Jason Lipshutz, Billboard

This week, Romeo Santos adds to his legacy, Lil Baby gives us another confessional hit, and Nicki Minaj drops an eye-popping visual. Check out all of this week’s First Stream picks below:

Romeo Santos, Fórmula Vol. 3 

Bachata will always be a large part of Romeo Santos’ legacy: the Aventura star has pushed the genre to new sonic boundaries and commercial heights over the course of his solo career, and Fórmula Vol. 3, Santo’s sprawling new album, acknowledges that significance by grounding the majority of its 21 songs in the style he has made a home. Yet Santos is also not content to keep reinventing his respective wheel, so Fórmula Vol. 3 nods toward tropical music (“Sexo Con Ropa”), meringue (“15,500 Noches,” with several luminaries of the style) and flamenco (“El Pañuelo,” with current torch-bearer Rosalía), and even finds room for a Justin Timberlake-assisted pop crossover, “Sin Fin,” that could bring a towering veteran like Santos to a whole new audience.

Lil Baby, “Detox” 

Lil Baby has stayed busy this year as the world awaits the official follow-up to his breakthrough project My Turn: solo tracks “Right On,” “In a Minute” and “Frozen” have all become Hot 100 hits in recent months, while collaborative tracks like “U-Digg” (with 42 Dugg and Veeze) and “Never Sleep” (with Nav and Travis Scott) have also reached the chart. New track “Detox” may very well do the same as one of Baby’s stronger recent bids: his restless, relentless flow on the single recalls some of My Turn’s most affecting moments, as Baby’s voice cracks over memories of poisoned romances and unsatisfying material goods.

Nicki Minaj, “Super Freaky Girl” video 

The Barbz are already loving Nicki Minaj’s new music video for No. 1 hit “Super Freaky Girl” — and why wouldn’t they? The rap superstar turns herself into a Barbie girl in a Barbie world in the clip, combining the song’s sexual innuendos with a brightly colored fantasia brimming with sight gags. With a knack for physical humor and one of the most expressive faces in popular music, Minaj always makes a big music video launch a major event and doesn’t disappoint with this anticipated visual.

Ari Lennox, Away Message EP

As if our anticipation for Ari Lennox’s sophomore LP age/sex/location wasn’t high enough, this surprise EP previewing the project showcases an artist reaching new heights as an R&B futurist, her voice just as commanding as it was on 2019 debut Shea Butter Baby but her songwriting and production choices thinking much further ahead. Away Message naturally peaks with the opulent Summer Walker collaboration “Queen Space,” but don’t sleep on “Gummy,” an ultra-smooth clap-along with one of Lennox’s funkiest vocal deliveries to date.

Gorillaz feat. Tame Impala & Bootie Brown, “New Gold”

Although they’ve transitioned from Blur side project to long-running, festival-headlining alternative music mainstay, Gorillaz have been able to endure in part because they’ve unlocked the science of high-profile collaboration, welcoming different personalities and sounds into their virtual home while still maintaining their own identity. “New Gold,” which previews forthcoming album Cracker Island, seamlessly weaves The Pharcyde’s Bootie Brown’s boisterous voice into Tame Impala’s psych shimmer as Damon Albarn and co. glisten in the new compound — no easy feat, but unsurprisingly, Gorillaz pull it off.

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