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toggle caption Caleb Griffin/Courtesy of the artist

With rich, cascading runs, Ayoni's "September" is a stand-out on this week's Heat Check.

Caleb Griffin/Courtesy of the artist

This week's Heat Check picks stand out not for sounding different, but for already feeling oddly familiar. Though all of these tracks are new releases, there's something lived-in about each one. Sometimes close to home is the best jumping off point.

Newcomers like Barbados-born Ayoni and L.A.-based Remi Wolf take cues from early aughts pop darlings. One of Lil Baby's sparse solo releases of the year is already inextricably linked to an Internet challenge. And duendita, who has a tendency for dropping low-key sleeper hits, shares a SoundCloud exclusive with New York rapper Wiki that invokes dreamy '90s movie montages.

By now you know the deal. Heat Check playlist in its entirety is available now on Spotify and Apple Music.


Lil Baby, "Woah"

This rap game is so ruthless, playing the role of your own hype man is basically the prerequisite for self-preservation and Internet virality can be as coveted as a Grammy. But lucky for Lil Baby, his latest track already has an infectious, viral dance built-in.

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Remi Wolf, "Shawty"

Crushing up pop, funk and twinkling electronics, Remi Wolf's six-track debut EP, You're A Dog!, does not house a single skip. On "Shawty," the current crowd-pleaser from the bunch, Remi channels M.I.A., Fefe Dobson and Lily Allen to chronicle messy, millennial love: "Shawty know she phony / Shawty feeling lonely / Shawty picking on me / While I'm picking up her laundry."

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Sainvil, "Shoulders"

Melding R&B coolness with verses of synthy, believable rap bravado is the key to Sainvil's "Shoulders." The euphoric high of this self-confidence is short-lived — only lasting about two minutes — but shows promise of more to come.

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BEAM, "MAD GAAL"

On his debut project, 95, rapper-producer BEAM effectively hops around the globe, borrowing from dancehall, trap, lo-fi and boom-bap. "MAAD GAL" is the intergalactic ragga outlier that primes you for the piano-laden shade of "I MIGHT JUST" and "LOST."

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FKJ, "Risk (feat. Bas)"

The soothing, surmounting and almost-trance-inducing strings on this FKJ single featuring Dreamville stalwart Bas serves as a fitting primer to Ylang Ylang, the French music maker's latest EP.

YouTube

Ayoni, "September"

Processing a break-up while on one of the few breaks in your day, your commute? Barbados-born singer Ayoni understands that irony. With rich, cascading runs, Ayoni assures that as the pages on the calendar tear away, moving on gets easier.

"But October's real pretty / If you wanted to know / And I can see the sunset from this spot on the metro / And my love for you is gone / And my love for you is gone / And my love for you is gone," Ayoni soars.

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duendita, "wiki demo.wav"

A year after quietly dropping one of the best projects of 2018, the raw, glimmering direct line to My Creator, duendita emerges once again by way of this sly lil' SoundCloud-only gem. The Queens, N.Y. singer-songwriter's ability to balance the anguished and the genial with her tone envelops Wiki's neurotic bars like a cloud, providing just as much comfort as context.

All Songs Considered

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Roséwave: Back 2 Basic

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Roséwave: Lost Summer

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Heat Check: Bigger Picture

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Heat Check: 'Black Joy Is Radical'

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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

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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
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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