Last night (Feb. 11), not only did Megan Thee Stallion and Nicki Minaj‘s beef seemingly come to an end — the H-Town Hottie’s “Hiss” debuted atop the Billboard Hot 100 — the duo’s war of words took a backseat to a much more daunting showdown: the San Francisco 49ers v. the Kansas City Chiefs.

Ultimately, the Chiefs — led by star quarterback Patrick Mahomes and Taylor Swift‘s loverman Travis Kelce — pulled out a last-minute win over the 49ers. As thrilling of a game as the Super Bowl was, all eyes in the hip-hop and R&B worlds were squarely fixed on Usher‘s dazzling halftime performance. A flashy, maximalist ode to Black performance history and Las Vegas iconography, the King of R&B sprinted through his hit-packed catalog, including anthems such as “Superstar,” “U Got It Bad,” “OMG,” “Nice & Slow” and “Yeah!”

Of course, the top-level entertainer was in prime form, showing off intricate footwork and boundless sex appeal as he trotted out surprise guests such as Alicia Keys, H.E.R., Lil Jon, Jermaine Dupri and Ludacris. Between a major Grammy night for Victoria Monét and SZA — both ladies took home three trophies — and Usher’s three-pronged blitz of a killer halftime show, a star-studded new LP and a massive forthcoming headlining arena tour, R&B and hip-hop are starting off Black History Month with a bang.

With Fresh PicksBillboard aims to highlight some of the best and most interesting new sounds across R&B and hip-hop — from Honey Bxby’s blunt Other Woman™ anthem to Nardo Wick and Sexyy Red’s meme-interpolating “Somethin’.” Be sure to check out this week’s Fresh Picks in our Spotify playlist below.

Freshest Find: Honey Bxby, “Fkn Him Too”

While some of her contemporaries would rather cry over a toxic situationship, Honey Bxby is relishing the innate messiness of being the Other Woman™ on her new single. “I’m f—kin’ him too!/ I don’t know what you’re gonna do/ It’s time you heard the truth/ That he don’t belong to you,” she proclaims in the chorus. Reverb-drenched backing harmonies and a booming 808-laden trap&B beat provide the song’s foundation, and Honey paints across the soundscape with a tongue-in-cheek tone that highlights the jauntiness of the track’s “F—k You Tonight”-evoking melody.

Jermaine Dupri feat. Nelly, Ashanti & Juicy J, “This Lil’ Game We Play”

Reuniting Nelly and Ashanti for their first song together since 2008’s “Body on Me,” Jermaine Dupri delivers a joint that perfect captures the essence of the two stars’ era of R&B/hip-hop crossover collaborations. Assisted by Juicy J, Nelly and Ashanti contour Dupri’s Miami bass-inflected beat with heated lust as they wax poetic about the cat-and-mouse courtship game. To his credit, Juicy adds some of his trademark sexual brazenness to balance out the couple’s reliance on innuendo. “Don Julio, ass so fat, I might lose composure/ Take you back to my penthouse, see if you can squirt like a Super Soaker/ Gon’ head, touch your toes, baby, maybe we can do a little roleplayin’/ Maybe we can have us a night cap, maybe you can be my throat baby,” he rhymes.

Nardo Wick feat. Sexyy Red, “Somethin’”

If you’re a late Millennial or early Gen Z, you know the glory days of IceJJFish’s social media reign. On their new track, Nardo Wick and Sexyy Red team up for a hood love song that hinges on a sample of one of IceJJFish’s viral tracks. “It’s somethin’ ’bout my b—h I love, I can’t put my finger on it,” Nardo chants in the chorus, riffing on decade-old “On the Floor.” Over an ominous, piano-anchored beat, the two rappers trade vulgar, no-holds-barred verses about the things they love about their significant other. Sexyy maintains her hot streak of enjoyable guest verses, finessing some hilarious onomatopoeia-centric rhymes in the process. “Have a hood n—a singin’, “Fah-la-la”/ Let him hit the c—chie like grrah, grrah, grrah/ Swervin’ all in traffic, gettin’ freaky in the car/ If he try to leave me, then it’s bah-bah-bah,” she spits.

GloRilla, “Yeah Glo!”

It’s been some time since her dominant run of “F.N.F.,” “Blessed” and “Tomorrow 2” (with Cardi B), but GloRilla is back in top form with her latest single, “Yeah Glo!” A return to focusing on straightforward, unvarnished Memphis rap over too-obvious ploys for pop crossover success, “Yeah Glo” finds the Grammy nominee getting real busy over a rattling beat crafted by B100, Go Grizzly & Squat Beats. “Yeah, Glo! Stomp a lil’ p—y ho with some shell toes/ Slappin’ rap b—hes and makin’ bail, ho/ Two-tone Cartier match the nails, ho/ No competition, these b—hes stale, ho,” she chants in the chorus. Although she never specifies who exactly she slapped, her gruff Gangsta Boo-esque tone provides the perfect vehicle for her rambunctious rhymes.

Latto, “Sunday Service”

Not even a week after “Hiss” vs. “Big Foot,” the rap ladies are now treating us to… “Think U the S—t (Fart)” vs. “Sunday Service?” Although Latto has skirted around plainly labeling “Sunday Service” as a diss record, there are enough likely shots at fellow ascendant rap star Ice Spice to warrant that label. Across a trap-rooted beat courtesy of Go Grizzly, Pooh Beatz & Bankroll Got It, Latto spends her first verse rapping about her wealth and looks, but by the second verse, she’s focused on addressing those that would rather tweet than rap. “Do you rap or do you tweet? ‘Cause I can’t tell, get in the booth, b—h/ Stop all that motherf—n’ yellin’, ho/ ‘Cause I ain’t buyin’ what you’re sellin’, ho/ Think I’m the s–t? B—h, I know it, ho / Jesus walked on water, I got ice boilin’ though,” she spits.

Kith, Cam’Ron & Swizz Beatz, “Last Stop”

For the first-ever track under Kith Records, New York rap icons Cam’Ron and Swizz Beatz team up for a rousing new single titled “Last Stop.” Anchored by hearty drums and funky guitars, the Dipset frontman delivers several cocky couplets about his legacy, his sexual prowess, his rap skills and his unshakeable position as an elder statesman in the rap game. Even when he gets especially dirty — “Brought her friend with her, watch em eat each other out/ The way I f—ked her face, man, she gon’ need another mouth” — he makes sure to balance that out with more tasteful bars of good old fashioned New York braggadocio. “Different leader, same habits/ I know I’m what you want but you can’t have it/ You got bad habits, me I’m a bank magnet/ And the coupe roof missing like Frank Mathis,” he raps.

Usher, “I Am the Party”

A new cut from the R&B maestro’s Coming Home album — released the Friday before his Super Bowl halftime show (Feb. 9) — “I Am the Party” finds Usher in a familiar gear: dirty macking as the top player in the game. Through lyrics that run the gamut from corny to cheeky (“Club in my house, I call it G-spot”), Usher paints, alongside longtime collaborators Jermaine Dupri and Bryan Michael-Cox, gently toes the line between dated slogs and enjoyable throwback pastiche. As per usual, Usher’s voice is the main attraction; he delivers a vocal performance so committed to the song’s eternal bachelor bit that you can’t help but be overwhelmed by his melismatic charisma. Oh, and who can resist, a nice warning shot to the competition: “N—as talmbout Verzuz with me, please stop/ Know you think he is, but baby, he’s not,” he croons.

Kyle-Brandon Denis
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