Since the start of 2021, music releases have seemed to be a minor discussion. The year for music has definitely started off slow, partly due to the heightened political climate, and record label regulations performers have dealt with for nearly a year.
This slow music pace has kept up for the majority of the past two months. It is certain those months still have quality releases, but music’s first quarter has struggled.
March 5 was a big day for changing the narrative entirely, as multiple award-winning artists came out with new music. This weekend’s releases have already made a global impact on the charts. Here’s a look at the newest releases in the music world.
Drake – “Scary Hours 2”
Drake has been quiet since releasing his 2020 single “Laugh Now, Cry Later.” That warm August night was when it was announced Drake would be releasing his sixth studio album, Certified Lover Boy.
Since then, his line “Drizzy ‘bout to drop, the game is in disarray” has once again become fact. The only news we have heard from the Toronto artist was that he had torn his ACL and was going to rehab for it. Even the seemingly irrelevant news sent social media wild for a few days.
Now, the wait is over. The always-relevant Drake, fresh off recovery like a star athlete, hits the music field like Adrian Peterson in 2012. The first track is “What’s Next”, a fast-paced banger with Drake dealing two braggadocious verses, rapping “A boss is a role that I’ve grown into.”
Next is “Wants and Needs,” featuring a collaboration with Atlanta rapper Lil Baby. Each rapper trades verses, with Drake delivering a stand-out course filled with his trademark sensitivity and introspection. The Toronto MC lists everything on his mind, whether it be his friends, the millions yet to be made, and of course his love for multiple women.
For the final track, Drake teams up with the biggest boss, Wingstop-lover and longtime colleague Rick Ross for “Lemon Pepper Freestyle,” a stirring song that wholly exhibits why Drake and Ross are one of hip-hop’s most iconic unofficial duos.
Ross starts the track with his trademark cigar-smoking, mansion-dwelling swag. Along with this is a feeling of paranoia, titling himself the “Godfather with a garden full of snakes.” This does not slow high-level deals that define Ross’ life. Whether it’s trying to acquire the Atlanta Braves or simply counting his money after hours, Ross makes it clear it is still “M.O.B.”
Drake appears second, rapping for nearly four and a half minutes. This is the most focused he has sounded in any of his tracks, blending his successes with the hardships fame has brought. Making note of his gratitudes to Lil Wayne, his experiences being a father to Adonis, and his friendship with the crown princes of Dubai. The rapper effortlessly exhibits the exploits and banality of his lifestyle.
This reflection leads to him envisioning how it will be after he has passed. Spitting, “Air Canada Centre … when I die / Y’all gon’ have to fly in and do your fake cry / First couple rows, you gon’ see the real guys.” He leaves us with no doubt, Drake is locked in album mode.
Bruno Mars and Anderson .Paak as Silk Sonic – “Leave the Door Open”
People have a lot to look forward to in the future months. COVID-19 vaccination rates are rising, the weather is warming and Bruno Mars and Anderson .Paak have decided to combine their powers as “Silk Sonic.”
The two ultra-talented artists have a full collab album on the way. This Friday they gave listeners the first taste of what is to come with “Leave the Door Open.”
The final product sounds like something snatched from a time machine. “Leave the Door Open” is a beautiful song, dripping with swagger and an impeccable vibe.
.Paak provides the song’s two verses. His endless charisma is on full display, lacing each verse with silky vocals and a ton of personality.
Mars covers the chorus, singing out “I ain’t playin’ no games, every word that I say is coming straight from the heart.” His impassioned singing perfectly counters .Paak’s chill delivery, throwing in his own flair and aura.
It is hard to believe this is just the first song from an entire album they have together. The star entertainers are definitely bringing their A-game for this upcoming collaborative album.
Justin Bieber – “Hold On”
Another big release this weekend comes from Justin Bieber. “Hold On” is his second release of 2021.
The Canadian singer’s new song is a hopeful record. With one of the toughest years in history in his rearview, he reminds listeners of the fact there is always something to look forward to.
His chorus is the best example of this. Themes of reserve, forgiveness and understanding are all present as he energetically sings “I need you to hold on / Heaven is a place not too far away / We all know I should be the one / To say we all make mistakes/”
The song was accompanied by a music video where we see these lyrics applied especially literally. Justin’s love interest is diagnosed with cancer and with no money to help pay for treatment, he is pushed to extreme circumstances. In order to make some cash, he robs a bank.
“Hold On” showcases a heartfelt performance from Justin, crafting an optimistic tune which will somehow fit into the narrative of his upcoming album “Justice.”
G Herbo – “Really Like That” / “Break Yoself”
After his recent songs on the Judas and the Black Messiah album, G Herbo is back with two new bloodthirsty singles. With his standout performance on “Revolutionary” from the mentioned album, Herbo is off to a fast start in 2021.
With these two new singles, the drill rapper looks like he is out for blood.
The first single “Really Like That” is a maniacal beast of a track with Herbo starting his rap at the three-second mark. Backed by a Tay Keith beat bound to cause speeding tickets, G Herbo carries the aura of a coldblooded killer.
He immediately confronts listeners, rapping “Uh, sixteen I bought a strap / Seventeen too many guns, by eighteen I caught a case / They ain’t f—– with Tay Keith, but like Tay-K, I did the race.”
While in this lyrical onslaught, Herbo continuously ups the ruthlessness of his lyrics. Some examples include how he nicknamed one of his shooters after pharmaceuticals, the inevitable gunfight which will ensue if someone takes a grab at his watch, and his maternal link to murderers. Swervo reaches peak brutality with the line “Death be everywhere, I smell it in the air / When the oppers die, was you still outside? Hell yeah!”
On “Break Yourself,” we hear a much more mellow Herbo, who seems more interested in bragging to his competition than taking them out. He boasts about his successes, rapping “They say this and this / Hate, I’m pissy rich / I got mansions, cribs / Went through twenty whips, I bought six legit.”
Whether G Herbo is rolling through traffic like Obama or Money Mitch, it is clear he is untouchable. He wraps up the song with a final flash of callousness, leaving t-shirts looking like after-dinner mints and having alarmingly spirited killers.
With his turn on “Revolutionary” and now these two tracks, G Herbo seems set to treat 2021 like his opps.