This Fresh Finds Fridays column curated by Flisadam Pointer features releases from Victoria Monét, Jordan Ward, Jordan Hawkins, Brent Faiyaz & Coco Jones, Charlotte Day Wilson & Snoh Aalegra, Jesse Boykins III, Kyle Dion, and Shaé Universe.

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

Victoria Monét – Jaguar II

Victoria Monét is attacking the R&B space with full force. The singer’s highly-anticipated major label debut album, Jaguar II, is available for devouring. The 11-track project features the singles “Smoke” featuring Lucky Daye, “Party Girls” featuring Buju Banton, and the beloved song “On My Mama.” As the official follow-up to its fan revered predecessor,  on Jaguar II, Monét is hoping to solidify her stop as R&B’s next breakout star. 

With an impressive guest appearance by the legendary group Earth, Wind & Fire, one of Monét’s musical inspirations, on “Hollywood” alongside her sweet toddler Hazel Monét, she put her best foot forward. Several topics including navigating the business side of music, romantic love, and motherhood, Jaguar II has something for everyone to enjoy. The standouts being “On My Mama” and “Hollywood” as both show Monét’s deeply personal approach to music.

During an interview with Apple Music’s Dotty, the singer explained why she carried over the title from her 2020 EP, saying, “The reason why I named my [initial project] ‘Jaguar’ is because like the [animal] I felt like feel unseen, behind the bushes. Now, it’s my time to pounce and be in front. Attack. Be in front of the light. Be that seductress that calls upon me all the things that I want to manifest.” 

Jordan Ward – Moreward (Forward)

The road recording artist Jordan Ward has traveled to arrive at the point he’s at today wasn’t easy. As a St. Louis native and now Los Angeles-based entertainer, the alternative R&B rising star has remained dedicated to achieving his goals. In March, on his debut album, Forward, Ward told fans all about his journey. 

Now, just a few short months later, he’s back with the deluxe project executive produced by Lido, Moreward, because there were too many things left unsaid. Adding onto the eclectic palate already laid, the new tracks including “Mustard” with 6lack, “Zoomies” and “Webbie” with Easton Fitz round out the story previously behind told especially, “Mustard.”

Although the modifications were kept to a minimum from the original body of work, Ward took to Instagram to share his reasoning behind the decision to rerelease. “Los Angeles 3-pac. I f*ckin love these songs. I made them while finishing the [initial] album. [But I’ve] been wanting to drop these sh*ts,” wrote Ward. Fans surely agree with the call to drop the additional tracks.

Jordan Hawkins – Do It To Me EP

 Jordan Hawkins is R&B’s Energizer Bunny. Instead of taking rest between releases he’s found a way to feed the dreaded streaming platform’s ever-changing algorithm by finding a clever way to craft a few bangers but repackaging in his older loose singles. This pattern continues on his new EP “Do It To Me.” 

Hawkins previously released records “Bad Gurl,” “Can’t Fake What You Feel” with Duckwrth, and “Super Power,” all make an appearance on the 4-track project making the title track “Do It To Me” the only new creative work. However, with the addition of “Do It To Me,” every other track sounds refreshed. Could it be a sonic treat? Yes. Will you care that my ears are being deceived? Not in the slightest. In fact, you would come to admire what Hawkins is doing as an independent artist navigating the relentless jungle that is the music industry. 

Brent Faiyaz – “Moment Of Your Life” featuring Coco Jones

Fans have been quite literally begging Brent Faiyaz for new music and he’s finally obliged. But instead of the R&B bad boy focusing on himself, he tapped rising singer Coco Jones to craft up something. On Faiyaz’s new single, “Moment Of Your Life,” which was produced by Dpat, Mannyvelli & Sparkheem, the pair pay homage to Nicole Wray sampling her 1998’s track “Boy You Should Listen.”

Even before the release of Faiyaz 2022 album Wasteland fans jokingly dubbed him R&B’s most toxic bachelor but on this record, he’s showing that it takes two to tango. Both he and Coco are up for one night of passion so long as it is between them.

As Faiyaz sings, “You lookin’ better than you ever did / If you told me the secret, I would spread that shit to every girl that I meet / So they would know how to be / That shit tastes fresher than a peppermint / If you want me to kiss it, I’m not hesitant,” he may not tell the world but he’s open to a little pillow talk.

Coco, on the other, is not, as she belts, “Tonight, baby boy, you lookin’ better than you evеr did / I’ll show you my secrets, can you handle it? / I don’t wanna hidе / Always been a good girl, but I got a bad side / Can I show you, baby? I’ma guarantee you won’t forget / I don’t want a taste, I want the whole damn thing.”

“Moment Of Your Life” is another lustful Brent Faiyaz soundtrack to add to your late-night playlist.

Charlotte Day Wilson – “Forever” featuring Snoh Aalegra

After two long years, Charlotte Day Wilson is gracing R&B lovers with her musical presence. Following the release of her 2021 album, ALPHA, the Canadian singer has traveled the world embarking on live performances and more. Not, only is she back with a new single to thank fans for their patience, but Wilson has rewarded them with a collaboration they’ve long since requested.  

Wilson’s new record, “Forever,” with Snoh Aalegra is her first billed drop. Last year, she popped up as a guest vocalist on SG Lewis’ “Fever Dream” and Lil Silva’s “What If? / Leave It” but Wilson was just helping to guide the creative boat that had already sailed. On “Forever,” co-produced by Wilson & Jack Ro, she’s the creative captain in charge of the mood. The direction decided upon was the bumpy tides of love. 

As Wilson sings, “I’m livin’ lost in love ’cause I change my mind too much / Forever’s not enough, forever’s not enough / Friends say, I’m the girl that’s / All the time in the world wouldn’t be enough / And I’m bein’ patient to the point that / There’s no promise you can make / To keep a hold of us,” she confesses that love isn’t as evasive as others think. Matter of fact, in some cases, losing out on its bliss could be your own fault.

Snoh, on the other hand, is yet again given the short end of the stick as love pulls away from her, or so she sang in the stanza, “Tell me can I ever believe you? Tell me? / ‘Cause you change your mind whenever I need you, baby / I’m out of my mind every time that I take you back, you know? / No sense in tryin’, I know I can’t help myself ’cause.”

Welcome back, Charlotte Day Wilson. You were indeed missed.

Jesse Boykins III – “Honestly, I’m A Threat”

When Jesse Boykins III returned from his hiatus in May, no one could have expected the abundance of musical offerings he would have in a storm. To ease supporters into his anticipated return, he reimagined the COLORS fan favorite “No Love Without You.” He then flexed his sultry falsetto on records “Kind And Nasty,” and “No P*ssy For Losers.”

If we loved any of those three tracks, just know he’s not done. Boykins’ new Two Inch Punch, and Sohn-co-produced single, “Honestly, I’m A Threat” is the juicy cherry on top. The bass-heavy track holds a steady groovy as Boykins rapidly changing vocal inflections create a polarizing contrast as the song’s story finds remains at the center. Boykins makes it clear that he’s the knight in shiny armor ready to wrestle romance into submission as he sings, “Love I brought two umbrellas / I know you used to bad weather / Its so cold in old November / Keep you warmer than your lucky sweater yea / I know you’re used to low but Imma get you high today / See backwards never works in nicer in the sky with me”

In a statement shared with ThisIsRNB, Boykins opened up about the inspiration behind “Honestly, I’m A Threat,” saying, “The song is about awakening, how fighting for what you love is undoubtedly one of the most inspiring things we can experience in this life. The initial intention behind the writing was to express showing up and executing at a high level so there is no comparison to the past events. We were all in a room just speaking on how getting looked over can easily happen if you don’t demand the space and honor your own efforts.”

Jesse Boykins III listeners need to keep their eyes peeled as a fun announcement is heading their way. 

Kyle Dion – “Boyfriend Jeans”

When the heart is locked down by one person it’s hard to break those chains. For Kyle Dion even a declared relationship status couldn’t do the trick. On his new single, “Boyfriend Jeans,” which was co-produced by Dion, Ziggy Stry, and Blake Strauss, he lays out that sometimes his love just doesn’t know any bounds.  

The funky bass and angelic pop harmonies nearly make you open to the idea of getting involved in a lover’s quarrel. However, as you listen to the song’s lyrics inked by Dion, Strauss, Buchanan Westover, and Stry you’re quickly snapped out of it recognizing the unavoidable headache it will induce.   

Even as Dion, sings, “Why you keep him around when you know that you’re into me too? / If we keep doin’ this, he gon’ end up in therapy / You should tell him it’s not workin’ / I can tell you don’t get what you need / If I have to be that person / I’ma get you out your boyfriend’s jeans,” it’s clear he’s nearly fed up. 

“Boyfriend Jeans” is Kyle Dion’s first solo release of 2023 following behind his 2022 album, Sassy Deluxe.

Shaé Universe – “Passenger Princess”

As the old wives’ tale goes, when a woman’s fed up nothing can stop her from moving on. British Nigerian singer Shaé Universe’s new single, “Passenger Princess,” produced by TSB, is her recounting of the day when decided enough was enough. The musician excels at storytelling providing women with the support they need to graduate to better.

When you’re confronted with the hellish truth that the person you love is no longer or was never the best option for you it is best to deal with it then and there. For Shaé this moment arose during a long car ride. “I never played ’bout you / I just don’t understand why you didn’t appreciate me when you had me / Now we’re both stuck in a time lapse, wishin’ I could turn the clock back / I know you’re gonna miss how I did it like that / I miss it too, I can’t run from the truth, I’ve decided,” sings Shaé.

The chorus’ stanza, “Front seat with you, while we ridin’ / My mind, it goes back in time and / Right now, I can’t break (I can’t break) down / So I just reminisce now, it’s bittersweet / Backseat with you on my mind and, I know you know” is the final nail in the coffin. Shaé has cut the last emotional heartstring.

Shae told Complex UK, “[It] was birthed from bittersweet feelings about my ex at the time. He’d sent me roses all the way from LA and I still wasn’t over everything we’d been through when I received them so I put all my mixed emotions into this song.”

Prior to the release of “Passenger Princess,” Shaé Universe’s last drop was the record “Give Me A Break” featuring Ayotemi just after her 2022 album, Unorthodox.


*Post cover art credit: Jamie Bruce (@byjamiebruce)

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