Billboard’s First Stream serves as a handy guide to this Friday’s most essential releases — the key music that everyone will be talking about today, and that will be dominating playlists this weekend and beyond.
This week, Pharrell Williams tosses out another major collaboration, Nicki Minaj and Maluma headline a World Cup anthem, and Saweetie toasts to the single life. Check out all of this week’s First Stream picks below:
Pharrell Williams & Travis Scott, “Down In Atlanta”
In addition to producing tracks for artists ranging from Rosalía to Kendrick Lamar to Omar Apollo this year, Pharrell Williams also dropped “Cash In Cash Out,” a masterclass from 21 Savage and Tyler, The Creator with one of the most icy-cold beats of the year. Like “Cash In Cash Out,” new single “Down In Atlanta” finds Williams ceding the floor to a fellow superstar — in this case, Travis Scott, who mixes zonked-out warbling with tales of luxury and fills each line with his larger-than-life persona — while the multi-hyphenate focuses on making each drum-and-synth interaction tingle the listener’s senses.
Nicki Minaj, Maluma & Myriam Fares, “Tukoh Taka”
It’s World Cup season, and to celebrate the 2022 kickoff in Qatar, Nicki Minaj, Maluma and Myriam Fares have joined forces for a frenetic single that is the “Official FIFA Fan Festival Anthem” and sung in English, Spanish and Arabic. “Tukoh Taka” moves swiftly and tries to score efficiently: around the jittery hook, Minaj raps about a girl’s night out (with some soccer references tossed in for good measure), Maluma croons about scoring a goal in the 90th minute of play, and the beat throbs with the intensity of the tournament that the song is designed to celebrate.
Saweetie, The Single Life EP
Saweetie is winding up for a major 2023, but before this year comes to a close, the ascendant MC demonstrates the combination of her current star power and artistic potential on the six-song project The Single Life. The California native sounds collected and charismatic on tracks like “Don’t Say Nothin’” and “Bo$$ Chick,” but it’s “Handle My Truth” — on which she opens up about staying single over throwback, G-funk-informed production — that reminds us of the lyrical depth that Saweetie is capable of achieving in addition to hits like “Best Friend” and “My Type.”
Overlook Disturbed at your own risk: the long-running, multi-platinum hard rockers are still catering to genre fans as well as a large group of casual listeners who can’t get enough of their inventive pummel. Divisive, their eighth studio album, contains all the hallmarks of a Disturbed project — in addition to the head-banging material, there’s also an effective ballad, this time a team-up with Heart’s Ann Wilson titled “Don’t Tell Me” — and is also a blast to listen to, regardless of how down with the sickness you may be.
Brockhampton, The Family and TM
If new album The Family and surprise release TM represent the final works of the audacious hip-hop collective Brockhampton, who have been hinting at a going of separate ways for some time, then the group will have gone out with a creative bang: instead of getting lost in contemplation and wobbling toward new beginnings, Brockhampton uses both projects to get back to what made them captivating upon their breakthrough, from zany sing-alongs (the Nickelodeon homage “All That”) to R&B and dance riffs (“Man on the Moon,” which checks both boxes) to hardened bars about who they are and what they want to accomplish (the stirring coda “Brockhampton”). Safe to say that, no matter what happens next, Brockhampton’s music and character will endure.
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