Honestly, February came and went. It feels unreal that we are already about to enter the third month of 2022. However, before trudging along, February delivered some musical spectacles that stopped me in my tracks! Let's take a look at my top 10 records for February.
1. Nicki Minaj & Lil Baby - Do We Have A Problem?
Hate her or love her (none of that is really my business), Ms. Minaj is back! After teasing the track towards the end of January, the Queen returned at the beginning of the month and went off in the best way on "Do We Have A Problem?" Teaming with Atlanta's finest, Lil Baby the two delivered easily one of the top songs of the year (so far). From the moment the beat dropped to the very end, I found myself wowed and in love with this record (no seriously, I play this every day).
The track arrives as Nicki's first lead single in a couple of years and she made sure to remind her fans, haters, and everyone else under the sun that the pen is still sharp, vicious, and untouched. Baby not only held his own along with Nicki but he elevated the track to even higher levels making me want to play it over and over. The 9-minute visual acts as a mini-movie that casts Nicki as an undercover agent given an assignment in which she plots with none other than Lil Baby. The video easily matches the grit and hardness of the song and makes for a nice story with a twist before transitioning into Baby & Nick's second single, "Bussin."
2. King Von & 21 Savage - Don't Play That
It's still unbelievable that King Von is no longer here with us. Despite his death, Von's legacy will live on forever. On his first posthumous release, Von teams up 21 Savage for the booming, "Don't Play That." The track was initially teased in 2020 when Von posted a snippet of the track on his Instagram page. Following the snippet, the track officially was released at the beginning of the month.
"Don't Play That" shows Von rapping about his day-to-day street life, sex, weapons, and more. Keeping the same energy, 21 Savage piggybacks off these themes adding his own zest and flair to the catchy track. The moment the production began and the beat dropped, I fell in love with the track. I wish Von were still here to celebrate its release and revel in his greatness, but again, his legacy will forever live on. The witty, animated visual tells the story in a more entertaining way while highlighting both 21 & Von's lyrics through stimulating graphics and vibrant colors. The song is utterly contagious and makes me feel like that guy. I have to do my due diligence and blast it to the utmost when I'm riding around.
3. YG - Scared Money (feat. J. Cole & Moneybagg Yo)
In case you didn't catch on, February was clearly the month of star collaborations. This next dope grouping arrived at the in-your-face "Scared Money." With the announcement of his sixth album, Pray For Me, YG went full throttle teaming with both J. Cole and Moneybagg Yo for this larger-than-life single.
Rapping about their wealth, flamboyant spending habits, and skills as artists, the trio of Bagg, YG, and Cole went off. Every verse was spectacular, filled with braggadocious lines, luxurious bars, and bold, hard-hitting verses. They each walk the very talk they spit and it shows in their various deliveries. From YG to Cole to Bagg, no one lacked on the record and it easily became one of my favorites of the month. The artistic vision/expression is very California-appealing and speaks directly to YG's artistry.
4. Nigo & A$AP Rocky - Arya
Keeping this energy of great collaborations, we arrive at the classy piano-heavy, trap-infused "Arya." Arriving as the first single from his I Know NIGO album, Kenzo's creative director, Nigo teamed up with the Pretty Mother F**ker himself, A$AP Rocky. The record is technically not a February release as it was released days before the new month. However, I found myself crazily obsessed with the track all February long.
The daddy-to-be effortlessly glides on the track with a set of pretty verses that encapsulate the fly swagger that is A$AP Rocky. His confident verses translate well in the elegant visual as well. Rocky reminds the world (including me) that the talent is still there, he's just having fun with this music stuff as he pleases... oh, and he's still that jiggy n***a that he proclaimed himself to be to us nearly 10 years ago.
5. Fivio Foreign, Kanye West, & Alicia Keys - City of Gods
You know those songs you don't expect to love but you ended up falling insanely into pure bliss with them? Yeah, Fivio, Kanye, and Ms. Alicia Keys did that for me with the incomparable "City of Gods." The collaboration marks the first ever of this trio together and literally makes for a great listen. Utilizing that popular drill-styled production we've associated with artists like Chief Keef, Fivio, Pop Smoke, and others, "City of Gods" takes a page from that book but adds this almost theatrical essence as well. The song pays homage to both Keys' and Fivio's beloved hometown of New York and its notable figures alive and gone. To be completely transparent, I really love this song more than I thought I would.
Fivio sets the tone early, bodying his verses with pure ease while Alicia sonically sounds amazing on both the chorus and outro. What really caught me off guard was Kanye. While his name has been in headlines for his outlandish actions, words, and social media antics, Mr. West decided to actually rap (like really rap) again on the track and I enjoyed every minute of it. The black and white visual left me with chills matching the tone, passion, and energy of the song while continuing to pay further homage to the land where dreams are made.
6. Jazmine Sullivan - Selfish
Slowing things down a smidge, February also blessed me with Jazmine Sullivan's Deluxe addition of Heaux Tales. From the deluxe, we were given both five new tales and five new songs. Although I love every song, the one that continues to swish around in my mind is "Selfish." "Selfish" is an ode to all of the fed-up women who are done with being manipulated, gaslighted, and mistreated by egotistic, self-centered men who don't deserve them. As always, Jazmine delivers an untouchable vocal display as she ministers to the very souls of everyone under the sound of her voice.
7. Alex Isley & Jack Dine - Love Again
It wouldn't be a JMW original without some R&B loving in the mix. If you have never heard of the phenomenon known to the world as Alex Isley, open your phone or whatever your source of music is, search her, add her, and enjoy her harmonic essence. Released on Valentine's Day, "Love Again" pairs both Alex Isley and Jack Dine together yet again for another monumental ballad of love. There truly aren't enough words to describe and explain Isley's beautiful vocal talent and artistry.
Along with Jack Dine, the two hit another out of the park as Isley looks to love again on the new single. Filled with light, warmth, and passion, she sings her heart out over Jack's twinkling production. She envisions what loving again will feel like both mentally and physically. She's literally one of my favorite R&B artists out and everything she creates is pure gold.
8. Kehlani - Little Story
Arriving as their first release of the year, Kehlani returned with the utterly moving, heart-warming "Little Story." The song is about the inner passions and warmth of love as Kehlani sings to their lover about wanting to be weaved into their personal story in which they are the author. Accompanied by a minimalistic black-and-white visual and a guest cameo from Kehlani's beautiful daughter, "Little Story" really grabbed my heart on the first listen and I have pretty much played this song every single day since its release. With their third album Blue Water Road approaching, Kehlani season is very near and I cannot wait.
9. Gunna - Banking On Me
Following the release of Gunna's Drip Season 4Ever, a deluxe edition was leaked merely days after the initial release containing this gem, "Banking On Me." However Mr. Drip or Drown made sure to handle that and remove it before officially releasing the solo single this month. The Metro Boomin-produced "Banking On Me" continues to display the bravado, swagger, and confidence we always see with Gunna. The record is so catchy that I found myself singing the chorus alone all day long subconsciously. Melodic and smooth, the song feels good. It makes me think of being out on vacation as warm Miami winds gently caress my face as I enjoy champagne and experience luxury.
10. Jack Harlow - Nail Tech
Louisville's undisputed champion is back! With his first release of 2022, Jack Harlow returned this month with his highly anticipated new single "Nail Tech." After releasing his amazing debut album and selling out his "Creme De La Creme" tour, the sheer success left him and the world wondering what's next. Well look no further, Harlow is back and even better. With clear vision, precision, and raw hunger, Harlow delivers one of the best releases of the month with "Nail Tech."
Rapping about his success, achievements, and flashy lifestyle, he shut down his critics with grace and confidence. Assured of himself and his skills, he walks with his head high unfazed/untouched by anyone's opinion. His delivery is unshakable. He believes every word he speaks and his demeanor imitates that of greats like Kanye West and Jay-Z. Along with amplifying both his words and thoughts the visual even gives viewers both the surprise and gift of City Girls' member, Yung Miami as she makes a brief cameo in the video.
I personally believe Harlow is up next. I can't wait to see him continue to make it to the top as the superstar he's already been.
As you can see, February left me with A LOT to say... This month really brought the heat with the music and it was such an exciting experience. The releases were incredible, the music and stories being told were dope and the bar was again set for the coming months. Stream JMW's Top 10 of February playlist below exclusively on Apple Music.