It is only halfway through 2022 and multiple artists are already filling this eventful season with new releases enough to fuel through the rest of the year.
Among this week’s stacked lineup of hip hop and R&B standout tracks are singer-songwriters Yuna and Jess Connelly, experimental hip hop musician JRLDM, rapper Saykoji, and hip hop groups LEGIT GOONS, SickJam, and Balming Tiger. Check them out below.
LEGIT GOONS – “데드스탁 (Dead Stock)”
South Korean hip hop group LEGIT GOONS finally released their fifth compilation album Family Sitcom last June 14, which includes the old-school East Coast-inspired cut, “데드스탁 (“Dead Stock”).
Last April, the group initiated crowdfunding for the album on Instagram, which quickly reached its target within weeks. The music video for “Dead Stock” dropped on June 15, and stars LEGIT GOONS members BLNK, Bassagong, Jaedal, Jayho, Sukjong Chang, and Gibum Lee. The track has a brisk but steady beat that, when mixed with the video’s darker mood lights, creates an effortless swagger that amplifies the group’s signature brash style.
Jess Connelly – “Better”
Filipino-Australian R&B artist Jess Connelly marked her birthday on June 15 with the release of her latest single, “Better,” produced by frequent collaborator LUSTBASS. The lo-fi piano-backed track drops her signature mellow vocals, accompanied by sensual lyrics that talk about being with a lover. It remains to be seen if “Better” will be part of a new album, along with her other recent singles such as “Risk” and “Over You,” both released in 2021.
Balming Tiger – “섹시느낌”
In their recent performance at Dingo Freestyle’s Wing Cypher series, self-pronounced alternative K-pop hip hop group Balming Tiger’s Omega Sapien, Mudd the student, and wnjn performed an unreleased track titled “섹시느낌” (Feeling Sexy).
Known for their unpredictable concepts and sultry vocals, the song features gentle simmering beats that complement a catchy melody and a familiar toned-down but aggressive ambiance. It was performed alongside “Just Fun!” and “Loop,” their comeback dual singles in 2021.
Yuna – “Make A Move”
Malaysian alternative R&B artist Yuna debuted her latest single “Make A Move” last June 10. In a statement, Yuna says that the song is “about meeting someone for the first time and you find yourself constantly thinking about them.” She further describes, “You know that even if this person knows your name, it’s not enough to spark something real, you have to make the first move to talk to them and do something before it’s too late or before the situation becomes a ‘could-have-been’.”
The song is accompanied by dreamy visuals in a purple galaxy, where Yuna stands on top of clouds, producing an ethereal concept to match the hypnotic groove of the song. “Make A Move” is part of her latest EP, Y2, the second installment of her Y5 project, a lead-up to a new album set to release within the year.
Coogie ft. LeeHi – “Alone”
South Korean rapper and songwriter Coogie released the three-track single ALONE on June 27. The title track features LeeHi and explores the end of a relationship with words such as “I’m okay to be left alone, okay, it’s okay”, affirming the artist’s need for space and healing.
The visual shows the Show Me the Money 777 alumnus bidding love goodbye, a fitting accompaniment to its melancholic lyrics. The song single is his second release under AOMG, which he signed under last January.
SickJam – “G.A.N.G.”
Three-piece Nepali rap group SickJam (whose 2021 single, “Hereko Herei,” was named one of HipHopDX Asia’s ’20 Best Music Videos’ last year) recently premiered the music video for their 2021 single “G.A.N.G.”.
A slow jam with deep vocals and subtle bass lines, the song speaks about individuality and solidarity through lyrics such as, “Imma ride with the G.A.N.G. – Gang / You survive with the G.A.N.G. – Gang / Still I fight for the G.A.N.G. – Gang / Till I die with the G.A.N.G. – Gang.”
Saykoji – “Kota Ku”
Indonesian rapper Saykoji released his new song “Kota Ku” on June 22, in time for Jakarta’s 495th founding anniversary, where it was also performed.
The song was created in collaboration with Jakarta’s Office of Tourism. With lyrics that translate to “This is my town. This is my home. Walk with me,” the song speaks of appreciation for the city. It is also accompanied by a music video that takes the viewer on a tour of Jakarta, showing its transportation, city lights, and skyscrapers.
JRLDM – “Biktima”
Two months after the release of his debut album Mood Swing (trigger warning: the album mentions suicide and mental health problems), Filipino hip hop artist Jerald Mallari, popularly known as JRLDM, premiered “Biktima” (Victim), a special single that, according to him, was “inspired by the current social landscape of the country.”
In an interview, he talked about his songwriting process for “Biktima” saying, “Kaya ko pa naman gumawa nung heavy vibes na hindi ko pinipilit ’yung sarili ko. ‘Biktima,’ heavy vibe pa rin siya. Pero chill ’yung dating. Sa mas matalino kong paraan at proseso ko ginawa. Kumbaga hindi mo na kailangan pilitin ’yung sarili mo. Pero nandu’n ka pa rin sa bigat mo. Pero hindi hassle ’yung proseso ng paggawa” (I can still make heavy vibes without forcing myself to. ‘Biktima’ still has a heavy vibe, but it’s more chill. I make it with a smarter process without having to force myself. The heaviness is still there, but the process of creating it is not a hassle anymore).
Header image: JDLRM, SAYKOJI, Jess Connelly/Spotify; SickJam, Coogie, Yuna, Balming Tiger/Instagram; LEGIT GOONS/Facebook