Must Listen, New Music: Week 11

My must-listen list of music containing singles and albums released between July 4th and July 10th, some which specifically reference the systematic racism and continued Black Lives Matter protests which have occurred and continue to occur across the world.


For the first portion of Week 11, it will be structured like the previous 3 weeks (Must Listen, New Music: Week 6 #BLM, Must Listen, New Music: Week 7 #BLM, Must Listen, New Music: Week 8 #BLM, Must Listen, New Music: Week 9 #BLM). In order to properly support and fight for those experiencing racial injustices, we must first understand the situation from their perspective and then confront the racial injustices that they face — each and every time they happen. The protests that started during Week 5 are continuing across the country in Week 11, despite the media’s lack of sufficient coverage of the events. We need to keep the attention on the racial injustices that continue to occur across the globe, just as these artists are continuing to do.

Salaam Remi, Black On Purpose (with Black Thought, Syleena Johnson, CeeLo Green, Anthony Hamilton, Stephen Marley)- “Is It Because I’m Black”

Syleena Johnson, Grammy-nominated artist whose father Syl Johnson wrote the original record in 1969, took to Instagram to announce the remake: “This project reminds me of why I do what I do. It reminds me of why my voice and the voice of my people matters, why our lives matter. My father wrote this record in 1969 and his good friend Donny Hathaway arranged it with him. It was on his album that was shelved by the record label because it was viewed as “too controversial”. Now 50 years later, these issues are still very relevant, and plaguing our nation. STILL no justice, STILL no peace. I am so honored to be on this remake of my dad with the amazing talent […] in the name of our beloved sister Sandra Bland and all of our fallen angels who have died by the hands of police brutality, racism, and gun violence. We are all in this together and when their families and friends hurt WE ALL HURT. We ask ourselves, Is it because we are black? The answer is…YES.”

"The dark-brown shade of my skin
Only adds color to my tears
That splash against my hollow bones 
That rocks my soul
Looking back at my false dreams that I once knew 
Wondering why all my dreams never came true
Ooh! Is it because I'm black?
Somebody tell me, what can I do
Oh something's holding me back
I wonder, is it because I'm black?

In this world of no pity
I was raised in the ghetto city
You said, Momma, she worked so hard 
To earn every penny
Oh Lord, something's holding me back
Is it because I'm black?
Like a child stealing his first piece of candy, and get caught
Thieving around life's corner somewhere I got lost
Oh, something's holding me back
I wonder, is it because I'm black?
Somebody tell me what can I do 
Will I survive, or will I die?
Oh it keeps on holding me back
Is it because I'm black?"

[ ℗ 2020 Louder Than Life Records. ]

Black Thought- “Thought Vs Everybody”

"Kaepernick is an activist, y'all in fear of the kneeler
Everything's obtuse, nothin' is obscene 
Another young life was lost on live stream
Another great fell from grace in high esteem
Then the clock struck thirteen, we in some kind of dream"
"My hands against the wall outside a billiards hall 
I hear police discussin' whether to try and kill us all
I questioned if that would matter 
Life is like a tree that falls in the woods
Even with iPhone footage to see it fall"
"I feel the fuckin' system failed just like kidneys
Up steps the one who upsets all carriages
'Cause it's imperative we change the narrative"

[ ℗ 2020 Passyunk Productions. ]

Bon Jovi- “American Reckoning”

"America's on fire
There's protests in the street
Her conscience has been looted
And her soul is under siege 
Another mother's crying, as history repeats
I can't breathe

God damn those 8 long minutes
Lying face down in cuffs on the ground
Bystanders pleaded for mercy 
As one, cop shoved a kid in the crowd
When did a judge and a jury 
Become a badge and a knee 
On these streets?

Stay alive, stay alive
Shine a light, stay alive 
Use your voice and you remember me 
American reckoning 

I'll never know what it's like
To walk a mile in his shoes
And I'll never have to have the talk 
So it don't happen to you
Three little words written 'cross the chest 
Of a twelve year old who hasn't lived life yet
'Am I next? Am I next?'"
"Is this a moment or movement?
Is this the side or a flood?
Is our American reckoning?
Our story written in blood
Or in love
Or in peace"

[ ℗ 2020 Captain Kidd Corp., under exclusive license to Island Records, a division of UMG Recordings, Inc. ]

More New Music

Bazzi- “I Don’t Think I’m Okay”

Bazzi’s successful career as a recording artist so far has been heavily rooted in blending RnB and pop sounds to create frequently intimate love songs, including his 2 most listened songs to date “Mine and “Beautiful“, both from his 2018 debut album Cosmic. However, for his most recent release this year (following “I Got You“, “Young & Alive” and “Renee’s Song“) Bazzi is getting deeply honest and raw about his personal struggles with mental health, and the heartbreaking ways that his mental health is affecting those around him. Just as the title for the track reads, he’s finally admitting that everything isn’t okay. He also reassures himself that it’s okay not to be okay, bringing him a sense of relief. The sheer vulnerability Bazzi radiates in this beautiful track is deeply cathartic, relatable, and reassuring for so many.

[ ℗ 2020 iamcosmic/Atlantic Recording Corporation, ℗ 2020 Artist Partner Group, Inc. ]

Quinn XCII- A Letter To My Younger Self

Quinn XCII is back for his consistent, yearly album release. For A Letter To My Younger Self, Quinn XCII covers stories of young love (including “Stacy”, “Sleep While I Drive”, “More Than Friends”) and heartbreak (including “Coffee”, “Mad At Me”), as well as dealing with [and eventually coming to terms with] regret and self-doubt (including “Second Time Around”, “Notice Me”, “A Letter To My Younger Self”, “More Than Friends”, “Everything I Need”).

[ ℗ 2020 Columbia Records, a Division of Sony Music Entertainment. ]

Juice WRLD- Legends Never Die

Jarad Anthony Higgins, known to the world as Juice WRLD, became one of modern day hip hop’s most prominent names, blending sounds of hip hop, R&B, and rock on top of echoing melodic production, at the young age of just 21. He tragically passed away from an accidental overdose in December of last year. At the time of his passing, Juice WRLD had 3 singles in the Hot 100 and both of his previous LPs reached the Top 100 on the Billboard 200 list, and is currently ranked 29th in Spotify’s top monthly listeners list.

Legends Never Die is Juice WRLD’s posthumous album, composed of work he had completed prior to his passing. The late artist’s team took to his official Instagram prior to the album’s release featuring the caption: “This Friday we will be honoring the life and art of Juice WRLD by releasing his album, ‘Legends Never Die’. We feel that this collection of 15 songs best represents the music Juice was in the process of creating. The album shines a light on the collaborations that meant so much to Juice and deeply impacted his musical process. Juice dedicated his music to his fans and, now more than ever, we hope this album brings some reprieve to everyone during these unsettling times. Please join us in celebrating Juice’s life by enjoying this album. Juice’s legacy will live forever, LEGENDS NEVER DIE!” The album covers his very personal struggles with addiction, mental health, and fame, as well as his experience falling in love.

Tissue warning: I cried multiple times while listening to this album all the way through for the first time, so I’d grab some tissues. This is especially relevant advice for those of you who are avid fans of Juice, as the album features numerous audio clips of Juice addressing his fans. You’ll especially understand the tissue warning once you reach the album’s spoken outro. 999, always… legends never die.

[ ℗ 2020 Grade A Productions, LLC, under exclusive license to Interscope Records. ]

Honorable Mentions:

Amine (feat Young Thug) – “Compensating” (single)

Christian French- “make or break up” (single)

Tiwa Savage – “Dangerous Love” (single)

MK xyz (feat G-Eazy) – “Pass It” (single)

Deacon (feat Nina Nesbitt) – “Long Run” (single)

Terrace Martin, Robert Grasper, 9th Wonder – Dinner Party (album)

Emilee – “Hide” (single)

Patrick Droney – “Passerby” (single)

Picture This – “Unconditional” (single)

Desiigner – “Hate Me Now” (single/freestyle)

Tainy, J Balvin – “Agua” [Music from “Sponge On The Run” Movie] (single)

Baby Rose – Golden Hour (EP)

RAYE – “Natalie Don’t” (single)

Snoh Aalegra – “DYING 4 YOUR LOVE” (single)

beaux – “Look How We Started” (single)

Spencer Barnett – “eta” (single)

Nightly- “not like you” (single)

Jacob Collier (feat Rapsody) – “He Won’t Hold You” (single)

Lute – “Life” (single)

GOLDN – “143” (single)

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