R&B/Hip-Hop Fresh Picks of the Week: Usher and H.E.R., Nicki Minaj, Q Da Fool & More (2024)

Listen to new must-hear songs from emerging R&B/hip-hop artists like SXPMA, Buddy and RealrichIzzo.

As per usual, it’s been a busy week in the world of hip-hop and R&B. In the first full week of December, myriad artists got their announcements and releases out to avoid the Christmas lockdown in the coming weeks. On Sunday (Dec. 10), SZA celebrated the one-year anniversary of her blockbuster SOS album with the announcement of LANA, the forthcoming deluxe version of her nine-time Grammy-nominated sophom*ore studio album. Of course, the weekend’s most high-profile release was from none other than Nicki Minaj, who unleashed her long-awaited Pink Friday 2 — her fifth studio album and sequel to her 2010 Billboard 200-topping debut LP — on her birthday, Dec. 8.


Nicki Minaj Announces Pink Friday 2 World Tour: See theDates12/11/2023

Elsewhere in the hip-hop and R&B worlds, Cardi B confirmed that she is no longer with Offset, 2 Chainz is thankfully in stable condition after landing in an unfortunate car accident, and Will Smith rocked the house at the star-studded A Grammy Salute to 50 Years of Hip-Hop telecast.

Trending on Billboard

WithFresh Picks,Billboardaims to highlight some of the best and most interesting new sounds across R&B and hip-hop. From Tokischa and Sexyy Red’s cross-genre collaboration to Usher and H.E.R.’s stunning Color Purple duet, get into these seven new picks and be sure to check out the rest of our recs in the Spotify playlist below.

Freshest Find: Usher & H.E.R., “Risk It All”

As the highly anticipated Color Purple movie musical draws nearer, the promotion for the flick’s two related soundtracks is kicking into high gear. Usher and H.E.R. started off the weekend — which ended in a pair of Golden Globe nods for lead actress Fantasia Barrino and supporting actress Danielle Brooks — with the release of “Risk It All,” their gorgeous new duet for The Color Purple (Music From and Inspired By), due Dec. 15. Co-written by Oscar winners H.E.R. and Jimmy Napes, Usher and the “Damage” singer harmonize beautifully across the ethereal piano-backed arrangement. “People are cryin’ for it, people are dyin’ for it/ Always the reason we still believe it/ Somethin’ that leaves us hurtin’ is worth it,” the pair croon.

Tokischa feat. Sexyy Red, “Daddy”

How do you cap off a breakout year that found you opening up for Drake and collaborating with Nicki Minaj? With an infectious cross-genre collaboration, of course! For the latest release in her string of fiery collaborations, Sexyy Red links up with Latin Grammy-nominated Dominican rapper Toksicha, for a sultry, sex-positive reggaeton-meets-house number that plays around with gender in the realm of kink. Across the thumping Yeti Beats- and El Guincho-helmed beat, Tokischa assumes the role of Sexyy’s sugar daddy as they trade hilarious verses, including some tongue-in-cheek bilingual lines from the “Pound Town” rapper herself.

Nicki Minaj, “Fallin 4 U”

Of course, the Queen scores herself a slot on this week’s round-up. Her gargantuan Pink Friday 2 LP — 22 tracks and counting — features several tracks for every side of her musical personality, but most pale in comparison to “Fallin 4 U.” Placed several songs deep into the album, “Fallin 4 U” is, in many ways, the defining synthesis of Minaj’s creative hallmark. There are her impassioned, high-octane, wordplay-laden bars, emotional Auto-Tuned ad-libs and hooks, a penchant for both the introspective and the braggadocious (often at the same time), and a healthy dose of melodrama via those background strings. If there’s any track on Pink Friday 2 that truly makes the album feel like a descendant of its predecessor, it’s this one.

SXMPRA feat. Juicy J, “Business Man”

New Zealand rapper SXMPRA combines his ominous underground phonk sound with that of ’90s Memphis rap pioneer Juicy J on the hard-hitting “Business Man.” The pair trade punchline-packed verses asserting their dominance at break-neck speed. “Stand and fight/ Folding chairs and/ Throwing them hands/ Would’ve been the best time of my life,” quips Juicy. The collaboration features production from Juicy J and HitKidd, who put out his own Renegade album this week.

James Fauntleroy, “Sleigh”

Holiday music seems to be a genre that knows no bounds given how its consumption only increases with each passing year. Four-time Grammy-winning singer-songwriter James Fauntleroy took a daring stab at holiday originals by making his debut studio LP a Christmas album. A compilation of two previous holiday EPs featuring ten tracks, The Warmest Winter Ever is chock-full of steamy between-the-sheets anthems for the Christmas season. “Sleigh,” is one of the album’s instant standouts, with its waterfall of layered harmonies and cheeky Beyoncé shoutout: “She gon’ sleigh like Beyoncé.”

Tems, “Not An Angel”

For her latest release, Tems subverts the gospel-bent of her preceding “Me & U” single and opts for a rhythmic take on Biblical imagery, rejecting the role of being an “angel” or “savior” for someone who isn’t quite yet ready to be saved. “‘Cause I’m not an angel/ I’m just a girl that knows the truth/ And I couldn’t save you/ You couldn’t see what I’ve been through,” she croons sorrowfully over the Sarz co-produced Afrosoul beat.

Q Da Fool feat. Ot7 Quanny, “Rich Droppaz”

It’s a bit ironic that a link-up between a DMV rapper and a Philly rapper sounds so far removed from the dominant contemporary sound of either region, but it undoubtedly makes for a banger of a record. A slinking street anthem that coasts on both the duo’s chemistry and their individual charisma, “Rich Droppaz” finds the pairs trading hilarious bars like, “Yeah, I love the money, go me boo’d up/ I can’t do no Ella Mai, I ain’t ‘Boo’d Up.'” Unassuming but still urgent, “Rich Droppaz” is a promising lead into Q Da Fool’s forthcoming Art of Ambition album.

Get weekly rundowns straight to your inbox

Sign Up

Want to know what everyone in the music business is talking about?

Get in the know on

Visit Billboard Pro for music business news
R&B/Hip-Hop Fresh Picks of the Week: Usher and H.E.R., Nicki Minaj, Q Da Fool & More (2024)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Jeremiah Abshire

Last Updated:

Views: 5543

Rating: 4.3 / 5 (54 voted)

Reviews: 93% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Jeremiah Abshire

Birthday: 1993-09-14

Address: Apt. 425 92748 Jannie Centers, Port Nikitaville, VT 82110

Phone: +8096210939894

Job: Lead Healthcare Manager

Hobby: Watching movies, Watching movies, Knapping, LARPing, Coffee roasting, Lacemaking, Gaming

Introduction: My name is Jeremiah Abshire, I am a outstanding, kind, clever, hilarious, curious, hilarious, outstanding person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.