R&B/Hip-Hop Fresh Picks of the Week: Chief Keef, Andra Day, Rosehardt, Snow tha Procuct & More

Now that we’re solidly in May, it looks like the Great Rap War of 2024 finally has a victor. If TDE founder Anthony “Top Dawg” Tiffith’s X post is anything to go by, the battle is indeed over — even though Drake‘s “The Heart Part 6” effectively shifted public opinion to Kendrick Lamar’s side.

Outside of that beef — which is still unfurling outside of the music — the worlds of R&B and hip-hop have had much to ponder over the past week. On Monday (May 13) Childish Gambino released a polished version of 2020’s 3.15.20 titled Atavista and both Shaquille O’Neal and King Combs released diss tracks — against Shannon Sharpe and 50 Cent, respectively — further solidifying 2024 as the year of the hater and the year of beef. Thanks again, Katt Williams!

With Fresh PicksBillboard aims to highlight some of the best and most interesting new sounds across R&B and hip-hop — from Rosehardt’s dirty-macking midtempo to RaealRichIzzo’s latest addition to the contemporary Midwest rap lexicon. Be sure to check out this week’s Fresh Picks in our Spotify playlist below.

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Rosehardt, “Headass”

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One of the classic elements of male R&B is dirty macking — and Rosehardt kicks off “Headass” with a whole lot of it. “What does he have? What does he do?/ He must be bad, he must be cool too/ I’m just the past, he’s something new/ But I bet he don’t love you, like I do,” his distorted vocals croon in the intro. Betweent he chugging production, sultry yet understated bass, and a vocal performance that balances tender hoensty (“I’m just a man who believes in love”) with a sinister undertone of trying to convince a love interest who has already clocked his shortcomings as a partner. Taken from his new The World Gets Smaller Each Day It Seems to Shrink LP, “Headass” finds Rosehardt (aka Drama League Award-nominated actor Caleb Eberhardt) fully immersing himself in the role of imperfect bachelor without necessarily relishing that position.

Snow tha Product, “So What”

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With this bouncy, snap-laden ode to the comforts of ambivalence, Snow tha Product embraces the unknown. Although she sings of using the classic “so what?” question to keep her “feelings detached,” she, in fact, cycles through the myriad emotions of a tumultuous relationship, in which she’s always one step away from walking out. “So what / If you tell me its over/ Guess Imma have to chill to your back,” she sing-raps with a smug wink and smirk. She’s in control here, making for an intricate mind-game that finds a sly, unassuming soundtrack in the buoyant beat.

Chief Keef feat. Tierra Whack, “Banded Up”

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Sosa finally delivered his highly-anticipated Almighty So 2 project on Friday (May 10). One of the early standouts from the drill pioneer’s LP came courtesy of Tierra Whack’s explosive assist on “Banded Up,” which gives the Philly MC an immediate guest verse of the year candidate. Whack posted voice messages from Chief Keef in disbelief asking her, “Why would you do me like that on my song?” T-Whack blacks out over Sosa’s thumping production with a mini-uzi flow that sounds as if she was recorded in 5x speed. “These rappers are food and that’s why I be cooking/ You can’t pull no strings and I just keep it pushin’/ B-I-G, but I was not born in Brooklyn,” she snarls. The 28-year-old turned Sosa’s playground into Whack World. 

4Fargo & Honey Bxby, “Ex for a Reason”

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4Fargo and his tender croon are looking to leave their mark on the current landscape of R&B. The Georgia-bred singer unleashed his major label debut project Express&B last week via Republic Records. Heartbreak has long been the engine behind the genre and 4Fargo is no different in flipping his pain and anguish into cathartic art. The infectious “Ex for a Reason” is pretty self-explanatory with the father of two listing off why a toxic love has moved to his rear-view mirror. Misery loves company and Honey Bxby joins the party while showing off her vocal range. “Leavin’ you sounds like a lullaby/ Blockin’ all your numbers, don’t ask why/ Poppin’ all that shit know it’s a lie/ I’ma show you why you’re mine,” she powerfully sings. Give the charismatic 4Fargo a follow on Instagram for a look into his endearing personality, you won’t regret it. 

RealRichIzzo, “Free Key”

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Kicking off with an iPhone FaceTime call that immediately situates “Free Key” in media res, “Free Key” is one of the more potent storytelling moments of his new Welcome to Inkster album. In his ode to his guys, RealRichIzzo offers a peek into his high-octane life that brings him from place to place with just a moment’s notice. “Yeah, drop the lo’/ Ain’t no spots inside the rental, we gon’ stash ’em in the floor/
B—h, the striker on the way, mask up, we finna go/ Lil’ bro just called back, blow the light, it’s fo’ sure,” he rap-chants in the magnetic chorus, which simultaneously reads as play-by-play of him and his boys hitting a lick and functions as an irresistible hook. With Inkster, Michigan on his back, RealRichIzzo is staking a claim for himself at the forefront of the current Midwestern rap boom.

Andra Day, “Bottom of the Bottle”

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On this bluesy reflection on the swirling depths of memory only accessed by surrendering to the throes of alcohol, acclaimed multi-hyphenate Andra Day focuses on restraints over the room-shaking belts that shot her to fame. “I only see you when it’s last call/ I only see you when the house lights come on/ And you’re not only to blame, no/ Dazed and consumed by the wild flames/ Though we know it’s combustible,” she muses over plucky piano and steady percussion courtesy of an all-star team of producers, including Nando Raio, Shay Godwin, Dave Wood, Charles Jones, Caleb Morris and Spencer Guerra. With a deliciously nasal drawl in the spirit of Amy Winehouse, Day delivers an introspective midtempo that allows her to show off how effortlessly she freewheels between the different parts of her voice.