Today, an estimated 60,000 songs are uploaded to Spotify daily. It’s easy to miss good music when there’s so much of it available. ICYMI is VIBE Staff Writer DeMicia Inman’s monthly roundup of singles, albums, EPs, and mixtapes that may have passed you by.
Amy Luciani – “Bag Lady”
Amy Luciani embodies the hustling spirit of her native Detroit on “Bag Lady,” where she runs down lessons she’s learned. With assistance from Bigga Rankin and production from Mob Glizzy, the ambitious track reminds listeners: “I got bi**hes mad lately, I ain’t been sad lately.”
“‘Bag Lady’ is a girl in grind mode,” explains the rapper in a press statement. “She’s the girl who’s in it to win and isn’t taking no for an answer. When you see a bag lady, you see the power and hustle that she carries and it makes you want to get up and chase success!”
Rico Nasty “Turn It Up”
Rico Nasty has issued her first solo track of the year “Turn It Up,” with production from frequent collaborators 100 Gecs. The DMV representative’s signature raspy tone sets the tone as the beat drops. The slick track signals the 25-year-old to take off—flexing on hating ho*s and ni**as who share clothes. True to Rico’s alternative, punk rap beginnings on Sugar Trap, “Turn It Up” hopefully sets the tone for her next project.
In an accompanying music video directed by Isaac Garcia, the visual solidifies Rico Nasty’s playful yet hardcore spirit. As she cleans a house in a flirtatious lingerie set, it is later revealed the homeowners are tied up in the basement.
Doe Boy And Dej Loaf – “Roll The Dice”
Doe Boy and Dej Loaf slow it down for the collaboration “Roll The Dice.” The Midwest linkup features both musicians leaning into a melodic delivery. The song details a complicated romance, plagued by drugs, alcohol, and opps. Still, the Cleveland rapper encourages his leading lady to “F**k around, roll the dice, might change your life.” The Detroit performer adds balance to the yearning song, offering her perspective on being willing to put the broken pieces back together. The track stands as Doe Boy’s first single of 2023 and is produced by Pooh Beatz and Go Grizzley.
Gloss Up – “Check” Feat. Sexxy Redd
Gloss Up tapped rising rapper Sexxy Redd for “Check” a fierce collaboration over a Black Surfer and Rvei beat. Together, the ladies are proud of being paid and “running through these ni**as,” in the process. The Memphis rapper leads in the chorus and the first verse confidently running down her demands and authentic assets.
Sexxy Redd follows up with her own bars, reminding listeners “You already know how I’m boming,” the St. Louis native continues to prove herself as more than a gimmick as her profile continues to rise.
femdot. – “Bobby Portis”
On “Bobby Portis,” femdot. demands respect and in under two minutes, proves why it would be wise. The GoldHaze-produced track stands as the first single off free samples vol. 1., the next anticipated release from the Chicago-based artist. The rapper effortlessly ties together his humble past and confident future with hard-hitting punchlines and seamless flow switches. Hopefully, “Bobby Portis” is a preview of what to expect from the full project.
MiLES – “Oxygen”
On “Oxygen,” MiLES introduces himself as a young artist on a journey of self-discovery through song. Released in April, the debut single from the Atlanta native showcases his songwriting skills and artistic abilities. Standing in his own truths, the 18-year-old looks inward and makes sure to be honest about his needs. Describing his sound as a “cool mix of funk, alternative, and R&B sounds, with hints of electronic music making an occasional appearance,” MiLES creates his own world and welcomes listeners in.
Jean Deaux – ‘HEAVY’
Led by the single “JD’s Revenge,” Jean Deaux issued the seven-track EP HEAVY, exploring a spectrum of themes through keen yet witty lyricism. The project features production from Saba, Juju the Fool, Prodxvzn, Sy & Nico, and Turbo. Showcasing the Chicago musician’s range, HEAVY incorporates singing, rapping, and a visual component: a scripted series written and directed by Jean Deaux.
Standout songs include “When I Dip,” “JD’s Revenge,” and “Zodiac Killa.”
SPINALL – ‘TOP BOY’
With features ranging from Asake and Tay Iwar to Summer Walker and 6LACK, Spinall’s Top Boy album curated a perfect 45-minute variety of sounds. Released in February, Spinall manages to include 26 artists across multiple genres without getting lost in direction. From R&B to Dancehall to Ampiano to Afropop and more, there are seductive lyrics, catchy rhythms, and feel-good affirmations tucked in across 15 songs.
“So what even is a top boy? A top boy is anyone who has beaten the odds and used the resources made available to them to get from point A to point B,” remarked Spinall in an interview about the album. “That’s who I am, and I feel like all the people that I have on the project as well. They’re genuinely passionate about music and they just give the best with the little resources they have. A lot of them are not signed to any majors… They’re doing this with a little at their disposal, and that’s what a top boy is,” he said.
Dreamer Isioma – ‘Princess Forever’
On Princess Forever, Dreamer Isioma fuses R&B with Afrobeats, pop, and Funk inspirations for a colorful display of raw emotion. The Nigerian musician also made their directorial debut with the video for “Gimme A Chance.” The visual brings to life the fantastical journey of its titular character whose alter ego liberates their people from an oppressive regime. Standout tracks from the 13 listed include “Touch Your Soul,” featuring Merlyn Wood, “F**k Tha World,” and “Venus Versus Mars.”
“Princess Forever was conceptualized post-transition as I began to truly embrace my femininity,” Isioma explained per HypeBeast. “These tracks take you through my journey of falling in love while unlearning cultural misogyny and fighting against political bullsh*t.”