Billboard’s Friday Music Guide serves as a handy guide to this Friday’s most essential releases — the key music that everyone will be talking about today, and that will be dominating playlists this weekend and beyond.
This week, Young Thug takes care of Business, Peso Pluma steps fully into the spotlight, and Nicki Minaj and Ice Spice reinvent a pop classic. Check out all of this week’s picks below:
Young Thug, Business is Business
More than just serving as Young Thug’s follow-up to 2021’s wide-ranging Punk, Business is Business represents a show of support from the hip-hop community — as the groundbreaking MC remains incarcerated after being arrested as part of a RICO sting last year, rap’s best and brightest stop by the full-length to pay homage, with Metro Boomin executive producing and Drake, Future, 21 Savage and Lil Uzi Vert contributing guest spots. Business is Business may be a symbolic gesture featuring reanimated material more than a bold new creative endeavor, but hearing Thugger’s elastic voice stretched across an impressive new collection of beats still satisfies as a stopgap until he’s home and back in business.
Peso Pluma, Génesis
At 24 years old, Hassan Emilio Kabande Laija, better known as Peso Pluma, has spent this year helping to bend the pillars of North American popular music toward his sound, as Mexican music and its decades-old hallmarks have been refurbished for a fresh generation and, from a charts perspective, have exploded well beyond the wildest expectations of the genre’s supporters. Pluma has become the de facto leader of this new school, thanks to smashes like “Ella Baila Sola,” “La Bebe” and “Por las Noches”… and the fact that none of those songs appear on the track list to his rollicking new album Génesis illustrates his confidence that his earthy instrumentation and high, prodding croon will keep spreading beyond a handful of hits.
Nicki Minaj & Ice Spice with Aqua, “Barbie World”
Nicki Minaj has scored some of the biggest hits of her career while sampling classic singles like Sir Mix-a-Lot’s “Baby Got Back” and Rick James’ “Super Freak,” so when the leader of the Barbz announced that she had reworked Aqua’s “Barbie Girl” (alongside new BFF Ice Spice) for the upcoming Barbie soundtrack, the pairing made all too much sense. Yet “Barbie World” surprises with its structure: instead of letting their verses dance around Aqua’s iconic hook, Minaj and Ice Spice trade lines relentlessly for under two minutes, a giddy rap assault in which the best lines (“I’m a 10, so I pull in a Ken,” Nicki sneers) need to be run back a few times.
Kim Petras, Feed the Beast
Kim Petras boasts two distinct fan groups as she releases her long-awaited debut album: the day-one diehards who have streamed every mixtape, guest spot and themed EP, and the “Unholy” crowd, who caught wind of the pop star when her chart-topping collaboration with Sam Smith yielded a mainstream breakthrough. Both audiences will love Feed the Beast, a dance-pop opus with plenty of potential hits — the turbo-charged “King of Hearts” is going to highlight plenty of club nights this summer — as well as the type of idiosyncratic fun that Petras has specialized in since 2019’s Clarity, particularly in the sexual liberation of the album’s second half.
Portugal. The Man, Chris Black Changed My Life
The story behind Chris Black Changed My Life is crucial to fully appreciating the return of Portugal. The Man, who scored the type of crossover smash single that most bands can only daydream about with “Feel It Still” in 2017, then proceeded to have their lives upended due to professional false starts and personal trauma. While Chris Black Changed My Life is the definition of a hard-fought album — the title honors a dear friend of band leader John Gourley and his untimely passing — the full-length also isn’t overly heavy, as songs like “Grim Generation,” “Ghost Town” and lead single “Dummy” invite the type of sing-alongs that helped Portugal. The Man break through six years ago.
Bizarrap & Rauw Alejandro, “BZRP Music Sessions, Vol. 56”
Bizarrap has been on a tear: just three weeks after linking up with Peso Pluma for Volume 55 of his viral YouTube collaboration series, the Argentine producer has recruited Puerto Rican superstar Rauw Alejandro and quickly turned around Volume 56. The magic of the series rests in the way that Bizarrap can contort his musical foundation toward the strengths of his collaborator while also not betraying his tone; “Vol. 56” plays out like a particularly crackling Alejandro summer jam, but Bizarrap’s fingerprints are all over its shape-shifting percussion and breathless sonic flourishes, a master bringing another A-lister into his craft.
Editor’s Pick: Militarie Gun, Life Under the Gun
A string of promising EPs over the past three years suggested that, like Turnstile before them, Los Angeles quintet Militarie Gun had a shot at bringing an accessible brand of hardcore to the masses, especially if their sound could coalesce on a full-length. Life Under the Gun is exactly that album — driving and jaggedly catchy, the collection of 12 songs pummels the listener with chunky riffs and brash hooks, and Ian Shelton knows exactly how to deliver a soaring melody while also sounding like he’s about to swallow the microphone whole.