the perfect album to listen to this weekend. [artist info]

Lady Gaga, “Dawn of Chromatica” (Remix album)

A year after the album’s release, Lady Gaga unveiled the updated version of Dawn of Chromatica on Friday. The award-winning singer and actress teamed up with some of the industry’s most exciting acts, including Bree Runway (“Babylon”), Shygirl (“Sour Candy”), Charli XCX (“911”), and Brazilian drag superstar Pabllo Vittar (“Fun Tonight”), Entertainment Weekly reports.

On Thursday night, Gaga tweeted, “I invite you to dance to this album in celebration of young artists all over the world. Artists who see the world, feel the world, and put that feeling into something bigger than all of us: music.” [artist info]

Duckwrth, “SG8”

If there’s anything that you do this weekend, do us a favor and bump SG8 by Los Angeles’ very own Duckwrth. The eight-track EP serves as a continuation of Duckwrth’s 2020 offering SuperGood, which provided all the good vibes of summertime in L.A.

But with song titles like “We Outside,” “Link Up Time,” and “Mask Off (Feelings),” SG8 appears to tap into themes surrounding our new reality, post COVID lockdown. The project features guest verses from fellow Los Angeles-based artists Jordan Ward, DESTIN CONRAD, and Phabo. Duckwrth is set to hit the road this month with his 2021 tour, then he’ll be supporting Billie Eilish’s Happier Than Ever tour in 2022. [artist info]

Little Simz, “Sometimes I Might Be Introvert”

U.K. rapper Little Simz has released her fourth studio project, Sometimes I Might Be Introvert, her first since 2019’s Grey Area. The 19-track album includes guest features from fellow British artist Cleo Sol on the early single “Woman” and Obongjayar on the track “Point and Kill,” which now has an accompanying music video as well.

Little Simz is also set to head on tour for a series of U.K. and Europe shows beginning this September. No U.S. dates appear to have been announced yet, but thanks to her latest NPR Tiny Desk (Home) Concert, we can at least pretend that we’re vibing in the crowd at one of her shows. [artist info]

JMSN, “Heals Me”

If you’re looking for a new vibey album to set the mood for the holiday weekend, we recommend streaming JMSN’s latest, Heals Me. The Detroit serenader announced the ten-track album earlier this summer, following the release of two singles, “Rolling Stone” in May and then “Love 2 U” in July. Heals Me doesn’t appear to have any guest contributions, but who needs them when you have JMSN and his guitar.

JMSN will also be kicking off the first leg of his Heals Me tour on September 17 in Santa Ana, with two stops in San Diego, according to his website. [artist info]

Kanye West, “Donda”

If you’re a Ye fan or an aficionado of hip-hop music in general, you’ve likely already listened to Kanye’s highly anticipated album Donda, which released on Sunday following a series of delays and three stadium-set listening events.

The album, which is named after the Chicago rapper’s late mother, Dr. Donda West, includes 27 songs including the previously debuted track, “No Child Left Behind.” Donda is stacked with guest appearances from artists like Jay-Z, Lil Baby, the Weeknd, Don Toliver, Syleena Johnson, and Compton native Roddy Ricch. You’ll also notice different versions—or part twos—of a few songs, including listener favorites “Junya, Pt. 2” and “Jesus Lord, Pt. 2.”

With Drake’s Certified Lover Boy released less than a week later (September 3), many music fans are debating which album is better. We’ll let you decide. [artist info]

Charli XCX, “Good Ones”

Another U.K. favorite, Charli XCX, released new music today with her single “Good Ones,” along with an accompanying music video.

In a self-authored release, the pop singer says “Good Ones” is “the first single of my new chapter embraces all that my life has to offer in today’s world—fame, glamour, inner demons and global hits.” The track, which was produced by Oscar Holter of Max Martin’s Wolf Cousins entity, she says, “laments my inability to keep hold of healthy relationships, instead being endlessly drawn back to the dysfunctional and toxic.”

In addition to her new single, Charli XCX also appears on “911” from Gaga’s Dawn of Chromatica remix album, along with A.G. Cook. [artist info]

Pell, “Floating While Dreaming II”

New Orleans rapper Pell has released his new mixtape, Floating While Dreaming II. The 11-track project is the sequel to the first iteration with the same name, which came out in 2014. Floating While Dreaming II features guest verses from Dave B. and fellow New Orleans artists PJ Morton and Malik Ninety Five.

Our favorite song so far is “Flight,” which also has a perfectly fitting video to accompany it. [artist info]


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