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toggle caption Julian Burgueno/Courtesy of the artist

Young Nudy's "Blue Cheese Salad" is a smooth, slimey addition to his steadfast sleeper hits.

Julian Burgueno/Courtesy of the artist

I don't know how or when it happened, but it's really March, y'all. That means it's time to wipe the crust out of your eyes (with a tissue) and flip the switch from autopilot. The winter thaw is coming and Q2 is well on its way.

Don't fool yourself by confusing cozy with complacent. With angsty, urgent new tracks from Young Nudy, Kenny Mason and Diana Gordon dropping, there's no shortage of electrified one-lines to bulldoze past your procrastination and put that battery in your back. Lianne La Havas compels you take flight and if you're ever in doubt of Drake's magnetism, he'll be sure to casually remind you how he got to the top of the rap food chain.

As usual, enjoy this week's Heat Check playlist update via Spotify and Apple Music.


Kenny Mason, "Metal Wings"

After poppin' off in 2019 with the jovial story of accidental come-up "Hit," Kenny Mason's "Metal Wings" shows a jarring, new side to the bubbling talent.

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G Herbo, "PTSD (feat. Juice WRLD, Chance The Rapper, Lil Uzi Vert)"

Whether it's internalized, inherited or subconsciously secondhand, the invisible river of grief and PTSD runs through most communities that birth rap.

G Herbo processes his own trauma and assembles some Chicago cohorts (Chance takes the second verse while the late Juice WRLD handles a numb and grungy chorus) along with Philly rager Lil Uzi Vert to get the message across from multiple points of view.

YouTube

Kamaiyah, "Pressure"

Four years after turning the game on its head with her debut tape, A Good Night in the Ghetto, Kamaiyah makes a triumphant return with her debut album, Got It Made. With perspective, battle scars and a renewed sense of self, "Pressure" is her moment of audible flag-plant.

"I'm back in this bitch and back with a vengeance / Ain't been this hard on s*** in a minute / Didn't come back to kick no s*** and be friendly / I came back to kill off all of y'all ingrates."

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Lil Baby, "Emotionally Scarred"

In addition to annihilating virtually any beat he chooses to hop on and barring his contemporaries, Lil Baby spits from a place of real pain.

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Young Nudy, "Blue Cheese Salad"

Young Nudy's tight-rope work ethic is inspiring. His latest mixtape, Anyways, bounces with Southern drawl and low-lid relaxation, but still houses nimble bars. "Blue Cheese Salad" is an oozy, addictive addition to his steadfast sleeper hits. And I don't even like dairy like that.

"I'm a hot boy and my pockets full of salad / Mixed it with that rap money, turned that shit to blue cheese."

YouTube

Diana Gordon, "Rollin"

Under sparse guitar strings and unifying chants, Diana Gordon's strident yearning on "Rollin" is a soundtrack to twilight woolgathering.

"You was tired now you jumping off the stage / She inspired when she throw that in ya face / You got work tomorrow damn you really brave / Feelin savage turn to Travis when we rage."

YouTube

Bad Bunny, "La Difícil"

It really seems like Bad Bunny cha-chas past the pressure with feather-footed ease. His latest album, Yo Hago Lo Que Me Da La Gana, (translated to I Do What I Want) harbors millennial double entrendres in old-school reggaeton bravado.

"La Dificil" feels like a bubblegum dream until that bass line hits your blood stream 30 seconds in.

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Lianne La Havas, "Bittersweet"

There's something about the tone of Lianne La Havas' voice that pulls you up into the hemisphere with tight strings of levity. "Bittersweet" ascends, then soars.

YouTube

Drake, "When To Say When & Chicago Freestyle"

Just when you think Aubrey Graham can't get any more self-righteously petty...

Jumping on the iconic beat of Jay-Z's "Song Cry," and interpolating Eminem's "Superman," Drake dropped a cohesive couple of freestyles Saturday night, "When To Say When" and "Chicago Freestyle." The latter track also features a poignant few lines from Long Beach singer Giveon.

Released exclusively on Soundcloud and YouTube for now, this decision to keep his latest bars off major DSPs (Spotify, Apple Music, Tidal) is a play Drizzy often makes when he's ruminating on something bigger. Once again, the 6ix God proves his fleeting thoughts are stronger than most rappers' hard-thought dissertations.

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All Songs Considered

Jun 08, 2021

Roséwave: Back 2 Basic

Enlarge this image It's not a genre; it's a lifestyle. Kara Frame/NPR hide captiontoggle caption Kara
Dec 29, 2020

Roséwave: Lost Summer

Enlarge this image We danced in kitchens, took long drives, caught up in backyards or on video chat, watched weddings from our
Jun 29, 2020

Heat Check: Underrated And Elevating

Enlarge this image cupcakKe switches her flow up so many times that "Discounts" is a raunchy and hilarious three-minute shopper bargain.
Jun 22, 2020

Heat Check: Can't Get It For Free

Enlarge this image Miami duo City Girls returns with their second full-length album, City on Lock. Prince Williams/WireImage/Getty Images hide…
Jun 15, 2020

Heat Check: Bigger Picture

Enlarge this image Lil Baby's "The Bigger Picture" is a conscious trap anthem for the Black Lives Matter movement. Matthew Geovany
Jun 08, 2020

Meet The 2020 Tiny Desk Contest Community

YouTube Each year, we receive thousands of entries to the Tiny Desk Contest, and the Contest team watches every single one. We get to hear songs from…
May 31, 2020

Heat Check: 'Black Joy Is Radical'

Enlarge this image Nubya Garcia's latest single "Pace" is all about diving into the many layers of joy. Adama Jalloh/Courtesy of
May 25, 2020

Heat Check: Got A Big Ego

Enlarge this image Amaarae cuts it up better than a moon-walking Samurai on "Body Count." Philip Boakye/Courtesy of the artist hide
May 03, 2020

Heat Check: Hippocampus Two-Steps

Enlarge this image Dreya Mac spits bars at a level far beyond a novice on her debut track "Skippin." Clara Setian/Courtesy
Apr 26, 2020

Heat Check: Shake Your Senses

Enlarge this image Rooted in languid rhythm, Octavian's "Poison" featuring Santi with OBONGJAYAR sounds like nothing else out. Crowns & Owls/Courtesy…
Apr 19, 2020

Heat Check: Double My W's

Enlarge this image Kenny Mason unveils his debut project Angelic Hoodrat with a cool-under-pressure, low-lid resolve. Nasser Boulaich/Courtesy of the…
Apr 12, 2020

Heat Check: Money In My Hand

Enlarge this image Don't play with Kari Faux. Play with your kids. Quil Lemons /Courtesy of the artist hide captiontoggle caption Quil
Apr 05, 2020

Heat Check: I Feel Void

Enlarge this image Empress Of's "Void" feels like a euphoric cross-genre culture clash, a dance party in a summer storm. Dorian Lopez/Courtesy
Mar 29, 2020

Heat Check: Teleport And Transform

Enlarge this image Bongeziwe Mabandla's "masiziyekelele" sends you racing through the streets of Johannesburg. Justice Mukheli/Courtesy of the artist…
Mar 22, 2020

Heat Check: Make It Make Sense

Enlarge this image Alex Isley's "Gone" perfects the art of subtle, fear-inducing seduction. Lauren Desberg /Courtesy of the artist hide captiontoggle…
Mar 08, 2020

Heat Check: Homecoming

Enlarge this image The laboriously-delayed Eternal Atake finally delivered big time for Lil Uzi Vert fans. Erika Goldring/FilmMagic/Getty Images hide…
Feb 23, 2020

Heat Check: Caught Up And Curious

Enlarge this image Linda Diaz's "Magic" swirls in the watercolor pools of a quirky, young love. Jonah Zorn Koplin/Courtesy of the artist
Feb 17, 2020

Heat Check: Répéter, Répéter

Enlarge this image Arlo Parks' "Eugene" spins a stinging reminder of getting left for convention. Charlie Cummings/Courtesy of the artist hide…
Feb 09, 2020

Heat Check: Going All Out

Enlarge this image Victoria Monét melds fantasy with reality for her latest, "Moment." Dana Trippe/Courtesy of the artist hide captiontoggle caption…
Feb 03, 2020

The Tiny Desk Contest Is Back For 2020

YouTube In the past year, we've had some pretty big names come perform at the Tiny Desk: Lizzo, Jimmy Eat World and Taylor Swift, to name a few.
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Dec 17, 2019

Bob Boilen's Top 20 Albums For 2019

Big Thief released two of Bob Boilen's favorite albums in 2019: U.F.O.F. and Two Hands. Michael Buishas hide captiontoggle caption Michael Buishas
Dec 16, 2019

Heat Check: Favorite Discoveries Of 2019

Enlarge this image Kirby, Odunsi (The Engine) and Hope Tala Courtney Loo & David Karp/Folarin Omolayole/Freddie Stisted/Courtesy of the artists hide…
Dec 01, 2019

Heat Check: Ode To The Cap

Enlarge this image Kilo Kish's glitchy, pithy "SPARK" sets fire to procrastination, pushing you to keep creating. Kish Robinson/Courtesy of the artist
Nov 17, 2019

Poll: Your Favorite Songs Of The 2010s

Oivind Hovland/Getty Images/Ikon Images What are your favorite songs of the past decade? These are tracks released between 2010 and 2019. We know
Nov 17, 2019

Heat Check: Charge The Haters Interest

Enlarge this image Denzel Curry's Super Saiyan energy offsets Glass Animals' eerie, horn-submerged production on "Tokyo Drifting." Elliot Arndt…
Nov 10, 2019

Heat Check: Lived-In R&B, Rap And Ragga

Enlarge this image With rich, cascading runs, Ayoni's "September" is a stand-out on this week's Heat Check. Caleb Griffin/Courtesy of the artist
Nov 10, 2019

Heat Check: Lived-In R&B, Rap And Ragga

Enlarge this image With rich, cascading runs, Ayoni's "September" is a stand-out on this week's Heat Check. Caleb Griffin/Courtesy of the artist
Oct 20, 2019

Heat Check: Getting Lost, Giving In

Enlarge this image TeaMarrr's mesmerizing new single "Kinda Love" is the type of daydream to put into action. Tyren Redd/Courtesy of the
Oct 06, 2019

Heat Check: Songs That Let It All Out

Enlarge this image The Pendletons provide a jazzy, dancing-in-your-living-room soundtrack to self-care. Ivan Noble/Courtesy of the artist hide…
Sep 29, 2019

Heat Check: Euphoric Shuffle Play

Enlarge this image Daniela Andrade's "Ayayai" (single artwork pictured here) shows off the artist's linguistic versatility. Yi-Shuan Lee/Courtesy of…
Sep 15, 2019

Heat Check: Future Nostalgia

Enlarge this image KIRBY's "Kool Aid" injects just the right doses of doo-wop and soul. Courtney Loo & David Karp/Courtesy of the
Sep 02, 2019

Heat Check: Friends Of Friends Of Friends

Enlarge this image Sudan Archives' "Confessions" is included in this week's Heat Check. Alex Black/Courtesy of the artist hide captiontoggle caption…

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