Rakim Checks The Melody, GloRilla Rejoices, Ice Spice Flaunts Her Favorite Asset, And More Hip-Hop Releases

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.

Rakim Featuring Kurupt and Masta Killa – “Be Ill”

2024 Holy Toledo Productions / Compound Interest

The godfather and standard bearer of modern rap lyricism, Rakim steps forth with his new single, “Be Ill,” the first release in anticipation of G.O.D.s’ Network (Reb7rth), the legend’s forthcoming album and first in nearly 15 years. Produced by Rakim himself, the backing track features vocal scratches and thumping percussion, making it literally tailor-made for the R to drop spellbinding, yet clever musings over.

“A fashion dripper, Carhartt, Timberland’s/ Contests, ops flop, I stomp from gimmickless,” he begins his verse, conjuring an image of the man he always aspired to be. Almost 40 years removed from his debut, the New Yorker marvels at his staying power, harkening back to the creation of his signature cut “My Melody” and taking stock of his legacy and longevity.

Featuring guest appearances by Kurupt and Masta Killa, “Be Ill” finds Rakim in prime shape, as the originator reminds listeners that it’s never a question if he’s capable of burning down booths, but only if he’s ready or willing. And according to his latest drop, it appears that time is now. – Preezy Brown

GloRilla – “TGIF”

GloRilla is locked into a different zone right now. “TGIF” oozes confidence and composure. Her delivery is passionate, but the production isn’t overwhelming. It doubles as a song people can turn up to, but also as cinematic music that one would hear when a crew walks into a venue.

Big Glo raps about having her “nails done, hair done, everything did” and taking people’s men. This feels like a heat check after the success of “Yeah Glo!” and “Wanna Be” with Megan Thee Stallion. And if that is the case, she cashed in another jump shot. Thank God it’s Friday indeed. – Armon Sadler

Ice Spice – “Phat Butt”

Ice Spice “Phat Butt” cover art

2024 Dolo Entertainment, Inc., under exclusive license to UMG Recordings, Inc. & 10K Projects, LLC.

Ice Spice’s “Phat Butt” is a better offering than “Think U The Sh*t” and “Gimmie Da Light” but there are still some valid qualms. She tests out different productions and a different flow, which was refreshing to hear. Still, her verses sink due to basic songwriting and repetitive lines.

She continues to boost herself for not using a ghostwriter, but the lines that precede and follow the claim don’t necessarily make her alleged lack of help a good thing. This is the best song the Bronx star has released leading into her debut album Y2K, but it doesn’t contribute to any expectation that the album will blow people away. – AS

Mustard & Travis Scott – “Parking Lot”

 Mustard & Travis Scott “Parking Lot” cover art

2024 10 Summers Records, Inc. under exclusive license to BMG Rights Management (US) LLC

Mustard’s “Parking Lot” is the clash of two diametric concepts: elite Mustard production and empty Travis Scott verses. If this song were an instrumental, it would be easy to play on repeat. The Los Angeles producer laces the beat with a beautiful soul sample and West Coast bounce that is impossible to not bop to.

However, the Houston rapper does not carry his weight in creating memorable lines or even a “vibe” that is worth catching. It’s understandable to lead into an album with a Travis Scott feature due to the visibility he brings, but several better candidates could have fit this sound better. – AS

Key Glock – “Big Big Money”

Key Glock

2024 Paper Route EMPIRE

Key Glock refuses to rest on the laurels of his smash 2023 project Glockoma 2, as he’s spent the first half of 2024 on a tear. Unleashing a string of high-powered singles that’ve only caused salivation for his next set, the Memphis titan pulls out the bankrolls on his latest loosie, “Big Big Money,” a boastful cut with bombast to spare.

Sauntering over a booming beat, Glizzock makes his priorities clear from the outset, rapping, “Money on my mind, what the f**k you thought/ Hopping out that Maybach truck, my pockets on RIck Ross,” bragging that the price of his jewelry is equivalent to a luxury truck. Detailing the trappings of his wealth, Key Glock concocts another anthem for the big spenders and guap-getters. – PB

Idk & Gunna – “Tiffany”

Idk & Gunna “Tiffany” cover art

2024 Clue No Clue

IDK and Gunna have solid chemistry on “Tiffany.” The track is a mid-tempo baddie anthem all about spoiling the women in their lives and you can’t really go wrong with a concept like that. There’s a nice yin and yang with their vocal pitches as well; IDK is a bit more brooding and smooth while Gunna is higher pitched and emotive.

The track is disappointingly short at just under two and a half minutes, but they get in and do the job. It’s been fun to see Gunna making his rounds and working with artists he didn’t normally work with before the YSL RICO case. It’s also nice to see them embracing him despite the narratives and perceptions. – AS

Hulvey Featuring Ciara – “Altar (Remix)”

Georgia rapper Hulvey looks to build on the momentum of his biggest release to date, “Altar,” with a revamped version of the Forrest Frank-assisted original, this time with R&B star Ciara lending her vocal presence to the track.

Steeped in the faithful ethos that defines Hulvey’s music, the remix only ups the ante of its predecessors, as Hulvey’s melodic rhyme spills mesh effortlessly with CiCi’s own performance, resulting in a jam that’s primed to touch souls and rock playlists.

According to Hulvey, the decision to team up with Ciara was an enthralling experience he hopes will only bring more eyes and ears to his music and mission.

“Working with Ciara on this has been incredible. She’s been so humble throughout the process and I’m beyond grateful to share this moment with her,” Hulvey said of the hitmaker. “My hope is that it reaches people who are searching for purpose and hope.” – PB

ShaqShaq Pack

2024 Jersey Legends Productions

Once upon a time, Shaquille O’Neal was a platinum-selling rap artist, a period that saw him working with some of the greatest emcees to ever clutch a mic. Aside from engaging in the occasional rhyme war with current athletes that have followed in his footsteps, and making random appearances on records, Shaq largely refrains from reliving that glory.

However, the Big Diesel gives listeners new and old a blast from the past with SHAQ Pack, a two-track affair that includes songs seemingly recorded during the late ’90s and early 2000s. Featuring guest verses from Mobb Deep, DJ Quik, Lord Tariq, and Peter Gunz, SHAQ Pack is a friendly reminder of what once was and presents two previously unreleased tracks that find the NBA legend hitting on all cylinders. – PB

6LACK – “F**k The Rap Game”

6LACK “F**k The Rap Game” cover art

2024 LVRN/Interscope Records

6LACK shows off his rapping ability often, but never to this degree. “F**k The Rap Game” is his open confessional about how he isn’t consumed with the glamour and luxury of the music industry but rather his growth and progression. The track is extremely downtempo and layered with instrumentals, which is ideal for his poetic delivery.

He switches from his real-life voice to an autotune delivery, but the messaging is all the same. The Atlanta talent isn’t bound by the politics, rat race, and constructs of how rappers are expected to move. It is one of the best things about him; his authenticity has been the same from his debut until now. – AS

PRICE Featuring Kota the Friend, Bas – “ON THE RUN”

Kota the Friend

2024 CLRD ENT / Rostrum Records

PRICE resumes his stride with “ON THE RUN,” the Los Angeles native’s new offering that captures him casting an uplifting vibe over quaint piano keys and searing synths. “I’m on the run, air in my lungs, getting my wind/ Said I was done, all that I done, did it again,” PRICE declares on the hook before rolling off a stanza exuding resilience and triumph.

Joined by costars Kota the Friend and Bas, PRICE delivers an inspiring composition with “ON THE RUN,” the latest in a list of applaudable collaborative efforts from the Rostrum Records signee. – PB

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G-Eazy 'Freak Show' Album Cover

2024 RCA Records, under exclusive license from G-Eazy LLC

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22GZ 'Brooklyn's Most Wanted' Album Cover

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2024 Your Old Droog

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2024 SWARM & AfterLyfe Records

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Esham 'Amuse-Bouche' Album Cover

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