Nicki Minaj, Tate McRae, Guns N’ Roses – Billboard

Billboard’s Friday Music Guide serves as a handy guide to this Friday’s most important releases—the key music everyone will be talking about today and that will dominate playlists this weekend and beyond.

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Take a look

Check out the latest videos, rankings and news

Check out the latest videos, rankings and news

This week, Nicki Minaj celebrates another Pink Friday, Tate McRae unleashes her new era, and Guns N’ Roses are still in the studio. Check out all of this week’s picks below:

nicki minaj, Pink Friday 2

In the 13 years since the release of her debut album in 2010 Pink FridayNicki Minaj has established herself as an indispensable voice in the extended universe of modern hip-hop; Pink Friday 2a follow-up to that first full-length album, as well as Minaj’s first proper album since 2018, illustrates just how far she’s come stylistically and thematically, while confirming that all this time later, she still has rap circles around her competition. Pink Friday 2 it’s sometimes reflective (opener “Are You Gone Already” finds its hushed tone in a sample of Billie Eilish’s “When the Party’s Over”) and often features Minaj confidently singing—but few rap artists remain as adept at filling a blockbuster release with memorably giddy moments and from the gorgeous rehearsals to the full guest list to the talking bars, Pink Friday 2 is full of highlights.

Tate McRae, Think later

“Greedy” was more than Tate McRae’s first top 10 hit: The TikTok sensation turned streaming giant unlocked a confident dance-pop sound for the singer-songwriter who had already had radio hits for several years. New album Think later not only does it boast more rhythmic pop gems brought together into a cohesive whole – McRae worked with Ryan Tedder, Amy Allen and Jasper Harris for most of the album – but it also features a more comfortable-sounding McRae in his skin than ever, and the project benefits from this established identity.

Guns N’ Roses, “The General”

After releasing the single “Perhaps” earlier this year, Guns N’ Roses close out 2023 with another unreleased rocker: “The General,” which the band performed last month at the Hollywood Bowl, sounding more acidic and hacky than the classic GN ‘R, but Axl Rose’s voice and Slash’s riffs take the song in a new, exciting direction. After reuniting on stage and slaying stadiums, the Guns N’ Roses frontmen let their curiosity wander on a song like “The General,” and that’s always an exciting development.

Fred Again.. Featuring Baby Keem, “leavemealone”

Feel like you need to be alone, but don’t want to sit still while you do it? “leavemealone,” the frenetic new collaboration between Fred Again.. and Baby Keem, combines the producer’s sleek dance soundscapes and the rapper’s on-mic energy to create an anthem that lets you block out the world while moving at breakneck speed. Cutting Keem’s vocals from past songs “BULLIES” and “South Africa,” Fred makes the pastiche sound completely original and simplifies a song he’s already performed live.

Weight Feather & Anitta, “BELLAKEO”

To cap off a year in which he helped establish Mexican music as a major movement in the greater Latin music industry, Peso Pluma breaks out of his signature sound and connects with Anitta on a sensual reggaeton track. As ‘BELLAKEO’ seethes with the shared chemistry between the two stars and unfolds a hypnotic hook over hissing percussion, Peso Pluma showcases his range beyond a consummate professional like Anitta – he could have ended 2023 by doubling his sound and instead he hinted at expanding your aesthetic for the next year and beyond.

Editor’s Pick: Sarz feat. Asake and Guna, “Happiness”

Producer Sarz and singer-songwriter Asake are two of the leading voices coming out of the Nigerian music industry, and by linking up with Gunna for a euphoric year-end jam, both artists expand their reach while showcasing their natural sonic impulses. Fans of Asake’s awesome 2023 album Work of art will love “Happiness,” and for Gunna, who’s enjoyed a huge commercial year as the headliner himself, the single allows him to shine as a guest and score another hit before the clock runs out on 2023.

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