R&B/Hip-Hop Fresh Picks of the Week: J.P., Amanda Reifer, Cash Cobain, Doechii & More

June is finally hitting its stride, and with Juneteenth (June 19) and the BET Awards (June 30) on the horizon, the worlds of R&B and hip-hop are buzzing with excitement.

The past week in R&B/hip-hop has brought us major updates on highly anticipated new albums, as well as business moves that have left fans puzzled, amused, and angry. On Saturday (June 8), Megan Thee Stallion debuted the alternate artwork for her upcoming self-titled LP, which is slated to drop on June 28. The announcement came the same day the H-Town Hottie broke down in tears while performing “Cobra” on her Hot Girl Summer Tour in Tampa, FL; earlier that day, nefarious social media users circulated explicit AI-generated videos to resemble Megan’s likeness.

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On the flip side, Rihanna wore an “I’m Retired” shirt, sending her fans into a tailspin as they debated whether or not the “Diamonds” singer would ever drop another album.

For one of the week’s more amusing business deals, Nick Cannon insured his much-discussed “family jewels” for $10 million. It was a necessary reprieve from the debate Jay-Z spurred when Roc Nation announced their participation in a campaign to secure $300 million in scholarships for underprivileged kids to private and religious institutions, leaving hundreds of hurting public schools in the dust.

With Fresh PicksBillboard aims to highlight some of the best and most interesting new sounds across R&B and hip-hop — from BIA and JID‘s new late-’00s-esque banger to summery new singles from Amanda Reifer and Cash Cobain. Be sure to check out this week’s Fresh Picks in our Spotify playlist below.

J.P., “Bring ‘Em Here”

After bringing Milwaukee lowend to the national stage with his hit single “Bad Bitty,” J.P. has kept his foot firmly on the gas, offering up his new album, Coming Out Party. The new record primarily consists of more bite-sized “Bad Bitty”-esque bangers that combine J.P.’s soulful vocals and the rattling bass of Milwaukee lowend, but it’s “Bring ‘Em Here” that immediately stands out among the new joints.

“S–t, I remember being broke/ Had to ration all my s–t, n—as thought it was a joke/ But now they see me living/ And now they wanna ask me for my digits,” he muses in the intro, employing a rap-sung cadence that becomes the perfect framework for his later proclamations of being a “freak” who’s “tryna f–k you and a plus one.” Produced by Ibn Farmacia & Tombo, there’s a delicate guitar buried far in the background of the mix that picks up the markedly morose tone J.P. sings with across the sultry midtempo jam — and it’s that sonic quirk that makes the track one of the most interesting ones on the rising rapper’s new project.

BIA & JID, “Lights Out”

It’s already been a highly memorable June for BIA, and we’re only 10 days into the month. Sandwiched between dissing Cardi B and performing in her hometown at Game Two of the NBA Finals, BIA collaborated with JID for the first time on “Lights Out.” The StarGate-produced song landed on the Bad Boys: Ride or Die soundtrack, but packs more of a punch than typical digestible soundtrack music that can feel monotonous at times. The “Whole Lotta Money” rapper delivers a catchy hook and JID gets tagged in late for an assist, which finds him recalling T.I.’s “Top Back” anthem. “I got my top way back and my beat down low/ We put so much in the grind ’cause we was on the ground floor,” the Dreamville resident proclaims.

Amanda Reifer, “Colonize”

After picking up a pair of Grammy nominations thanks to her work on Kendrick Lamar’s Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers, Bajan singer-songwriter Amanda Reifer is stepping into her own spotlight. Built around a lift from fellow Bajan artist Rupee’s timeless “Tempted to Touch,” “Colonize” arrives as an evocative, sensual ode to remaining steadfast in your own existence and rejecting the imposition of outside ideals or expectations. “Aw, bless you, I ain’t saying I ain’t glad that I met you/ I ain’t saying what I’m saying just to vex you/ But you would mark territory if I let you,” she warns over Dahi’s shimmering dancehall-inflected beat. Fans who were immediately captivated by Reifer’s warm, alluring tone on “Die Hard,” will absolutely love the way her voice takes center stage on “Colonize.”

Doechii, “MPH”

The tension between the conscious and the commercial — which is much more complex than that binary suggests — is one of the longest-standing debates in hip-hop. With “MPH,” a high-octane continuation of the raucous dance and house-rooted hip-hop of her JT-assisted “Alter Ego,” Doechii offers a simple answer: “Yeah, I could give you the conscious s–t, but I’m too busy giving you c–t.” It’s really that simple. “MPH” finds Doechii combining camp, humor, and an irresistible just-short-of-bratty timbre to make a song that heralds her own greatness and, in turn, spurs listeners to revel in their own. She smartly anchors the song’s more quippy moments with a first verse that recalls her come-up story; “I tell you what it took to get me here, but I don’t think you really understand it/ Went from bitches trying to call me out my name, to calling my name in the stands,” she spits over the Deameanor-helmed beat.

Cash Cobain, “Rump Punch”

From “Fisherrr” to “Attitude” — “Grippy” not included — Cash Cobain has been taking his slizzy summer vibes from NYC to the world. “Rump Punch,” his latest addition to the “sexy drill” lexicon, finds the Bronx rapper-producer comparing his lady’s taste to the always-satisfying drink that is rum punch. “Hеnny got you bent, but I’ma bend you too/ If you got a man, we could bеnd the rules/ If I was your man, I’d be tender too/ If you really wanna bring a friend or two,” he spits in a fast-paced flow that matches the slightly sleazy vibe of his lyrics. Cash is aware that he’s a bit of a dog, and that’s why he’s flying through lyrics that acknowledge his indifference to pre-existing relationships. Then again, why would that be of any concern to someone who’s truly partaking in a slizzy summer?

Isaia Huron, “Circle”

When you aim for perfection, you discover that it’s a moving target. In a showcase of creative transparency, Isaia Huron’s “Circle” was left intentionally unfinished. The burgeoning R&B singer narrates the trials and tribulations of a certain woman in his life while showing off his vocal versatility which climbs to a falsetto. Icy piano keys kick off the 90-second sprint before a stark halftime switch to brooding drums with a pulsating bass reaching a crescendo along with an outro that feels like something out of the Frank Ocean playbook. “Circle” is the South Carolina singer-songwriter’s first single of 2024, and Huron has a project slated to arrive this summer.

Ski Mask the Slump God & Future, “Monsters Inc.”

Ski Mask the Slump God returned with his first project in three years, as the dark 11th Dimension hit streaming services. An early standout from his sophomore LP finds Ski facing off with Future on “Monsters Inc.” Just don’t expect any references to Mike Wazowski, Sully or any ties to the Pixar classic for that matter. Future does the early heavy-lifting and floats over the menacing ATL Jacob production, while the sniper admits he’s still got Jennifer Lopez on his wish list. “Real spill, I’m still goin’ after J. Lo, uh-huh/ Can’t go back on my word,” he raps. Pluto’s syrupy ad-libs serve as an interlude of sorts with Ski Mask taking the baton and his skittering rhymes bringing “Monsters Inc.” across the finish line. “Y’all n—-s just the benchwarmers, I can’t take you serious,” Ski spews.

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