Future, Honest

Future’s sophomore LP is a raw, emotive fusion of trap rap and R&B, where he literally does get honest (albeit with the help of a vocal processor to enhance the sound of his sing-song emceeing). Friends like Pharrell, Drake, Wiz Khalifa, Kanye West and more assist Future on this project, as he runs the gamut of cliché subject matter about rejoicing in the perfect trophy wife (waves at Ciara), wallowing in money ad nauseam and #winning. This isn’t going to be a universal favorite, but Future’s style of energetic sing-chanting in staccato bursts can be fun for those looking to turn up.

Available today on iTunes.


Prince, “The Breakdown”

Prince’s latest offering sonically taps into his ballad style of the 1980s (“Scandalous,” “I Love U in Me”). “The Breakdown,” which is reminiscent of 1988’s “When 2 R in Love,” features His Purple Excellency getting all up in his falsetto range as he sings about weakness and being broken down in a love gone awry. Bittersweet, “The Breakdown” starts off tame but eventually builds to its climax as Prince delivers his signature scream-singy vocal riffs.

Blitz the Ambassador, Afropolitan Dreams

The Ghanaian-American rapper is back with yet another project sure to titillate our ears. Afropolitan Dreams features the Brooklyn-based MC at his finest. The skilled rapper brings witty lyricism and harmonious collaborations with African musicians like Nneka, Seun Kuti, Angelique Kidjo and more. There are horns, guitar, drums and an overall masterful meshing of hip-hop, Afrobeat and reggae. Blitz, a product of two worlds, really is a musical ambassador. This album, the product of his deft rhyme skills plus his excellent ear for musical sounds, will be a sure-fire summer banger. 

Kindred the Family Soul, “Everybody’s Hustling”

Husband and wife duo Kindred the Family Soul are so tired of redundant messages in hip-hop and pop music that their solution has been to counter the more unfavorable messages with positivity. “Everybody’s Hustling” is a mellow, uplifting groove geared toward people who can’t floss because they’re hustling just to keep up with their bills. But it’s also an affirmation that material possessions don’t account for happiness. 

The duo release their new album, A Couple Friends, on June 10.

Death, Death III

The Detroit-based Death band first assembled in the ’70s and went largely unnoticed until the 2012 documentary A Band Called Death, which chronicled the group arguably inventing punk music. Enter Death III, a compilation of songs spanning the years 1975, 1976, 1980 and 1992. Despite their frantic nature, these tracks have soul. There are angsty guitar riffs, fast-paced drums and gritty hardcore rock vocals à la Bad Brains and Jimi Hendrix.

Listen here.

Purchase here.

Renee Dion, Moonlight

Renee Dion teamed up with beat-smith Jon Rogers to help create her latest offering, Moonlight. This album comes after Dion took a musical hiatus to regroup, severing ties with her initial musical team. During her break, she fell in love, blossomed as an artist and built a creative relationship with Rogers. The result of their partnership is Moonlight, an emotionally mature, romantic collection of songs blended beautifully to the sounds of R&B, trip-hop and electronica, and underscored by Dion’s dreamy honeyed voice.

Kelis, Food

Kelis has been releasing tracks and visuals in anticipation of her sixth studio album for the past couple of months, and so far so good. She has switched up her sound once again, on a more retro tip. Dave Sitek of TV on the Radio provides funk-rock tracks reminiscent of the popular musical sounds of the ’60s and ’70s.

Purchase here.

Starrene Rhett Rocque fantasizes about becoming a shotgun toting B-movie heroine, and aspires to save the world from the impending #ZombieApocolypse… In reality she’s a freelance entertainment journalist/blogger who muses about music, TV, movies and fitness. Follow her on Twitter @GangStarrGirl or at GangStarrGirl.com.