December has arrived, the holiday season is soon approaching and your calendar is starting to fill up with notes, reminders, events and generally annoying things related to all of your various commitments that you are now regretting. “Where did November go,” you ask yourself. “Did any music even come out?” You only hear “Mo Bamba” and “Sicko Mode” at parties these days – are there even any other artists besides Travis Scott and Drake?
Music releases are becoming more and more frequent these days and it becomes increasingly difficult to keep up with everything dope so we have done you a huge favour. After hours and hours of empirical, science-based research, we have gone ahead and rounded up some of the best rap and R&B releases from November so you can catch up and make timely, appropriate requests at all your upcoming holiday parties. (Just kidding: please, never make requests).
Velow – “KEEMO” feat. Tre Wes
The first offering on our list comes from Toronto newcomer Velow. Accompanied by Tre Wes, the recent Remix Project graduate flows over bouncy, piano-lead Martin Sole production in a style reminiscent of the West Coast but foreign to Toronto. “KEEMO” is only the first track from Velow and a sure sign that there is more fire on the way.
Ariana Grande – “thank u, next”
Grande blew fans away when she dropped her single “thank u, next” following her split from Pete Davidson (and inspired the “one taught me” meme) but now the visual accompaniment has arrived featuring appearances from Jonathan Bennett (in his roles from Mean Girls), Victoria Monet, Troye Sivan, Kris Jenner and more. You just need to watch it.
smrtdeath – “yung disaster”
Another upbeat, guitar-heavy trap rock song from smrtdeath. The music video for this new track from the Winnipeg artist finds him playing the role of his alter-ego “Sethany” in a subtitled story about the perils of the music industry. After getting kicked out of a band (played by frequent collaborators teddybear and Hudson Alexander), smrtdeath finds himself in a new group that appears rad from the outside but reveals itself to be another byproduct of lame corporate influence.
JPEGMAFIA – “Puff Daddy”
2018 has been quite the year for both experimental rapper JPEGMAFIA and barebones trap producer Kenny Beats so this collaboration is a welcome surprise from the pair. Perhaps a more conventional release from Peggy, “Puff Daddy” is a noisy, upbeat track that sees the Baltimore rapper flexing about his rap skills over thick, distorted production.
Sean Leon – “DVP”
It has only been a few months since the release of his genre-bending Sean Leon (The Death Of) but multifaceted artist Sean Leon has returned with a new single named after the Don Valley Parkway highway in Toronto. While not as frustrating as driving the DVP, the Jack Rochon-produced single is a smooth ride for anyone sitting in traffic and looking for a mental escape.
Tommy Genesis – “Bad Boy”
This Bijan Amir-produced track from Tommy’s recent debut studio album sees the Vancouver rapper flowing over bouncy, Scott Storch-inspired production. “Bad Boy” is swaggy, full of attitude and a great display of Tommy’s abilities as a vocalist and rapper. Throw it back and dance to this one.
Earl Sweatshirt – “Cold Summers”
Earl Sweatshirt’s highly anticipated project “Some Rap Songs” has finally arrived and this track is one of the clear standouts from the 24-minute experimental album. Smooth, lo-fi production? Check. Clever, lyrical raps? Check. References to weed and baseball? Check. Do yourself a favour and listen.
Kaytranada – “Chances” feat. Shay Lia
This smooth, groovy release from Kaytranada (part of a two-song release through RCA Records) features Montreal vocalist Shay Lia. The two have previously collaborated on several records including Kaytranada’s standout album 99.9% and this new track is another welcome vibe from the duo. Check out the full release if you want to scoop up the instrumental version of this one.
Just John + Dom Dias – “Mirror (Fireworks)”
We first introduced you to Just John and Dom Dias via our premiere of their debut video and single, “Soundboi” and now the Toronto duo has returned with a new project featuring this heavy-hitter. “Mirrors (Fireworks)” appropriately samples audio of fireworks exploding and finds John blacking out in a storybook rhyme style, unlike anything the two have produced previously.
Normani – “Waves” feat. 6LACK
This atmospheric, emotional collaboration between former Fifth Harmony vocalist Normani and East Atlanta hitmaker 6LACK is a real treat for R&B fans (especially after just being treated to a full-length project from the latter). You can catch Normani opening up for select dates of Ariana Grande’s stadium tour in the new year.
KTOE – “Holy Ghost”
KTOE has been quietly building a name for himself through features and production for fellow Toronto rapper Jazz Cartier but he is now rolling out the red carpet for himself with his debut single, “Holy Ghost.” The self-produced track comes paired with a great music video featuring cameos from Ty Senoj, Unimerce, Jazz and more.
stwo – “You, World, or Myself” feat. Roy Woods
Roy Woods has experimented with a variety of genres since signing to OVO Sound back in 2015 but the Toronto artist has returned to spacey, crooning R&B on his new collaboration with Parisian producer stwo. Titled “You, World or Myself,” the emotive track features Woods reflecting on what drives him crazy and holding those long tones we all love.
Boy Pape – “Mollywhop”
We first heard about Boy Pape when he was announced as a special guest during Franceso Yates’ opening set on Justin Timberlake’s ‘Man of the Woods Tour’ but now the Toronto newcomer has arrived with a massive new single. Produced by Yates and appropriately titled “Mollywhop,” this track is likely to blow your speakers but we are still certifying it a “car banger.” Turn it up to 11 and enjoy.
Anuxsunamoon – “Lov3 Sp3ll”
This track from rising Toronto singer/songwriter Anuxsunamoon has been stuck in our heads and is an appropriate conclusion to this list. Receiving a lot of Spotify playlist love and appearing on 93.5 The Move’s Made in Toronto Takeover, “Lov3 Sp3ll” is a bouncy R&B vibe that will have you craving bae, Netflix and a plans-free weekend.