Weekend Playlist: New Music From Alicia Keys, Rick Ross, Khruangbin and Leon Bridges

Also, a new COVID-appropriate Christmas track from Jimmy Fallon (yes, you read that right) featuring Ariana Grande and Megan Thee Stallion

We finally made it to Friday y’all! In honor of our favorite day, we’ve curated list of new singles and albums for you to enjoy this weekend. Among the releases includes the eighth studio album from Alicia Keys, rapper Rick Ross’ 11th project, as well as singles from Texas musicians Khruangbin and Leon Bridges, Mitski, and more. Vibe out with us.

Khruangbin & Leon Bridges, “B-Side”

Without a doubt, one of the most exciting collaboration projects to release last year was Texas Sun by the psych-funk Houston-based trio Khruangbin and Fort Worth-raised soul singer Leon Bridges. This week, the musicians announced that they are set to release a follow-up titled Texas Moon, which is slated to drop on February 18. Along with the exciting news, Khruangbin and Leon Bridges also gifted fans with the first single from the upcoming four-track EP, which is coincidentally entitled “B-Side.” (My personal favorite from Texas Sun is C-Side, so they knew what they were doing here.) The single arrives with a Western, psychedelic-themed visual directed by Philip Andelman and shot in the J. Lorraine Ghost Town. [artist info for Leon Bridges and Khruangbin]

Alicia Keys, KEYS

Alicia Keys, the beloved songstress who has earned 15 Grammy awards, has released her eighth studio album titled KEYS. The double disc-album, which spans 21 tracks, is divided into two parts: “Originals” which are tracks that Keys largely produced herself and “Unlocked” which are alternate versions produced with the help of producer Mike WiLL Made-It. There’s a reason that Keys has been around as long as she had, and this album just further proves that. [artist info]

Rick Ross, Richer Than I Ever Been

A skill that Rick Ross has carried throughout 15-plus-year career is having a keen ear for great production and making music that sounds expensive. His latest release, Richer Than I Ever Thought, is no different. Featuring guest appearances from Future, 21 Savage, Wale, The-Dream, Jazmine Sullivan, and more, Ross’ eleventh studio album is bound to end up in radio and club rotations. [artist info]

Benny Sings, Beat Tape II

After releasing his album Music in April, Benny Sings had several beats left over that he hadn’t used. So, the Amsterdam-born songwriter, singer, and producer decided to gift his fans with a new project, Beat Tape II, which is a follow-up to the original Beat Tape, which dropped in 2018. Collaborating with several friends and collaborators from around the world, Beat Tape II features guest appearances from St. Panther, Rae Khalil, Oddisee, MadeinTYO, Kenny Beats, and more. [artist info]

Mitski, “Heat Lightning”

“Heat Lightning” is the third single from Mitski’s anticipated album Laurel Hell, which is slated to drop in February. In a statement about the upcoming album, the Japanese-American singer-songwriter said, “[I] needed songs that could help me forgive both others and myself … I needed to create this space mostly for myself where I sat in that gray area.” “Heat Lightning” feels like a perfect example of this. Fans of Mitski won’t have to wait too long to see her perform live in L.A. as she’s scheduled to perform at two back-to-back shows at the Shrine Expo Hall in early March just in time for the album release. [artist info]

Fana Hues, “Breakfast”

If you’re anything like me, there aren’t many things that are more soothing than running a loop of Colors + Studios or NPR Tiny Desk performances while you’re working from home or handling other tasks. While doing that this week, I came across a new single by singer Fana Hues called “Breakfast,” which stopped me in my tracks. The Pasadena-based singer released the new track along with the live performance video via the popular Colors + Studios platform, which is definitely worth a listen/watch. [artist info]

Juice WRLD, Fighting Demons

While it’s difficult to listen to music from an artist who has passed away, it can also feel like a treat to know that their music continues to live on even if they’re not here with us. That’s how it feels listening to late rapper Juice WRLD’s latest album Fighting Demons, which released today with features from Eminem, Polo G, Trippie Redd, Justin Bieber, from BTS, and more. Fighting Demons arrives two days after the two-year anniversary of his tragic death, and just hours following the first annual Juice WRLD Day, which took place in Chicago and was streamed live for fans. [artist info]

Jimmy Fallon ft. Ariana Grande, and Megan Thee Stallion, “It Was A…(Masked Christmas)”

It’s the holiday season, so we felt that it was only right to highlight the hilarious COVID-appropriate track, “It Was A… (Masked Christmas)” from The Tonight Show host Jimmy Fallon featuring pop singer Arianna Grande and rap star Megan Thee Stallion, which premiered on the show with an equally silly music video. Fallon said the song is “basically about how last year was just rough on everybody. I wanted to say ‘it’s going to get better. It really is going to get better, trust me,’ and how can I portray that? And also think about what funny things have happened while we were in lockdown, like putting Purell on everything or going on a Zoom, Zooming your grandpa and grandma and seeing where the Wi-Fi works best. So I write this song.” [artist info]

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