This Fresh Finds Fridays column curated by Flisadam Pointer, features released from Usher, Ciara, Halle, Snoh Aalegra, Kevin Ross, Otis Kane, and Destin Conrad.

Check out this week’s roundup below. Don’t forget to let us know who you’re listening to below in the comment section.

Usher – “Good Good” feat. 21 Savage and Summer Walker

Usher is calling for a cease-fire for all former lovers. Although the Grammy Award-winning singer and his Las Vegas residency has stirred up weeks of debate on relationship podcasts, he isn’t here for the drama. In his new song, “Good Good,” featuring Summer Walker ad 21 Savage, he demonstrates that breakups can be amicable.  

“Who knew it’d be like this? / Usually my exes turn to enemies / But this is different / ‘Cause we done got closer now that you ain’t with me (Oh) / All that love that we had / Ain’t no way we gon’ forget that / And your family love me like I’m family / You know where you stand with me / So when they ask, tell ’em,” sings Usher. 

The track produced by Mel & Mus is the follow-up to his song “Glu,” co-written and produced by Sean Garrett. Despite initially teasing his unreleased track “Comin’ Home” in the promotional clip to announce the extension of his partnership with Rémy Martin, fans certainly aren’t upset with the creative decision to drop “Good Good” instead.

Usher and Walker make magic together. If you ever doubted that, just listen to their 2019 track, “Come Thru,” which features Usher’s classic 1997 single “You Make Me Wanna.”  Whereas 21 Savage’s admiration for Usher shined in his approach to his featured verse.

Decades in Usher is still undeniably the king of R&B.

Ciara – “How We Roll” feat. Chris Brown

Ciara has officially entered album mode. Her past releases, “Better Thangs” featuring Summer Walker, “Da Girls,” and now, “How We Roll” with Chris Brown, paint the picture of what her Ci Ci album will deliver.

“How We Roll” is Ciara and Chris Brown’s long-awaited musical reunion. The track, produced by Theron Thomas, Deli Banger, Mr. Kamera, Precision Productions, and Ciara, is a seamless pick-up from their 2009 team-up via “Turntables.” 

As Ciara sings, “Yeah, top off, summer in the wind / You look at me like that again, we make another kid / You my heart, I’m your rib / If I ever had to for you, I would do a bid / And I can tell that you’re ready / Three, two, one, it’s goin’ down like confetti / Pour the ten to one shots again / If we film it on the phone, promise that we’re gonna trend,” she loving dedicates the verse to her husband, Russell Wilson.

Back in April, Chris teased that the collaboration with his longtime friend was coming on Instagram, but fans still managed to be blown away by the final result, especially the high-energy supporting visual.

Halle – “Angel”

As the star of The Little Mermaid’s live-action remake, Halle demonstrated what she’s vocally capable of as a soloist shutting up all critics upset over her casting. Now, with the release of her debut solo single, “Angel,” she pulled from that tremulous time to craft a self-love anthem.

Co-written by Halle, Coleridge Tillman, and Theron Feemster, “Angel,” is embracing who you are despite what the world says. “Do you ever make it out of your head? / Do you still swim in your thoughts? / Do you still mistake your flaws for property? / Somethin’ that just don’t sit right with you / But Heaven knows, Heaven knows / Your wings can’t weigh you down,” sings Halle. 

The lyrics speak to the pressure Halle’s faced over the last year. As she attempts to minimize herself or hide from the mission that she’s been assigned to her higher authority, superstardom is something Halle’s destined for. No one can deter that – it has been pre-written. 

Producer TheRon “Neff-U” Feemster found the middle ground of the Chloe x Halle sound to keep the listener comfortable while still giving Halle room to build upon it.  “Angel” is orchestric, climax, and grand, all the components necessary for Halle’s I’ve arrived moment. 

Snoh Aalegra – “Sweet Tea”

Last month was not a one-off return for Snoh Aalegra. The singer’s new single, “Sweet Tea,” could be an indication that she has something in store. Producers NO I.D. and Greg Phillinganes work with Aalegra on the flowing ballad. 

While “Be My Summer” and “Sweet Tea” both rely on the delicate strokes of a piano, on the latter, Aalegra pulls back on the pops of bass to give her gentle harmonies more room to build. There are atmospheric differences between both ballads, but the imaginative songwriting is consistent. Ariowa Irosogie and Snoh Aalegra’s chemistry is undeniable. 

“You make no sense (Makes sense) / So perfect, it makes no sense / And I don’t know what this is, but you’re pure magic / And that sweet tea is sweeter than you, sweeter than you (Boy) / Sweeter than you / It feels like I’m dreamin’, dreamin’ (Dreamin’) / But my dreams ain’t sweeter than you,” sings Aalegra. 

Even if you’re a skeptic of love’s power, with each release, Snoh Aalegra chips away at the heart of any doubter.

Kevin Ross – “Ready For It” feat. Eric Bellinger

In the past few months, countless rappers have boasted about how quickly they can turn around music. But they aren’t the only musicians with that unique talent. Singer, producer, and songwriter Kevin Ross can do it as well. Quiet as it’s kept, Ross does it all without a dip in quality. In May, the entertainer dropped his EP Midnight Microdose Vol. 1, now he’s back with a new song, “Ready For It.” As he dismantles the negative rumblings of the current dating market, Ross isn’t alone in his crusade as he taps Eric Bellinger to assist. 

When asked about the inspiration behind the track produced by Yaahn Hunter Jr. and Chase Farley, Ross told ThisIsRNB in a statement, “I just wanted to make a bop that wasn’t completely toxic. Men can still be clear in their intentions for love without it being perceived as soft or corny.”

The pair’s emotionally intelligent approach is refreshing to swarm over in the never-ending pool of acid pool of romantic love. When Ross explores the topic, he chose the road of transparency, as he sings,  “Took me a while just to get it / Swore that my love was off-limits / Before you, I had that come and see business / ‘Cause nothin’ ever was worth a revisit / ‘Til I saw you (You) / All you (Sheesh) / It’s what make me better, couldn’t get my sh*t together / Watched it fall through, ’til I lost you / Hope it ain’t too latе to hear me now.”

Bellinger’s approach is one of remorse. He acknowledges the harm his actions have caused in the past but is happy that he and his lover were able to work things out. “Had to get it all out of my system / Hope you understand my position / I was on bullsh*t / But now I see you part of the vision / It’s concrete, our foundation (Ooh) / Girl, you make me better, had a dream you my Coretta / Gotta thank you for your patience / It’s official now,” sang Bellinger.

During our interview with Ross, he revealed that he’s hard at work on a new project, “Ready For It,” could be the first step to that body of work.

Alina Baraz – “Keep Me In Love”

Alina Baraz shocked fans when she teamed up with Austin Millz for his single “Breathless.” But her solo return has finally arrived. For the first time since her 2021 EP Moongate, the singer has dropped a new single. Baraz’s latest record, “Keep Me In Love,” is a heavenly reminder of what fans have been missing. 

Known for her dreamy vocals, producers Dante Jones and Sol Was provided the perfect pocket for Baraz to effortlessly float across. The track, co-written by Alina Baraz, Dante Jones, and Mary Weitz, is about knowing your value and not settling for anything less. 

“My love (Love), won’t give it all up for free / You’ll need (You’ll need), my trust (My trust) bеfore you receivе / I played it safe, I had my fun, but that’s not really what I want / I know there’s so much more that’s meant for me,” sings Baraz.

It isn’t clear if Alina Baraz is working on a new project, but after hearing this track, you’d be a fool not to ask for one. 

Destin Conrad – “Outta Control”

Destin Conrad’s booming career is the by-product of discipline and dedication. Conrad won’t let anything derail that progress, not even love. His new single, “Outta Control,” plainly lays that out. While the musician is open to the idea of high-stakes love, however, he isn’t going to be duped into a losing hand. The track, written by Conrad, is an outline of his willingness to take a gamble on a notorious heartbreaker. 

“My homies said you’d play around / And all our mutual friends, they heard about it / And I see how you did what’s his name / You so unashamed, but you met your f*cking match, no flame / I’ma show you how to keep a good thing going, oh,” sings Conrad.

Pulling in the producers Louie Lastic and Ghetto Kids, “Outta Control” is Conrad’s follow-up to his collaborative track “To This Day” with Musiq Soulchild for Spotify Sessions as well as his solo record “Switch.”

Otis Kane – “Smile”

Otis Kane is a man of many talents. One of the most widely appreciated is his ability to create an infectious record. His latest single, “Smile,” is a glaring example of that skillset. Typically, Kane’s releases follow the R&B blueprint of a lovestruck bachelor. However, at the center of this love story is Kane’s passion for music. 

In a post uploaded to Instagram, the singer spoke about the inspiration behind “Smile,” writing, “This song is about my relationship with music. My whole life, music has brought me so much joy, and now I get to make music and bring joy to everyone else. I feel honored and blessed to be able to do what I do and thankful to be able to share my gifts with the world.”

Throughout the lyrics to the track, which was co-written and produced by Kane and D Mills, the musician expresses just how music has impacted him. The opening of the song focuses on Kane’s fervor for the craft, which predates his 2019 debut. While the second verse is poetically narrated from the perspective of music if it could speak directly to Kane. 

“I’ve always known that there would be something better / I’ve always known that I’d find myself with something like you / Many feel it’s going to rain forever / I’ll be there to get your through / ‘Cause I can’t / I can’t seem to get you off my mind / Just know when things get hard baby / I’ll always make you smile,” sings Kane.

“Smile” is the latest in the grouping of singles Kane dropped over the months, including “Pieces” in May and “Kaleidoscope” in April.


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