With so many new rap albums, mixtapes, EPs and songs dropping every week; knowing which ones are worth your time can be a challenge. But no worries, we'll help smooth out the process with "Now N' Laters," a column that highlights the hottest new releases of the week and the songs you'll want to listen to now — and later.
Friday has finally arrived and the work week is all but over. So, that means it's time for Now N' Laters, REVOLT's weekly roundup that highlights the best songs from the hottest new releases that should be added to you playlist.
This week includes a number of high-profile releases with a mix of legends and rising stars all crashing the party with new albums that have captured the full attention of the culture. R&B legend Mariah Carey returns with Caution, her 15th studio album and first in over four years. With a diverse lineup of producers including Timbaland, DJ Mustard, Nineteen85, Skrillex and other elite boardsmen, Caution serves as yet another quality offering from the veteran songstress that looks to continue her dominance on the charts. In the age of the hybrid performer, Anderson .Paak has established himself as one of the best in the biz. The raspy-voiced crooning lyricist proves that the third time's a charm with Oxnard, the highly anticipated follow-up to .Paak's breakout 2016 album, Malibu. Executive produced by Dr. Dre, Oxnard is a sonic voyage that will only further stamp the MC as a generational talent. In what has proven to be the year of the soundtrack, Mike Will Made-It throws his hat into the ring by delivering the goods with Creed II: The Album, which finds the producer rounding up a squadron of A-list talent to craft a compilation of music fit for a champion.
With all three releases getting airplay and dominating the conversation, REVOLT shares our critics' picks for the three songs from each album that stand a cut above the rest and should be in your heavy rotation now -- and later. Be sure to let us know what your favorites are in the comments below.
Mariah Carey: Caution
"A No No"
Carey turns up the tempo on this selection from her 15th studio album, which finds her cutting ties with a former flame in light of his deceitful ways. Produced by Shea Taylor, who crafts a backdrop that samples Lil Kim's Hardcore cut "Crush on You," this upbeat ditty is among the standout offerings from Mimi's latest long player.
Ty Dolla $ign makes an appearance alongside Carey on this steamy duet produced by Lido, Skrillex and Poo Bear. "Ain't nobody stopping us, what we have is dangerous," Carey purrs, as the veteran talent delivers a sensual ballad from her latest release that ranks among its most addictive.
Carey returns to her roots on this piano-driven ballad, which showcases the singer's vocal prowess and masterful songwriting. Produced by Timbaland, Angel Lopez and Federico Vindver, this sprawling selection falls in the vein of classic Mariah compositions from yesteryear and closes out her latest body of work on a heartfelt note.
Anderson .Paak: Oxnard
"I been feeling kinda cooped up, cooped up, I need to get some fresh air," .Paak muses on this feel-good number from Oxnard, the rapper's second studio album. Produced by Om'Mas Keith and .Paak, himself, the pair power the track with live guitars, drums and piano keys that Paak and Kendrick Lamar glide over with finesse. This results in yet another quality offering from SoCal's dynamic duo.
This selection from .Paak's new LP finds the Aftermath artist keeping it strictly west coast, as he and Snoop Dogg collide for a meeting of the minds on this sublime groove. Produced by Jason Proud, and featuring additional vocals from The Last Artful, this breezy offering is quality rider music and stands as one of the premier collaborations from the album.
"Left To Right"
The rapper closes out his latest offering with this lively heater, which finds the double-threat employing a Caribbean-tinged flow. Produced by Dr. Dre, Mell, and Jason Pounds, .Paak goes from rapping to crooning over guitars, trumpets and piano keys on this free-wheeling composition.
Mike Will Made-It: Creed II: The Album
It's always a treat when bosses meet, especially when those bosses happen to be two of the greatest rappers of all-time. On "Check," which finds Mike Will Made-It and Blue Cheeze cooking up a soundscape that thrives on its live instrumentation, Nas and Rick Ross politic with one another over guitars, drums, and piano keys for the pairs latest collaborative effort.
"Pretty baby, I won't lie," Rae Sremmurd member Swae Lee croons on this standout offering, which finds him joining forces with rap's current purveyor of slime Young Thug. Produced by Plu$$ and Mike Will Made-It, who craft a pulsating backdrop rife with drums galore, this number casts Lee and Thugger as a tandem that's infectious as they are effective.
Harlem connects with Queens when A$AP Rocky, A$AP Ferg and Nicki Minaj unleash a trio of relentless flows on this bruising offering from the latest Creed soundtrack. Rhyming over searing violins and thunderous percussion, Rocky, Ferg and Minaj deliver punchlines galore on this raucous selection, which is among the most memorable highlights on this star-studded project.
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