Cardi B’s All-Star Team-Up, and 9 More New Songs

An event record that sounds like an off-the-cuff late-night studio session, “Hot ____” is lean verging on spare, measured verging on reticent. Individually, everyone’s verse is frisky, but Cardi B’s the most so — she plays with pattern, and tosses off some sharp barbs (“I don’t know what’s longer, man, my block list or my checklist/I don’t know what’s colder, man, my heart or my necklace”). This is Cardi at her most straightforwardly skillful, and it also nods back to one of the most appealing qualities of her 2018 debut album, “Invasion of Privacy”: the way in which it, subtly and directly, aligned her with traditionalist New York- style hip-hop, a gesture aimed at naysayers. Are there any left, though? JON CARAMANICA

Romantic breakups are hard; the collapse of a label deal can be just as brutal and even more expensive. “A pen is a gun,” the English R&B songwriter Raye notes in “Hard Out Here.” She drew on her rejection her by the Polydor label, after releasing EPs but not an album, to sing about “the years and fears and smiling through my tears”; she also sings about her lawyer and about executives with “pink chubby hands.” She switches between hard-nosed rapping and gospel-charged singing, and when she claims “Baby I bounce back,” over programmed beats, her voice she says she will. JON PARELES

“Bad Habit” is a wistful tale of a missed connection (“I wish I knew you wanted me”) filtered through the distinct and kaleidoscopic musical personality of the Odd Future-adjacent polymath Steve Lacy. Still in high school when he first made waves as the guitarist for the eclectic group the Internet, Lacy’s precocity has always preceded him. But on the singles that the now-24-year-old has released from his forthcoming album, “Gemini Rights,” he’s matured into an emotive sound that’s endearingly rough around the edges. “Bad Habit” is centered around a simple but warped chord progression, filtered through effects that make the whole song sound like it’s under a fish-eye lens. But about halfway through it takes a sudden turn toward the intimate, when the backing instrumentation drops out and the spotlight shifts to Lacy’s vulnerable vocal: “I turn it on, I make it rowdy, then carry on but I’m not hiding.” LINDSAY ZOLADZ

Sudan Archives — the songwriter, singer, fiddler and electronics whiz Brittney Parks — recognizes and bats away prejudice and insecurity in the autobiographical “NBPQ (Topless),” from her next album, “Natural Brown Prom Queen.” “Just because I’m hard to manage/doesn’t mean I cannot have it,” she raps. The song packs multiple contrasts into less than four minutes, including a North African-flavored modal fiddle riff, two rapped sections with different flows, an interlude of choirlike harmonies, a resolute march and plenty of handclaps. “I’m not average,” she sings — and loops — and that’s clearly an understatement. PARELES

Dan Snaith has several musical alter egos: As Caribou, he makes textured, sample-driven psychedelia, but he releases more straight-ahead dance music under the moniker Daphni. His latest Daphni single “Cloudy,” which will appear on the forthcoming album “Cherry,” is slick and utterly entrancing. A repeated piano riff — ever so vaguely and probably completely unintentionally reminiscent of the one from Jack Harlow’s “What’s Poppin’” — floats weightlessly over a skittish beat. A chopped-up vocal sample adds some life but never quite coheres into legible language, making the whole track sound like a benevolent transmission from another world. ZOLADZ


The rapper and singer Sampa the Great was born in Zambia, grew up there and in Botswana, attended college in California, moved to Australia in 2013 and returned to Zambia during the pandemic. “Never Forget” is from her her coming album her, “As Above, So Below,” and it celebrates her Zambian roots —“information passed down for generations”— particularly the Zamrock of the 1970s, which fused southern African traditions with rock. A brisk six-beat pulse carries Sampa and her Zambian guests through scurrying guitar lines, drum-machine beats, choral harmonies (from Sampha’s sister Mwanjé) and traditional Ngoma drumming, linking her boasts to deep history. PARELES

Moor Mother’s beats, if you’d call them that, tend to sound like stardust incinerating itself. She doesn’t move in a way that you’d swiftly associate with jazz, but she is of the tradition: a history-miner and an innovator, a serious intellectual and a commentator, speaking through coded confrontation. And after a few years on the international jazz-festival circuit — both as a member of Irreversible Entanglements, an acoustic quintet and as a solo artist — she has some notes. Her new album, “Jazz Codes,” has an air of intervention, but also of mischievous play and mystery. It’s heavy on features — poets (Rasheedah Phillips, Thomas Stanley), musicians (Mary Lattimore, Keir Neuringer) and vocalists (Melanie Charles, Orion Sun) sit in — and she pulls clips from interviews with elder musicians (Amina Claudine Myers, Joe McPhee) ). She released a 14-minute short film suturing together tracks from across “Jazz Codes,” and it captures the album’s feeling of defiance and reinvention. GIOVANNI RUSSONELLO

Desperation turns explosive in “Lose It” from “Last Night in the Bittersweet,” the first album since 2014 by the Scottish songwriter Paolo Nutini. “I could not seem to find a way out of my worried mind,” he talk-sings, wishing he could just “lose it for a little while,” as the music rolls around him. It’s a neo-psychedelic guitar-driven drone that opens with feedback and keeps cranking up higher, with Nutini unleashing his rasp and a choir shouting “yeah, yeah” before he’s swallowed back into the morass. PARELES

GoGo Penguin has the lineup of a standard jazz trio: piano, bass, drums. That’s partly a ruse. This English group is also an experiment in repetitions and possibilities. A very tricky beat and a persistent rise-and-fall vamp propel “The Antidote Is in the Poison,” to be topped by multiple layers of piano tones: open and damped, brittle and sustained, moving in purposeful scales or hopscotching all over the place in arpeggios. It’s highly mathematical counterpoint that still feels improvised. PARELES

On “Gravity Without Airs,” the cornetist Kirk Knuffke leads the band, but he has also made himself the new guy of the bunch. His side musicians his, the pianist Matthew Shipp and the bassist Michael Bisio, have been playing together consistently for over a dozen years. But Knuffke is indispensable, finding tender edges within Shipp’s accruing angular dashes. Earlier in his career his, Knuffke sometimes veered antic and light. Now, partly through his study of Don Cherry’s music, he’s learned to keep emotional content at the center. On “The Water Will Win,” a bluesish, rubato incantation, Knuffke leads the trio in headlong. Almost immediately Shipp is holding the sustain pedal and blanketing the keyboard in a minor mode, and Bisio alternating between a low pedal and tension cords of notes on the higher strings. Putting tender muscle on the bone between them is Knuffke, with his sandy vibrato and slippery tone. RUSSONELLO


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