Over the weekend, all eyes were on Roots Picnic 2023 thanks to Usher’s epic feature to The Mann Center in Fairmount Park. This week was all about enjoying the new age of pleasure due to Janelle Monáe’s latest album. The “Lipstick Lover” singer was the only musician to release a new project. 

Roc Nation’s Maeta questioned what does it mean she heard her lover’s name. Tiffany Gouché found their way back to their solo discography. Mahalia encouraged JoJo to cheat on her new single. Def Jam’s LAVI$H wants fans to know: ‘You Made A Big Mistake’ sleeping on him. Jesse Boykins III was equal parts kind and nasty. Ye Ali argued that good girls are overrated. Kwaye patiently waited for the pendulum to swing in his favor. Lastly, Imani is coming for the number one, two, and three spots on R&B playlists.

Check out this week’s selection for ThisIsRnB presents Fresh Finds Fridays. 

Maeta – “When I Hear Your Name”

Given the nickname ‘inspiration’ by music legend Pharell, Maeta had a great deal of pressure on her shoulders to deliver on her new album, When I Hear Your Name. The 13-track project reads like a who’s who of industry bigwigs. 

Everyone from The-Dream, Camper, KAYTRANADA, OG Parker, Oak Felder, and Charlotte Day Wilson has contributed to different parts of When I Hear Your Name’s production. On the other hand, SZA, Demi Lovato, and more penned songs for the album. Free Nationals, Lucky Daye, Ty Dolla $ign, Ambré, and James Fauntleroy all make a vocal appearance. Stripping away the all-star lineup, When I Hear Your Name at its core is a stellar project.

Maeta’s undeniable range highlights why Roc Nation was so quick to throw its support behind her. Prior to the album’s release, singles “Through The Night” featuring Free Nationals and “S(EX)” were strong starting points for new fans. But, When I Hear Your Name as a whole is much more dynamic than those two tracks show. 

In a message posted to Instagram, Maeta shared what the project means to her. “After years in the making, my project, When I Hear Your Name is out. I am so incredibly proud of this project. It is my best work yet. And I got to work with some amazing people. I can’t wait for you to hear me talk my sh*t,” wrote Maeta.

Tiffany Gouché – “The Found Album”

Absence makes the heart grow fonder, and fans of Tiffany Gouché were desperately yearning for new music. Although the singer has remained active, producing tracks for other artists, including Robert Glasper and Kenyon Dixon, to name a few. However, the drought for solo music from Tiffany has come to an end. For the first time in over eight years, Tiffany Gouché has shared a new full-length project, The Found Album

To be fair, the musician’s last single, “We Gon Live It,” was released in September 2022. However, across the project’s 14 tracks, Gouché shows a whole new side of themselves. The Found Album is primarily produced by Tiffany, featuring guest production THX, JLBS, and DK. 

With beautiful songwriting, angelic harmonies, and hypnotic instrumental selection, The Found Album has it all. The standout track from the body of work was “Trippin.” On Instagram, Tiffany Gouché announced the album by writing, “I produced and wrote every record outside of the other producers [listed],” continuing on Twitter, “My Dad loves my album, so I know it’s good. He doesn’t like much, lol.”

Mahalia – “Cheat” feat. JoJo

Relationships can be challenging. But not as difficult as trying to win Mahalia’s love back. The singer teamed up with JoJo on her new single, “Cheat,” to create a playbook on how to deal with a deceitful lover. 

“You swear you’re innocent, but that’s not the case / You’ve got the guilt written all over your face / You busybody, you can’t stay in one place / You were out romancing and now asking for one more chance,” sings Mahalia.

Although the video for the track pays homage to Brandy & Monica’s 1998 “The Boy Is Mine” aesthetic. The song was co-produced by JD. Reid and Spencer Stewart sonically leans more towards the early 2000s sound. 

Excited about the collaboration, Mahalia ran to Instagram to thank JoJo further, posting, “I couldn’t be more excited about this song and this release! JoJo, thank you for blessing me with all that you are 🥹 I’m still pinching myself watching this back! Thank you. Thank you. Thank you!”

LAVI$H – You Made A Big Mistake

As the summer creeps up and everyone’s inner-City Girl/Boy beings to thaw out. For  LAVI$H, it is the complete opposite. On his debut EP You Made A Big Mistake, the Def Jam signee isn’t afraid to be vulnerable.    

Across the project’s 7 tracks, LAVI$H uses his bleeding heart as the ink to these emotionally raw songs. With a blend of vocal melodies, LAVI$H lets his hurt be his creative compass throughout the project. Amongst the songs, the absolute standout is “Seventeen.” A track all about a love lost as he sings, “We were young / Way too young / For what we did / Oh, we lived it up / Smoking in your rundown Chevrolet / Yo mama didn’t approve of me / ’Cause I would make a fool of me / Oh, but we lived / And you stood by me.”

The EP features production from Akeel Henry, Yonatan Watts, Michael ‘Trizz’ Williams, and more. Simply put, R&B fans need to keep their eye out for LAVI$H.  

LAVI$H wanted to let fans know that this project would not have been possible without the support of his team. The musician penned a touching message to his team on Instagram, writing, “I used to always say, ‘I’m gonna disappear and make some of my best music ever.’ It wasn’t until I met @chubbsview a few years ago that we did just that. We put our heads down & came up with a body of work so incredible that life drastically changed,” adding, “In the past couple of years, we built an unstoppable machine off of this project alone. This is a project built off unquestionable belief, sheer will, simply trying things & love.”

Jesse Boykins III – “Kind & Nasty”

Twitter after dark may no longer be a thing, but if it was up to Jesse Boykins III, it would see a steamy comeback. The singer’s new single, “Kind & Nasty,” is not safe for work. There’s no beating around the forbidden bush; the track is about the euphoric pleasure of bumping pelvises.

Following up on his previously released song (“No Love Without You”), this track was co-produced by Los Hendrix and NEZ, Jesse Boykins III is in his pleasure era like Janelle Monáe. 

Boykins uploaded a video to Instagram explaining the sexual nature of the track, saying, “I just wanted to write something to your late-night creep playlist. Your booty call playlist. Your I’m down to do anything, anytime, anywhere playlist. If she tells you to pull her hair playlist. You know, just those joints where things go down how they’re supposed to. So, I wish you well, and I would only advise you to proceed with pleasure.”

Ye Ali – “Good Girls”

Los Angeles-based singer and songwriter Ye Ali’s love for the ladies is well-documented. His new single, “Good Girls,” produced by CJ Francis IV, shows just what type of women can win his heart over. However, don’t be misled by the song’s title. Co-written by Von Waters, “Good Girls” is Ali’s first release in nearly a year, and it was worth the wait.  

As he sings, “I know it’s been a while / Since you had someone to keep you satisfied / It wast get lonely on the prowl / Said you want it now / Cause I got that thing to keep you running,” you know what’s about to go down in the remaining 2 minutes of the tracks. 

Ye Ali wastes no time. He is getting straight to it. If he keeps up this energy outside of his music, who knows maybe a new project could be in store before the year is over. 

Kwaye – “Pendulum”

Kwaye is one of the international musical acts to keep on your radar. His EP Blue Days, which was released last year, etched the singer into the larger musical conversation. Now, Kwaye is looking to keep that going with a new single, “Pendulum.”

If you enjoyed his song “Too Late,” which dropped in March, then you’ll fall in love with “Pendulum.” The track is a sassy yet danceable dig at those who didn’t value the love you had to offer as Kwaye sings, “I’m tearing at the seams / You gave your love away for free / What fool does that make me? / He never liked you the way I do.” 

The musician took to Instagram to say, “With pride, we transform. ‘Pendulum,’” adding, “On day 1, Sega Bodega and I took something completely acapella and created a new world of a sound. This one will always be special.”

IMANI – “2,3”

Being a sucker for love is not a trend Imani wants any part of. The London singer has learned all she needs to know about love’s harsh sting. On her single, “2,3” co-produced by OG Parker and GRy, the musician channeled the lessons she was taught into an arrogant new bop. 

Co-written by Kali Claire, Imani brags that two or three can play this game as she sings, “It’s clear now that you ain’t never been out with a lady / And I’m a lady / You’re just a homie acting like you’re irreplaceable / Oh no, not at all.” When the chorus comes in, the talents drops the mic, singing, “I thought you were the one / But now I keep like two-three / Baby, I’m going to do you like you do me.”

Overjoyed to share the song with fans, Imani took to Instagram to share a short message about the track. “When someone else’s closed heart tempts you to close your own, self-love gon save you every time,” said Imani.

 In another post, the recording artist jokingly wrote, “I’m really not sorry for how toxic this song is about to be.”

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