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This week features new hip-hop and R&B releases from artists like King Von, Queen Naija, and Lil Keed, Sam Smith, and more.

There is an overwhelming amount of music that drops on New Music Fridays. Unless you have hours of free time, it’s almost impossible to wade through all the sewage out there to get to the good stuff.

That’s where Okayplayer comes in. On Friday morning, we are out here listening to as much new music as humanly possible. The biggest album to drop this week is Ariana Grande’s sixth studio album Positions. But there are a bunch of new hip-hop and R&B albums you should know about. Two legendary vets released albums. Busta Rhymes dropped Extinction Level Event 2: The Wrath Of God, the sequel to his 1998 classic. That album features appearances from Kendrick Lamar, Rakim, Ol Dirty Bastard, Q-Tip and production from J Dilla, DJ Premier, and more. While Common dropped his new album just in time to raise awareness around Tuesday’s election. 

But there are also a bunch of new hip-hop middle-tier releases you should know about, from a wide range of singers and rappers, like King Von, Queen Naija, and Atmosphere.

King Von  — Welcome to O’Block

King Von
Photo Credit: Artist

King Von is Chicago’s best storyteller. For his new album, Welcome to O-Block, he gets assistance from contemporaries like Lil Durk, Polo G, Dreezy, and Fivio Foreign. If you like your raps relentless this one’s for you.

ASAP Twelvyy — Noon Yung

Photo Credit: Artist

The A$AP Mob is in a weakened state as a unit. But the members are still pumping out solid releases. ASAP Twelvyy drops his second project of the year. There are some solid appearances from ASAP Rocky and Conway the Machine here.

Lil Keed – Trapped On Cleveland 3 (Deluxe)

Photo Credit: Artist

Lil Keed — probably the most underrated Young Thug descendant — basically added another album to Trapped On Cleveland 3, his effort from earlier in the year. This is 37 songs of music here, folks. But most of it rides. 

Atmosphere – The Day Before Halloween

Slug and Ant step out of their comfort zone on their new release, The Day Before Halloween. The album, Atmosphere’s 11th, is carried by these crazy John Carpenter-like synths throughout.

Small Bills — Don’t Play It Straight 

Photo Credit: Artist

Armand Hammer’s Elucid connects with Michigan producer The Lasso for their debut album, Don’t Play it Straight. Lasso gives Elucid a psychedelic palette to play with. This album is a nice counterpart to Shrines, Armand Hammer’s excellent album from June. 

Lou Phelps — Extra Extra! 

new hip-hop lou phillips
Photo Credit: Artist

Lou Phelps, younger brother of KAYTRANADA, just dropped a new hip-hop EP called Extra! Extra! On social media, Lou revealed it took him nine months to make this album, saying “…this is literally my baby. Thank you lord. This is amazing. The hustle never ends. Share that shit to your friends if you like it!”

Lyric Jones —  Closer Than They Appear

new hip-hop lyric jones
Photo Credit: Artist

Boston-bred rapper Lyric Jones’ new album, Closer Than they Appear, was executive produced by Phonte from Little Brother. In an interview with Vibe she spoke about how much she looked up to Phonte:

“I’ve just been feeling this connection to him as an artist and how versatile he was and how people didn’t put him in a box. Whereas other artists, when they come out rapping and then they try to sing or do jazz or something, people hem and haw about it. I didn’t really see that happening with Phonte so I was like, ‘He’s the blueprint of how I want to be looked at in the industry.’ Just a savant, like someone that can do it all.”

Omarion — The Kinection
Photo Credit: Artist

Tour money is probably going to be slow for artists like Omarion. So it’s back to the music. Omarion’s new album, The Kinetic, has some strong rap appearances from Ghostface Killah, Wale, and T-Pain.

Sam Smith — Love Goes

Photo Credit: Artist

Sam Smith’s new album was supposed to be called To Die For. And it was supposed to come in March. Due to unforeseen circumstance — like a global pandemic — Smith had to changed the title and date. But the album is out now and packed with jams for those suffering from a broken heart.

Street Justice & 38 Spesh – Community Service

new hip-hop 38 spesh
Photo Credit: Artist

There aren’t many rappers and producers as prolific as 38 Spesh. He connects with Rochester rapper Street Justice for a quick but good release.

Berner Larry June — Cooks and Orange Juice

new hip-hop berner
Photo Credit: Artist

Future billionaire Berner has one of the largest Rolodexes in hip-hop. Berner has done collaborative albums with everyone from Mozzy to Styles P to Curren$y. This time he connects with Larry June, who’s been killing it this year. Make sure you stick around for the killer Devin the Dude appearance.

Queen Naija — missunderstood 

Photo Credit: Artist

Queen Naija brought in the stars for her debut, missunderstood. She gets appearances from Mulatto, Lil Durk, Kiana Ledé, Jacques, and more. She talked about her new album with Audio Mack:

“Everyone knows that. I’m a better writer than talker. I perfect [my writing]; I sit, and I go over it, down to every single [word]. I got something to prove to myself. I only wanna outdo myself. I’m not in competition with nobody. I always want to have room to level up. People loved my EP; how am I gonna level up from this? Experimenting with different producers and other people all around, I was able to increase my sound.”

Ayanis — YANI

Photo Credit: Artist

R&B singer Ayanis dropped off her second EP, YANI. She also released the video for “Lil Boi (Big Talk) Remix” which features Jack Harlow. Speaking about the video with Complex, she said, “It has such a fun and vibrant feeling to it. I always wanted to shoot at a diner. It’s like one of those videos you watched on TV and wished you were apart of.”

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