Today would’ve been Aaliyah’s 40th birthday. It’s crazy that she’s been gone for almost two decades now; I remember the day she died like it was yesterday.

She was a young star at the height of her career and on an upward trajectory, and she was loved by all. Though I often wonder what she could’ve achieved if she got to live longer, I’m thankful for the years we got. She was a true talent and a timeless beauty.

Below are my four favorite Aaliyah songs. Happy birthday and rest in peace, Baby Girl.

“Back & Forth”

“Are You That Somebody?”

“The One I Gave My Heart To”

“If Your Girl Only Knew”

Sam Smith and Normani have joined forces to make “Dancing with a Stranger,” which I would describe as a musical cousin to Drake’s “Hold On, We’re Going Home” and Nick Jonas’ “Jealous.” Their beats are all so similar that I thought they shared a producer or two, but they don’t.

The song was produced by Stargate, Jimmy Napes, Tim Blacksmith and Danny D, and is expected to appear on Sam Smith’s third album. Check it out below.

Kehlani sings about a fickle female lover on “Nights Like This,” which features Ty Dolla $ign.
This isn’t the first time Kehlani is singing about a woman on a collabo with a man, which is interesting only because male-female duets — from “Endless Love” to “My Boo” — tend to have the performers portraying lovers.

Sonically, “Nights Like This” is very Kehlani, which isn’t a bad thing — she even uses familiar ad libs. Check it out below.

Vocals. Melody. Soul.

“I Care ‘Bout You” is truly for the lover in us all. Written by Babyface and performed by supergroup Milestone — made up of K-Ci, JoJo, Babyface and his two brothers, Kevon and Melvin Edmonds — the song is about unreciprocated love, which is a theme you’d hardly find in songs by male R&B artists today. Can you imagine Chris Brown or any of these young’ns singing about how his girl stays out late to avoid him? Ha!

The song appears on one of my favorite soundtracks of all time — the Soul Food soundtrack; the movie also happens to be an all-time favorite. The melody in the chorus borrows from Patti LaBelle’s “If Only You Knew,” and somehow, this fact went unnoticed by me until very recently, which is crazy because it is a pretty obvious sample.

“I Care ‘Bout You” wasn’t a smash hit, but any true R&B fan above a certain age understands that this is a classic. If you’ve never heard this song before, you’re welcome.

Earlier today, Chris Brown released the music video for “Undecided,” the lead single from his upcoming album, Indigo. The song sample’s Shanice’s “I Love Your Smile,” which is a childhood favorite of mine.

The video shows Breezy as a ghost hunter who transcends into another realm, where he’s pop-locking with a love interest played by actress Serayah. Check it out below.

Future took a long enough break from his Instagram shenanigans to give us some new music, and it’s not bad. “Crushed Up,” which is classic Future as far as the lyrics are concerned, is reportedly the first single from his as-yet-untitled seventh studio album. Watch the video below.

First post of the year! I had a short vacation because my body and soul needed it, but now I’m back and better than ever.

The Black Eyed Peas’ “Request Line” (featuring Macy Gray) was the third single from their sophomore album, Bridging the Gap. More significantly, it was the group’s first song to crack the Billboard Hot 100, which blows my mind and serves as evidence that popularity is not always an indication of quality.

The music video is also a reminder that the Black Eyed Peas’ have always been a fun and imaginative group with pop sensibilities (i.e. they didn’t become that way after Fergie). Watch the video below.

In the “Money” video, which dropped less than an hour ago, Cardi B gives a nod to her stripper past while serving haute couture. I’ma just go ahead and say that this is the best video I’ve seen in a LONG time — definitely the best one I’ve seen all year.

We get to see grade A stripper gymnastics, all sorts of bare nipples, Cardi’s bare ass while she plays the piano, and even a few frames of Cardi breastfeeding Kulture. The streams for this video are gonna be through the roof, so expect “Money” to take a big leap on next week’s chart. Watch the video below.

Earlier this week, YG dropped the video for the Quavo-assisted “Slay,” which happens to be one of my favorite tracks on Stay Dangerous. The song is a reminder that you can make a melodic rap song without it being too “poppy” (as they say), and that even the gulliest of rappers can make songs about things other than guns. And honestly, I just feel blessed whenever these rappers use a bit that doesn’t sound like a variation of that one beat everyone has been using for the last three years or so.

The video is set in YG’s imagination of heaven, which is full of 10s with giant angel wings. I dig it.