SZA, “Sweet November”

SZA has been consistent with new leaks from her forthcoming album, Z, which is available today. Her latest single, “Sweet November,” is sonically more upbeat than some of her previous tunes, and sounds like it’s straight from a 1970s Blaxploitation flick. Here, the T.D.E. singer gets all Curtis Mayfield meets Foxy Brown soundtrack, as she delivers a breathy tune about love and life lessons. Do fall in love with the guitar riffs at the end. ‘Z’

Z is available on iTunes.

The Roots, “When the People Cheer”

The legendary Roots crew took a step back from their gig with Jimmy Fallon to remind us that they’re still the illest. Black Thought flows over a low-key, drum-heavy track about the financial and moral highs and lows that come with the pursuit of popularity and fame. This is the latest from their forthcoming satire album, …And Then You Shoot Your Cousin.


Calvin Richardson, “We Gon Love Tonight”

Calvin Richardson (the man behind Angie Stone’s “More Than a Woman” and Charlie Wilson’s “There Goes My Baby”) knows a lot about sanging from the soul. It also helps that he’s now under the tutelage of Eric Benét. He takes a page from Marvin Gaye’s book with his newest single, “We Gon Love Tonight.” Take a listen and see if you’re not reminded of “Sexual Healing,” at least just a little bit. As the title suggests, “We Gon Love Tonight” is a sexy song about making love. Richardson’s smooth tenor is the best part, as he croons about doing some thangs with ice cream and honey. Pardon the cliché, but this really is grown folk’s music.

Listen at SoundCloud.

Marsha Ambrosius, “Run”

This is another sad love song, but when Marsha Ambrosius’s mellifluous voice is in command of singing the heartache, it’s hard not to listen. This is a deviation from her typically more sensual sounds, as she renders an emotional performance about the frustration of trying to escape the pain of a relationship that isn’t meant to be. This is that kind of pain where thoughts of past lovers persist even when you try to keep yourself busy. “Run” will be featured on her forthcoming sophomore album, Friends & Lovers, set for a summer release.

Flatbush Zombies ft. Diamonte, “Get Yours”

The Brooklyn MCs have released “Get Yours” as part of their #DayoftheDead series, where they release a weekly new song. The sinister-sounding track ironically features a thoughtful, reflective tone as the Flatbush crew opens with uplifting chants like “ladies know your worth” and “realize you are a goddess because there’s no us without you,” as the central theme of a song urging women (especially the “mamas who pregnant at 16 living off of welfare”) to keep their heads up. Diamonte’s shrill hooks at the end help drive the point home.

Watch the Duck (Hustle Gang Remix ft. T.I.), “Girlfriend??” 

The Atlanta “trap step” (as in dubstep meets the trap) trio teamed up with T.I. for the remix of “Girlfriend,” complete with a video. The song is about the machinations of a woman who is “tryin’-a keep his attention as a girlfriend.” The dub meets James Brown sound is laced with enough funk to keep your ears happy, and T.I.’s verse adds nice emphasis. The quirky video spoofs the hit TV show Cheaters, as said girlfriend goes out on a night of debauchery after being accused of infidelity, only for it to turn out that Cheaterz (their version of the show) followed the wrong woman.    

Their Anatidaephobia EP is available on iTunes now.

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