“R.A.N.” is a single from the SuperFly soundtrack, which dropped 10 days ago. The song is standard Miguel — complete with the signature ad-libs and a “candid” giggle at the end — which is by no means a bad thing.

The video, however, is a bit of a snoozefest and exemplifies where Miguel falls short — charisma and showmanship. The clip features Miguel portraying a drug dealer in the trenches with his lady, and none of it is believable. I’m a Miguel fan, so you know I’m telling the truth. Watch the video below.

Pun totally intended.

Yesterday, while many of us in the Northeast were out enjoying the good-ass weather, Jay-Z and Beyoncé released a joint album called Everything Is Love, accompanied by a music video for “Apeshit,” one of the album’s nine tracks. Currently, the album is only available on Tidal (insert eye-roll), but the video for “Apeshit” is available on YouTube. Check it out below.

I’d be lying if I said I liked the song on the first listen, but it has grown on me significantly in the 13 hours since I first heard it. I really want Beyoncé to stop rapping, but she did have some good lines here and there, including “She a thot that you claim,” which everyone assumes is a shot at Kim and Kanye. Please note that I said lines — not bars — because she’s never able to round it out quite right.

Hov, on the other hand, being a rapper by trade, killed it. Best bar in the song:

I said “no” to the Superbowl, you need me, I don’t need you
Every night we in the endzone, tell the NFL we in stadiums too

Fittingly, as Hov spits this bar, we see young black men taking the knee Kaepernick-style. He also calls the Grammys out for snubbing 4:44, which won zero of its eight nominations at the awards show earlier this year.

The Carters wrote “Apeshit” with Pharrell, Quavo and Offset, with the latter two providing ad-libs throughout the song — I actually thought it was all three Migos, but Genius.com be knowing; Pharrell also gets a producer credit (along with the Carters). The video was shot at the Louvre and shows black people being black as fuck in what many would consider to be a revered white space, which can be interpreted as an allegory for Jay-Z and Beyoncé’s current existence as super rich black people who are bold about their expressions of blackness. I ain’t mad at it.

Of all the things Lil’ Kim has done in her iconic 23-year career, nothing stands out quite like “Crush on You.” I want to call it mid-’90s hip-hop excellence or even just hip-hop excellence, but the song is so much more: it is pure musical magic, no genre qualifiers needed.

The song was released this week in 1997 as the second single from Lil’ Kim’s debut album, Hardcore, and is as fresh today as it was back then. The beat, which samples the Jeff Lorber Fusion’s “Rain Dance” — sans horns and with a lot more bass — is one of those that take over your body. It is literally irresistible and you should not trust anyone who hears it and doesn’t move at least a little bit. Also, the bars. THE BARS. God bless Cam’ron because he DID THAT.

Yes, Cam’ron wrote all of Lil’ Cease’s lyrics in what was a subcontract from Mase, who had been tapped to ghostwrite five songs for Lil’ Cease. The official songwriting credits only lists Jeff Lorber, Lil’ Cease and Andreao Heard, but the song’s Wikipedia page lists Lil’ Kim, Biggie, Mase, Cam’ron and Jeff Lorber — no Lil’ Cease, no Andreao Heard.

The song was actually meant for Lil’ Cease, but ended up being a Lil’ Kim song; however, due to an unexpected pregnancy, she was unable to lay down her verses at the time it was being recorded, so the song appears on her album with just Lil’ Cease’s verses and Biggie on the chorus. The video version, however, has Kim on there rapping modified versions of some of Cease’s verses.

Now…the video. THE VIDEO. There are few artists that are as in their bag as Lil’ Kim is in the “Crush on You” video. Rocking colorful wigs and talking all of her shit, Lil’ Kim created a new template for the female rapper that can still be seen today — and I’m not just talking about Nicki.

Like every good rap video from the ’90s, this one also has cameos from a few famous faces, namely Aaliyah, Uncle Luke and Sheek Louch.

This video is history. This song is history. Click play.

Nicki Minaj just released “B.E.D” (featuring Ariana Grande), four days after the release of “Rich Sex” (featuring Lil Wayne). Both songs are going to be on Queen, which is set for an August 10 release date. At this point, it feels like Nicki is throwing everything against the wall to see what sticks, and while it is sad to watch, I totally understand. The good news is that she has finally put out songs that are undeniably dope; “Chun Li” and “Barbie Tingz” — the latter of which won’t be included on the Queen tracklist — were decent songs in their own respective rights, but in a Cardi B world, you have to come harder.

“B.E.D,” Nicki’s fourth collaboration with Ariana Grande, is standard fare as far as Minaj-Grande collaborations go (i.e. mid-tempo, sex theme, etc.). Ariana sings about having a “bed with your name on it” and Nicki opens the song with a line about “waiting for you on some thousand-dollar sheets.” The song is about as radio-friendly as radio-friendly gets, and I’m not mad. Check it out below.

“Rich Sex,” as the title indicates, is also about sex, but is way gullier than “B.E.D.” Nicki raps, “If you let that broke nigga fuck, we telling!” on the chorus — women are going to LOVE that one — while Weezy declares, “Pussy smell like money when I’m down there, that some Nic shit.” The song is full of quotables. Towards the end, Nicki laughs in a way that would remind you of “Itty Bitty Piggy.” Oh the nostalgia. Click play.

You can’t keep a good Canadian down. King Aubrey just released the album cover for Scorpion, which is set to drop on June 29. He is giving us the signature Drizzy pout and the waves are on swim (that’s why they hate on him). He also dropped the video for “Im Upset,” which is one big Degrassi reunion. I didn’t watch that show, so I’d be lying if I said I cared, but it’s just good to see one of the greatest rappers of all time — I welcome you to fight me — doing his thing again after the harrowing two weeks he has just been through. Watch the video below.

I’m not sure why a couple that is notoriously private and also happens to be the most famous couple in the world would release nearly-naked pictures of themselves in bed, but self-sabotage usually comes to its victims disguised as good ideas.

Shawn Corey Carter and Beyoncé Giselle Knowles-Carter, better known as Jay-Z and Beyoncé, released a risque picture book as one of the merchandise items for their On The Run II tour, and I’d be lying if I said I fully understood why. It feels very stunt-y and very inconsistent with their collective brand, and said brand is so strong that I cannot imagine that this helps in any material way.

There are better shots of them taken by paparazzi hiding in the bushes, and I know they have access to the best of everything, so I want to know why we didn’t get better pics (if they absolutely had to do this). Jay-Z looks like he’s under punishment in the pic below and the whole thing is cringe-inducing. This project did not need to happen. At all.

The pop culture historian in me is gonna assume that this is some sort of nod to John Lennon and Yoko Ono, whose Unfinished Music No. 1: Two Virgins album cover has the couple giving us full frontal nudity (while the back shows their bare asses).

Saturday, June 9, 2018, marked 20 years since Brandy released what would become her most successful album. Never Say Never was decidedly different from her self-titled debut album because — besides Brandy Norwood herself — there were no carryovers in the songwriting and production department. It would serve as a launchpad for Rodney “Darkchild” Jenkins, who gets a credit on 10 songs on the album and went on to become the writer/producer du jour  for the remainder of the ’90s.

Never Say Never produced two No. 1 singles and sold over 16 million copies worldwide. If you asked me  what my favorite cut on the album was at the time of its release, I would’ve probably said “U Don’t Know Me (Like U Used To),” but at this moment, I’m going to have to go with “Angel in Disguise.”

Even though it was a single, it never actually got a video, so enjoy the audio below.

Prince Rogers Nelson would have been 60 years old today, so it’s only right that today’s Throwback Thursday would be dedicated to the Purple One. Below are six of my favorite Prince songs, one for each decade.

“Diamons & Pearls”

“Purple Rain”

“I Wanna Be Your Lover”

“The Most Beautiful Girl in the World”

“The Beautiful Ones”

“Little Red Corvette”

RIP to da god!