HOT 97 is a platform that strives for inclusivity and diversity. In this music column, some of the best international musicians that are impacting listeners here in the U.S will be highlighted each week.
J-Hope feat. J. Cole - "On The Street"
BTS member J-Hope has collaborated with J. Cole for his new single "On The Street." This song expresses gratitude towards the fans who helped make the K-pop star who he is now. “Even my walk was made of your love and your faith,” he says to his fans. J. Cole then comes in during the second verse as he looks back with appreciation on his journey: “All hail the mighty survivor of hell…/ Fought tooth and a nail/ Just to prevail mongst it’s ruthless.”
One of the best parts of the song is the catchy whistle hook and according to a press release, the whistling was provided by J-Hope himself. In the music videos, both rappers are seen hanging out in the subway and streets of New York City. J-Hope has always shared his admiration for his favorite rapper J. Cole.
Libianca feat. Ayra Starr and Omah Lay - "People"
For the remix of her breakout single "People," Cameroonian-American singer Libianca teamed up with Nigerian singers Ayra Starr and Omah Lay. The original, which was inspired by her mood disorder cyclothymia, first became viral on TikTok and peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard U.S. Afrobeats Songs chart. “I’ve been drinking more alcohol for the past five days. Did you check on me, Now, did you look for me? I walked in the room, eyes are red and I don’t smoke banga. Did you check on me Now, did you notice me,” she sings.
In a recent interview, Libianca opened up about how she didn’t expect the outpouring of her personal emotions to become a global hit. “I was going through a lot during Thanksgiving week and felt so unseen. Nobody noticed what was going on," the 2021 "The Voice" contestant said. "I remembered thinking, I have to stay consistent with my content on social media, so I can’t afford to sit around in my emotions right now. So I walked past my room to the studio, found a beat and recorded it.”
Vybz Kartel feat. Masicka - "Shootaz"
Dancehall artists Vybz Kartel and Masicka are back with another collaboration since their 2017 hit "Infrared." Their new single "Shootaz," produced by Adidjahiem Records, is the typical "badman" anthem. Both artists manage to seamlessly introduce a number of various flows. This collaboration came at pivotal points in both these Jamaican natives' lives. Masicka, originally an independent artist, was recently signed to Def Jam Recordings. Meanwhile, Vybz Kartel, while still being a consistent artist behind bars, encountered a major hiccup during his quest for freedom. An application to introduce fresh evidence to overturn his murder conviction was denied.
Lojay - GANGSTER ROMANTIC
Nigerian singer Lojay has finally released his highly anticipated EP GANGSTER ROMANTIC. The seven-track includes hit songs "MOTO," "LEADER!" and "CANADA" featuring DJ Maphorisa, Herc Cut The Lights and Kabza De Small. This project as a whole has influences of Afrobeats, amapiano, and R&B.“For one, [GANGSTER ROMANTIC] was just an expression of a lot of negative emotions from past relationships,” Lojay told Apple Music. “The album is very brutal, honest, raw and rough. It gives off this gangster vibe, but is still a very romantic project.”
Look out for more each week. What are your thoughts so far?