Hip-hop is moving as quickly as ever. Luckily, we’re doing the work to compile the best singles of the past week and highlight them in one space for you. This week, Nicki Minaj dropped a triumvirate of freestyles to appease her Barbs fanbase, fanning the flames of controversy with some possible shots at her (ex?) partner-in-rhyme Drake.
Nicki Minaj — “Bust Down Barbiana,” “Barbie Drip,” “Barbie Going Bad”
There’s a lot to be said about Nicki Minaj’s antics, but it’s undeniable that she knows how to cause a stir. That’s what she did this week with three freestyles where she did her Barbie Ting over some of the hottest tracks of the moment. On Monday she dropped her own take on Lil Baby & Gunna’s “Drip” as well as “Barbie Going Bad,” her rendition of Drake and Meek Mill’s collaboration from Championships.
Nicki may have thrown a shot at Drake in her “Hard White” video, and followed up that moment up by rhyming, “Oh boy you my brother tried to end me dog,” which could be a reference to either Drake’s Meek Mill diss “Back To Back,” or the two reuniting. Whatever her intent was, it got the people talking as did her “Bust Down Barbiana” freestyle yesterday.
Earthgang Feat. Young Thug, “Proud Of U”
Three of the south’s most progressive artists linked up on “Proud Of U,” a track from Earthgang’s upcoming Mirrorland project. The spacey Venus-produced track shows the three artists singing affectionately about the objects of their desire.
Russ, “Missin You Crazy”
Russ gets a bad rap for his outspoken nature, but the guy has talent. He displayed that with a stripped-down version of “Missin You Crazy,” a song from his Zoo album. He released a video showing him in the process of recording the track, which more fully showcase his vocals over bare guitar strums.
G Herbo & Southside, Still Swervin
G Herbo and producer Southside doubled back on us with their Still Swervin collaboration album, which showcases Herbo’s Chicago street tales and luxury raps over another collection of thumping Southside bangers. Songs like “Sacrifice,” “Yerk 30,” and the coldhearted “Never Scared” with Juice WRLD show the rapper-producer duo in strong form. They can swerve as long as they want if it’s going to sound like this.
Nas, Fashawn, Ezri, “Apostles”
Mass Appeal records’ starting five collective of Stro, Ezri, Cantrell, 070 Phi and Fashawn released an eight song Starting Five, Vol. 1 EP, and one of the jewels of the compilation is “Apostles,” which features a verse from label head and rap icon Nas. He imbues the keyboard-driven, Statik Selektah-produced track with some poignant bars about how a “king is often alone, even in a crowded home he’s silent.” The starting five will be quite loud out on their North American Tour, which you can learn more about here.
Quando Rondo, “Gun Powder”
Burgeoning star Quando Rondo dropped off “Gun Powder” this week, a war-mongering track where he reflects on his hot boy lifestyle and lets us know “he got a drop on all the opps” over skittish 808s and organ play. The track is a strong example of the gritty, frontline perspective that’s making him the latest in a long line of southern trap heroes.
Days after calling his GOOD Music boss Kanye West “crazy,” Desiigner got back to his “Finesse,” a flashy track produced by TrackSmith that follows up Desiigner’s previous “RIICH” collaboration with Dave East.
Radamiz Feat. Tedy Andreas & History, “Save The Youth”
Brooklyn MC Radamiz is back with his latest single, the ambitiously-titled “Save The Youth.” The song is produced by Radamiz’ Mogul Club partner History, who also appears on the track with an energetic, tone changing verse. Radamiz tears through the opening of the track with a dense, rapid-fire verse, but still leaves enough wreck for Tedy Andreas and History to get off their bars over the mysterious, trap-driven production.