Charlie Cummings/Courtesy of the artist

Arlo Parks' "Eugene" spins a stinging reminder of getting left for convention.

Charlie Cummings/Courtesy of the artist

You ever been to a party and, for some reason, it's hard to get a handle on the vibe of the room? I'm not talking about the visual representation of who's there (or who's not), but more the collective energy surging through the space is just ... off.

It's taken me a few years, but through my vast research, I've concluded that eight times out of 1o, this amorphous feeling is a consequence of the DJ switching up their music selection too quickly. You can always spot a rookie DJ by an ill-timed switch up. You gotta be able to transition accordingly.

This week's Heat Check selects switch it up quick — Koffee steals the show on J Hus' Big Conspiracy, Rema plots a Latin crossover by way of Becky G, Jhené Aiko ever so sweetly steaks out her territory — but don't worry, we keep the trance consistent.

As always, stream the Heat Check playlist via Spotify and Apple Music.

J Hus, "Repeat (feat. Koffee)"

J Hus' sophomore LP Big Conspiracy — a triumphant return after spending eight months in jail for carrying a knife in public — harbors moments of ingested resentment before finding poignant peaks. But by letting Koffee handle the verses on "Repeat" while he dishes a dance-y chorus, J Hus shows he's still got that Afroswing joy. Répéter, Répéter! — Sidney Madden


Rema, "Dumebi Remix (feat. Becky G)"

The Nigerian wunderkind doubles down on his already-transcendent hit (15 million streams and counting) by enlisting Becky G, a Latin pop princess with just the right amount of youthful sass to measure up. — Sidney Madden


Denise Chaila, "Copper Bullet"

Zambian-born Denise Chaila knows she's the outlier in the Irish rap scene — and she's using that to her advantage with every verse. The limber lyricist pulls from pop culture, history and contemporary politics to fuel her flow. — Sidney Madden


Cousin Stizz, "Perfect Remix (feat. Doja Cat and BIA)"

It's kind of hard to improve on a song literally called "Perfect." But Cousin Stizz took a shot at it anyway. While Stizz keeps his rhymes casual and bouncy, Doja Cat and BIA each amp up the sex appeal over the industrial pile-driver beat. — Sidney Madden


Lil Baby, "Sum 2 Prove"

With multiple gold and platinum plaques, the respect of every rap patriarch in the South and a 2020 Grammy nomination, it doesn't seem like Lil Baby has anything left to prove. But you know what? It's always good to stay hungry. — Sidney Madden


Pop Smoke, "Shake the Room (feat. Quavo)"

As the new face of Brooklyn drill, Pop Smoke's highly anticipated Meet The Woo 2 felt like the first rap release of the year with real urgency around it. "Shake the Room" serves an early crescendo in the midst of frenzied chaos. — Sidney Madden


Jhené Aiko, "P*$$Y Fairy (OTW)"

As one of the early purveyors of sweetly explicit alt-R&B, Jhené Aiko is no stranger to quilting a freaky turn of phrase in an angelic melody. "We be gettin' so loud / That d*** make my soul smile / That d*** make me so damn proud." — Sidney Madden


Tom Misch & Yussef Dayes, "What Kinda Music"

Tom Misch's 2018 album Geography was a smash and fans have been waiting anxiously for more. At last, a joint project from Misch and drummer/producer Yussef Dayes is scheduled to drop April 24. If the whole record sounds like this beat-infused first cut, jazzy hip-hop fans are gonna have some fun. — Suraya Mohamed


DRAMA, "Forever And A Day"

With a cool electro-dance beat, this inspiring song by Chicago-based duo DRAMA invites you to get lost. — Suraya Mohamed


Arlo Parks, "Eugene"

Arlo Parks spins together a stinging reminder of getting friend zoned in favor of the bottom of the barrel. It's confusion, rejection and resentment all rolled up with simple drum and bass. "Seein' you with him burns / I feel it deep in my throat / You put your hands in his shirt / You play him records I showed you / Read him Sylvia Plath, I thought that that was our thing / You know I like you like that / I hate that son of a bitch." — Sidney Madden


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 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.
Default Image
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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