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Week In Review

The Week In R&B/Hip-Hop: Drake, Maxwell, Meek Mill & More

This week in R&B and rap featured a wide range to choose from: Maxwell returned from a seven-year hiatus, Drake served two plates (one fuller than the other) and ScHoolboy Q made a strong return. Here’s a recap of the most talked-about R&B/rap songs of the week.

1 / 7

Maxwell, “Lake By the Ocean”

We’ve been deprived of Maxwell’s sweet sounds for too long—so long that I’m still hesitant to believe today is true. Is “Lake By the Ocean” true? Indeed it is. The first single off blackSUMMERS’night–the followup to BLACKsummer’snight arriving on July 1– is what you’d expect from Maxwell: smooth and sensual, with his signature tenor painting a sonic portrait of being saved from darkness by love.

2 / 7

Chris Brown, “Fuck You Back to Sleep (Remix 2)”

Sex and R&B go hand-in-hand, and Chris Brown brings an overdose by recruiting MiguelTrey Songz and August Alsina for the second remix to “Fuck you back to Sleep.” It’s basically each of your favorite R&B singers telling you exactly what they’d do, and how they’d do it (which is what they do on any other song), but all at once. The first remix featured Usher and Zayn, and reportedly the third one will feature Bryson Tiller, Tyrese, and Tank.

3 / 7

Drake, “One Dance” (featuring Wizkid and Kyla)

“One Dance” grabs you immediately. The mid-tempo dancehall-infused production, courtesy of Nineteen85, incites wiggling, and the quotable lyrics are prepped for social media platforms. Drake does justice to Kyla’s “Do You Mind,” which he samples.

4 / 7

Drake, “Pop Style” (featuring The Throne)

Where are the rest of Jay Z’s lyrics? “They still out to get me, they don’t get it/ I can not be got, and that’s a given”… that’s it, that’s all of Jay Z’s verse.  When the song first dropped, many jokingly (but not jokingly) asked if the rest of Jay Z’s lyrics would be available on Tidal. (They’re not.)  Seeing this is the first time Kanye West and Jay Z have performed as The Throne since the release of their 2011 collaborative album Watch the Throne, perhaps my expectations were too high. “Pop Style” is a grower, not strong on the first impact, but the haunting production (by Boi-1da, 40, Frank Drukes and Sevn Thomas) lingers after a few listens. While “Pop Style” is filled with pop culture references (Channing Tatum, Justin Timberlake, MTV and perhaps a few subliminal shots at those who’ve shot at Drake recently, like Tory Lanez), the hook is the strongest part of the song.

5 / 7

Fantasia, “Ugly”

Fantasia gives country music a shot, and does it justice. I’m not surprised, seeing her vocals have always been on point, as they are again on her new “rock soul” single, “Ugly.” Songwriters Audra Mae and Nicolle Galyon pen the story of a young girl growing up too quickly–heartbreaking, but hopeful.

6 / 7

Meek Mill, “Trap Vibes”

Over Drake’s “Summer Sixteen” and Desiigner’s “Panda,” Meek Mill predictably raps about the fast life and throws subliminal shade: “How can n——s go against us? Cold pussies wouldn’t even shoot us.” Question is, will Drake fire back?

7 / 7

ScHoolboy Q, “Groovy Tony”

Top Dawg Entertainment’s Anthony “Top Dawg” Tiffith  wasn’t joking when he said his label TDE would be bringing heat this year. ScHoolboy Q returns as “Groovy Tony, No Face killah,” who roams the empty streets faceless, shooting at everything and everyone in sight. The menacing, gritty beat by Tae Beast only strengthens ScHoolboy’s raps of drug dealing and police injustice (“Punk ass cops, them crackers want us with our black off”).

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