The day is almost over, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t show some birthday love to one of my favorite artists, Miguel. The R&B god turns 33 today, so we firing up 33 shots! Below is a live performance of “Pineapple Skies” at the DC stop of the Python Tour, recorded by yours truly. Happy birthday, Miguel!

Cardi B is talking all her shit on her new single, “Money,” which arrives two days earlier than its original release date. The song is in keeping with what she said she cares about, and I ain’t mad. The beat knocks and the bars give you slight “Bodak Yellow” vibes. The song was produced by J. White Did It and is presumed to be the lead single from her sophomore studio album. Check it out below.

Dancehall artist Spice sent the internet into hysteria yesterday when she posted pictures of herself with what appeared to be bleached skin. I didn’t fall for it for a second because it takes a lot longer to bleach your skin that drastically — she looked like her regular self just a few months ago at the season 7 reunion of Love & Hip-Hop Atlanta. Also, if you’ve ever seen Spice and the way she carries herself, you’ll know that she couldn’t possibly be that insecure about her looks.

The prank was a publicity stunt to promote her new single, “Black Hypocrisy,” which addresses colorism within the black race. She dropped the video for the song today, and it confirms that she didn’t really bleach her skin. I think the whole thing is brilliant. Watch the video below.

In a livestream on Instagram this past weekend, Cardi B declares that she doesn’t care about being lyrical, explaining that she only cares about topping the charts and making money. As you can imagine, a lot of self-proclaimed “hip-hop heads” are up in arms and accusing her of being a fraud. I, on the other hand, have mixed feelings about the whole thing. Watch a clip from the livestream below.

First of all, I don’t know what Cardi means by “lyrical” — I find that most people use that word to describe rappers that are more “conscious” (for lack of a better term). If that’s what she means, I see nothing wrong with her not wanting to be that. I believe the best art is the one that is most sincere, and being “conscious” just so people can say you’re lyrical is actually quite corny. There are many rappers in the game right now that are feigning “consciousness” for critical acclaim, but I digress.

Now…about the money part. Technically, there’s nothing wrong with being money-hungry (especially when you come from humble beginnings), but it’s a little unsettling to see an artist be that blunt about it. On one hand, I love the honesty about her motivations, but on the other, it makes you wonder about her sincerity as an artist — would she put out a song she personally didn’t like if it was trendy? But then again, she’s made it clear that she gives no fucks.

Finally, based on my definition of “lyrical,” Cardi is lyrical enough in my book. I think anyone who can put together clever lyrics (regardless of subject matter) is a good lyricist. Does she rap as well as the greats? Hell no. But don’t let anyone tell you that a rapper has to stick to a narrow range of topics or fit a certain mold in order to be considered “lyrical.” Unfortunately, based on what I see in this video, Cardi herself has bought into a false idea of what it means to be lyrical.

Travis Scott’s music may not be my favorite, but I gotta give it to him for making dope-ass videos. The video for “Sicko Mode” dropped yesterday and it is the best I’ve seen in a long time. It is also a perfect example of the fact that good music videos don’t necessarily need to have a plot line — good costuming and visual effects will usually do the trick. Peep the clip below.

Lil Wayne just dropped a video for “Uproar” and we only have Shiggy to thank for that. In an attempt to duplicate the viral success of the #InMyFeelingsChallenge, he created the #UproarChallenge, and as you can imagine, it feels very forced and inorganic. I’m mad that much better songs are having to be placed on the back-burner just so Weezy can ride this “wave” — it hasn’t caught on the way #InMyFeelingsChallenge has.

The video features Shiggy himself, Swizz Beatz, Fatboy SSE, and a whole bunch of Harlem-Shaking niggas. Check it out below.

Usually, as a rule, my Throwback Thursday pick is at least 15 years old. However, I am making an exception today because it is Ne-Yo’s birthday and he has only been in the game for 13 years. His debut single, “Stay,” dropped in September 2005 and it is still my favorite Ne-Yo song. It samples the DeBarge classic, “Stay with Me,” and features Philadelphia rapper Peedi Peedi.

Happy 39th birthday, Ne-Yo!

Maxwell just dropped the video for “Shame,” the second single from his upcoming album, blacksummers’NIGHT — the third in the trilogy. The singer describes “Shame” as a modern love song about the barriers to intimacy caused by a preoccupation with appearances — more specifically, the facades we put up on social media. The video helps convey this message beautifully. Check it out below.

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After a good eight or nine years of misfires, Mariah Carey finally gets it right. Sure, “With You” was cute, but it didn’t quite go the distance — pun totally intended. I had said it was her best *single* in years, but that’s a very low bar to clear. “The Distance,” on the other hand, is her best song in at least a decade — single or not.

Featuring Ty Dolla $ign, the third single from Mariah’s upcoming album, Caution, is about a long-term romance that was doubted by naysayers. The track was produced by Skrillex and Poo Bear, and I swear I had to be sure I was reading that right. Skrillex??! I didn’t know he had it in him.

My only hope is that Mariah doesn’t disappoint with the video, but Mariah gon’ Mariah. Listen to “The Distance” below.