Billboard’s Friday Music Guide serves as a handy guide to this Friday’s most essential releases — the key music that everyone will be talking about today, and that will be dominating playlists this weekend and beyond.
This week, Quavo pays homage while moving forward, Hozier takes us to church (and the Inferno), and Doechii wants you to dance at all costs. Check out all of this week’s picks below:
Quavo, Rocket Power
Quavo’s nephew and Migos co-leader, Takeoff, was nicknamed “The Rocket” — and less than a year after the rapper was killed at the age of 28, his family member and group mate is drawing upon his thoughts and instincts as inspiration for his new solo album. Parts of Rocket Power are racked with grief, including the soulful highlight “Hold Me” and the memory-flooded title track, although Quavo also makes ample room in the sprawling full-length to celebrate life, as on the Future-assisted hit “Turn Yo Clic Up” and the crackling “Stain” with BabyDrill; ultimately, the album depicts a long-running rap star in a more complex light, and immediately makes the case as Quavo’s best solo project.
Hozier, Unreal Unearth
When Hozier revealed that his third studio album — which follows 2019’s Wasteland, Baby!, the first No. 1 album of his career — would be inspired by Dante’s Inferno and include passages sung in Irish Gaelic, fears that the “Take Me To Church” singer-songwriter was turning inscrutable were only natural. Yet Unreal Unearth not only showcases the strength of Hozier’s voice and songwriting, but also remains accessible to hardcore fans and casual alt-rock listeners, from the snappy single “Eat Your Young” to the gargantuan Brandi Carlile duet “Damage Gets Done” to the restrained grace of closer “First Light.”
Doechii, “Booty Drop”
“Shawty, what it is? / Bring that ass to the club,” Doechii commands on “Booty Drop,” a late bid for the summer’s most kinetic dance song. The Tampa native has shown promise as a recording artist and performer over the past year — signing with TDE, scoring an opening spot on Doja Cat and Ice Spice’s upcoming tour, and mesmerizing audiences whenever she hits the stage — but her latest single, a gleefully explicit take on the Jersey club style that never stops moving, might be the moment where her appeal spills over into the mainstream once and for all.
Addison Rae, AR EP
Although Addison Rae’s newly released EP rescues a handful of tracks intended for the influencer’s never-released debut album, AR does not sound like a collection of odds and ends: instead, the five songs engross the listener with fresh melodies and bursts of personality, showcasing the 22-year-old as a quick study within this brand of pop. “2 Die 4” with Charli XCX is the highlight — marvel at the mini-hooks jam-packed into that chorus! — but the whole project is worth bookmarking as the potential start of something big.
Anitta, Funk Generation: A Favela Love Story
When Anitta released her single “Funk Rave” in June, the Latin music star hinted that a deeper dive into Brazilian funk music would be both a way to honor her roots and a rewarding sonic exploration; with Funk Generation: A Favela Love Story, a three-song project that follows up “Funk Rave” with two new heaters, Anitta has more or less confirmed her suggestions. “Casi Casi” and “Used to Be” adopt different approaches — the former a chattering sashay, the latter a slow-building reflection — but Anitta excels at both tempos, and has us hoping for even more to come.
Editor’s Pick: FIFTY FIFTY feat. Sabrina Carpenter, “Cupid Twin Ver.”
Think of FIFTY FIFTY’s new version “Cupid,” featuring Sabrina Carpenter on the remix, as a well-earned victory lap for both artists: the K-pop group crashed the upper reaches of the Hot 100 chart with the undeniable sing-along, while Carpenter is a little over a year removed from Emails I Can’t Send, one of the strongest pop albums of 2022, and its viral hit “Nonsense.” Together, FIFTY FIFTY and Carpenter reinvent a rock-solid hit ever so slightly, as Carpenter slides into the second verse and handles that sugary “I gave a second chance to Cupiiiiiid!” hook with aplomb.