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New Music Roundup: The Roots, Nao, Rahn Harper & Jorja Smith

UK soul and an anthem for the people.

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The Roots, "Champion (2016 NBA Finals Theme Song)"

With the NBA Finals on the horizon, the legendary Roots contribute a fitting tune as their official theme. "You work hard 'til you're better off," Black Thought raps, highlighting the trials one must pass in order to achieve their desires. The track is a beautiful reminder of how incredible the Philly band is when crafting original material, when not sitting idly as the house band on The Tonight Show. Additionally, "Champion" serves well as a people's anthem rather than just a Finals one-off.— Rob Hansen

Nao, "Girlfriend"

Two years after the release of her excellent February 15 EP, Brit songstress Nao is set to roll out her debut album, For All We Know. Due July 22 (via Little Tokyo/RCA), the LP will include the previously-released "Fool To Love" and her latest effort "Girlfriend." Premiering the ladies' anthem on Annie Mac's BBC Radio 1, a guitar-strung sound rocks the baseline for a more edgy departure from Nao's usually slinky electro vibes, all the while staying in her soft saccharine vocal pocket. Nao is currently on tour ahead of the album's release and will make a stop in Chicago before heading back across the pond.— Shante' Merida

Rahn Harper, "Slide Thru" Feat. Von Alexander

Milwaukee has been dropping fire after fire when it comes to new music. We first caught whiff of the wave with Meraki's "HurtALittle" track, featuring Von Alexander. Now, Von is back with his supporting act, this time on Rahn Harper's latest single "Slide Thru." The Locos Los production is solid and complements both Harper and Von's verses. — Erin Ashley Simon

Jorja Smith, "Where Did I Go?"

Earlier this year, Jorja Smith was shelling out lattes at Starbucks and writing music in between shifts, but if "Where Did I Go?" is any indication, she'll be making music full-time in, well, no time. Sounding way beyond her teenage years, the Walsall, England-born Smith lilts over piano keys with a jazzy moan: "Maybe this fate was overdue/ Baby, it's late and I'm confused." The beat picks up within less than a minute, courtesy of bass drums and a thumpy groove from producer Cadenza. This is the kind of soul you and your parents can agree on.— Danielle Cheesman

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