Gunna, Lil Jon, ScHoolboy Q, And More New Hip-Hop Releases For The Holiday Weekend

Today is Friday, which means there are a ton of new releases to look forward to from some of your favorite Hip-Hop artists. To help you unwind and enjoy the weekend, check out VIBE’s picks of songs and albums you should hear and add to your soundtrack of weekend festivities.

Gunna – “Bittersweet”

Young Stoner Life Records/ 300 Entertainment Inc., Gunna Music, LLC

Everyone wondered what Gunna’s next step would be after A Gift & A Curse. Though fans appreciated the vulnerability of the album—given he was seemingly estranged from his YSL compatriots and celebrated his success despite people called him a snitch—a lot of fans were ready to hear “fun Gunna.” His new single “Bittersweet” shows that he isn’t done discussing the harsh realities of his life. Over soft guitar strums and hi-hats, he croons about having love for a former friend despite them not being on the best terms.

His life isn’t easy, and as much as he sweetens it by spending money on luxurious items, it doesn’t heal the pain. This record is arguably more somber than anything on A Gift & A Curse; the production lulls listeners in to what should be a sonic crescendo, only to continue the very downtrodden sound. Regardless, it’s an enjoyable track and shows Gunna has the range to do more than people may want to reduce him to. – Armon Sadler

Lil JonTotal Meditation

Lil Jon 'Total Meditation' Cover Art

2024 Tiger Turn, LLC under exclusive license to BMG Rights Management (US) LLC

Lil Jon’s appearance alongside Usher during the Super Bowl LVIII Halftime Show was a pleasant surprise and brought the energy of Usher’s set to a crescendo. While Jon’s presence may have gotten fans in the mood for some new tunes from Jon, the ATL legend has gone a different route, instead delivering a guided meditation album that finds him tapping into his inner zen.

His first full-length release since his 2010 solo debut Crunk Rock, Total Meditation consists of eleven tracks in which Jon takes listeners on a journey through the depth of their inner thoughts with author and composer Kabir Sehgal. Topics like nature, anxiety, gratitude, grief, and breathing are touched upon on this refreshing collection from the King of Crunk. – Preezy Brown

ScHoolboy Q – “Yeern 101”

Schoolboy Q “Yeern 101” cover art

2024 Interscope Records (Top Dawg Entertainment)

ScHoolboy Q’s “Yeern 101” is a reminder of why his music is always welcome. Production-wise, it slightly blends EDM elements into a Hip-Hop arena allowing the Carson, Calif. rapper to deliver high-energy bars. It almost mirrors his 2019 record “Numb Numb Juice,” but the sonics are a bit darker, more along the vein of Kanye West’s “Love Lockdown.”

Either way, it’s a different sound in a Hip-Hop space that’s sometimes too confined to its constant subgenres. Q sounds great here, spitting with a hunger and aggression that makes anticipation for his forthcoming album even higher. “Yeern 101” is a victory. – AS


Yeat ‘2093’ cover art

2024 Field Trip Recordings/Capitol Records

Yeat’s 2093 is an enjoyable salad bowl of modern rap’s many elements. The project leans toward the alternative type of music Playboi Carti makes and utilizes his myriad of vocal inflections with the DNA of rock and EDM in the production. “Stand On It” by Future shows off good chemistry between the superstar and rising act and features a strong Hendrix verse. “Lyfestylë” featuring Lil Wayne is another reminder that Weezy F Baby can literally rap on anything, but Yeat is no slouch on the track.

It feels lame to critique the album for being too long at 22 songs, but there isn’t enough variation to make the hour and ten-minute runtime worth it. Still, there are really good records here, like “Familia” and “ILUV.” A solid effort all around from someone who has a bright future. – AS

Polo G – “Sorrys And Ferraris”

Polo G “Sorrys & Ferraris” cover art

2024 Columbia Records, a Division of Sony Music Entertainment

Polo G’s “Sorrys & Ferraris” sounds like many songs that he has made in the past. There isn’t any variation production-wise, vocally, or with his flow. The song isn’t bad, but it’s hard to have any repeat value when there isn’t anything that sets it apart. Similar drum patterns, guitar use, cadences, and even hook structures make this underwhelming and a bit of a bore.

Polo G is talented and has a lot of potential, but it would be dishonest to say he has elevated since his last major campaign in 2020. If he truly wants apologies and gifted cars from people, he’s got to give them a reason to bite their words. – AS

Money ManPurple Heart

Money Man 'Purple Heart' Cover Art

2024 Black Circle / EMPIRE

Money Man provides another collection of musical tomes geared towards the entrepreneurial sect with Purple Heart, the Atlanta rapper’s first offering of 2024. Picking up where his previous release (Croptober) left off, Purple Heart finds the crypto king sticking to his tried-and-true formula of stunting and dropping game over trunk-rattling beats.

On “Staying Fly,” Money Man lays out his rules of engagement amid vows to protect his empire and the trappings within before ramping up the tempo on “Cover Up,” a pulsating thumper tailor-made for the club scene or the whip. Catching fire on the second half of Purple Heart, Money Man goes on a streak with the highlights “That’s Easy,” “Turnt” featuring Moneybagg Yo, “Pick What You Want,” “I’m The One,” and “Love In The Booth.” – PB

Stalley Feat. Kevin Durant – “Scared Money”

Stalley ft. Kevin Durant “Scared Money” cover art

2024 Blue Collar Gang

On the surface, Stalley’s “Scared Money” featuring Kevin Durant is a brilliant idea. A single in 2024 featuring Kevin Durant brings a lot of eyes, especially since some people still don’t know that he raps. Plus, this is his first official feature since 2014. The record’s production is strong, leaning into a ’90s backpack aesthetic. Stalley sounds good on the track, sticking within the pockets and having great synergy with the production.

KD gets some solid bars off, too, likening himself to the Freddy Krueger and Jason Voorhees of the NBA. Overall, this is far from a hit but a good business decision that will generate listeners off of sheer curiosity. It will be interesting to see the reception and who else ends up calling on the two-time NBA champion for a verse. – AS

Lola Brooke Feat. 41 – “Becky”

Lola Brooke Feat. 41

Arista Records

Lola Brooke enlists fellow Brooklynites 41 for “Becky,” the raptress’ latest single. Accompanied by a music video co-directed by STARR MAZi and Lola herself, “Becky” is an aggressive, yet playful jam that finds the “Don’t Play With It” creator and her cohorts in a lusty mood. Produced by Sharif “Reefa” Slater and Johnny Brav0, “Becky” continues Brooke’s incessant string of releases, as she builds upon the buzz built from her aforementioned breakout single, as well as her debut studio Dennis Daughter. – PB

!Mayday!The Thinnest Line, Pt. 3

!Mayday! 'The Thinnest Line, Pt. 3

2024 Mayday Music LLC

After more than a decade spent with Tech N9ne and Strange Music, !Mayday! are forging out on their own. Having revived their dormant !Mayday! Music label, Bernz, Wrekonize, and NonMS present The Thinnest Line, Pt. 3, the trio’s first release under their new indie venture.

The change in scenery hasn’t affected !Mayday! for the worst, as the group sound as comfortable as ever on the EP’s seven tracks, with the opening number “Hate To Love You” pairing live instrumentation with Bernz and Wrekonize’s couplets.

Acoustic riffs and percussion comprise the soundbed of “Warning Signs,” a cautionary groove touching on knowing ones limits and avoiding life’s speedbumps. “Hit My Line” captures the Floridians in a state of yearning, rounding out a strong return from the group. – PB

Brother Ali – “Ottomans”

Brother Ali

2024 Travelers Media LLC

Reporting live from Instanbul, Brother Ali throws his listenership a bone with “Ottomans,” the first single from the veteran’s forthcoming album and animated film Love & Service. Flowing over a breezy instrumental, the Minneapolis rep touches on generational pain and grief amid contemplative couplets and boasts of his otherworldly rhyme skills.

“I ain’t drop a dollar on my doctorate/ I prolly got a scholarship,” he muses on the opening verse, as a vocal sample urges one to know thyself, before tacking on an additional stanza that finds him sauntering over the track with the nimbleness of a trapeze artist. More than two years removed from a proper full length release from Brother Ali, “Ottomman” ends rhymer’s sabbatical and gives his musical disciples a taste of what they have to look forward to upon Love & Service‘s arrival. – PB