This week we have an exciting debut in the world of Rock and a personal solo debut from a Hip Hop headliner. Plus a new mixtape from an R&B elite and a strong statement from a guitar great. These are the highlights from this week's New Music Friday.
After months of delays likely stemming from personal matters within his marriage to Cardi B, FATHER OF 4 ends up being more personal than anyone expected. The rapper deals with coming up through the game, but more vividly discusses staying there for the sake of his family. Throughout the album Offset speaks about his four children, and you can hear how important fatherhood has become to him. He also paints scenes from his youth on FATHER OF 4, and digs into his relationship with Cardi B. On "Don't Lose Me" he praises the Invasion Of Privacy star, mixing luxury rap with love as he details her place in his life. He even samples the apology video from their public breakup last year. The bragging about cars and diamonds is a thread throughout the album, but there are actual touching and revealing moments bookended and scattered across his debut. It's also packed with features, including 21 Savage and Travis Scott on "Legacy", big flexing from Cardi B, another stellar spot from J. Cole, and an emotional moment courtesy of CeeLo Green. - Michael Cerio
Rarely since the early days of the Seattle grunge scene has a frontman been as pissed off and laid bare as Badflower’s Josh Katz is on the SoCal band’s long-awaited debut album OK, I’M SICK. The quartet drag you right in to their state of mind on the opening mental illness therapy “x ANA x.” The frenetic stream of consciousness track is the polar opposite of “Ghost,” which tackles a different element of the same subject in a more restrained way – both lyrically and musically. Badflower’s gritty, bare bones sound leans more towards pop punk on the melodic “Promise Me,” but Katz isn’t resting any easier as he sings about being terrified of growing up. Too late though. Badflower already sound like seasoned rock veterans on OK, I’M SICK. - Bob Diehl
Powerful, eye-opening, magnificent – the latest album from Gary Clark, Jr. is like watching a beautiful, once-dormant volcano erupt in a stunning, fiery rage. The guitar virtuoso less-than-delicately switches gears on The Land, moving into a woke, politically and socially conscientious speed, all while still being fueled by blistering guitar riffs and unforgettable solos. Clark’s blues-based style on his third studio album is backed by themes reminiscent of early hip-hop and Vietnam-era protest songs. Lyrically, It’s an indictment on the pervasive negativity throughout the U.S. right now. From start to finish The Land questions the world we live in right now, and is hands down a must-listen. - Kyle McCann
Kehlani is keeping eager fans happy with 9-song mixtape While We Wait. The project is an in-between release that boasts features from Ty Dolla $ign, 6lack, Dom Kennedy, and the legendary Musiq Soulchild. Even with a stacked roster behind her, Kehlani steps back into the spotlight with no help needed. Her gliding vocals tell the story of love, working through the journey of catching “Feels” and navigating relationships. Previously release singles like “Nights Like This” and independent anthem “Nunya” sit in between low key grooves that give a taste of what’s to come. Two years after the release of her debut album, Kehlani is preparing for both her official studio follow-up and the quickly-approaching birth of her daughter. - Tiana Timmerberg