15 Must-Hear New Albums Out This Month: RM, Drake & 21 Savage, Louis Tomlinson, Dolly Parton & More
(L-R) Drake, 21 Savage

Photo: Prince Williams/Wireimage via Getty Images


15 Must-Hear New Albums Out This Month: RM, Drake & 21 Savage, Louis Tomlinson, Dolly Parton & More

Here are the can't-miss releases and massive new albums dropping in November 2022 from BTS' RM, Run The Jewels, Honey Dijon, Wizkid, and many others.

GRAMMYs/Nov 4, 2022 - 02:17 pm

Although November might bring cooler weather, the month's releases are hot enough to keep you toasty. From psychedelic folk and ambitious rap, to gleaming pop and future bass, November's release calendar boasts a variety of bold returns.

This month sees Drake and 21 Savage pull up with their surprise collaborative album Her Loss, as well as Roddy Ricch's highly anticipated Feed Tha Streets III. Brockhampton will reunite one last time to release The Family, and Weyes Blood will blend soft rock and folk on And In The Darkness, Hearts Aglow. Gryffin will start the month off right with his futuristic record, Alive, while Dolly Parton fans can turn back the clock with her greatest hits collection.

Below, check out a guide to the must-hear albums dropping in November 2022, from big names you know to newcomers you'll want to add to your playlist. — Taila Lee

Russell Dickerson - Russell Dickerson

Release date: Nov. 4

Tennessee native Russell Dickerson is no stranger to country music chart domination, having clocked No. 1 four times, beginning with 2017's "Yours." This month, he returns with his self-titled third album, featuring 15 songs that hit all the hallmarks that fans love.

Like 2017's Yours and 2020's Southern Symphony, Russell Dickerson covers heartstring-plucking love songs ("God Gave Me A Girl"), wistful reflections on the past and regret ("Blame It On Being Young" and "I Wonder") and foot-stomping party-starters ("All the Same Friends" and "Beers to the Summer"). Then there's the gleefully goofy "Big Wheels," an ode to country life with a music video that sees Dickerson rolling on the back of a big wheel tractor.

Dickerson was a co-writer and co-producer on all 15 tracks, working with veterans like Dann Huff, Zach Crowell and Josh Kerr to shape the album's pop-country sound. "No matter how far we get into this, I want people to know it's still me," Dickerson said in a statement. "I'm still the hyper, outgoing, fun-loving, crazy dude on stage. But also these songs are so meaningful to me." — Jack Tregoning

Related: Country & Western's New Generation Is Defiantly Of The Moment: Meet Charley Crockett, Colter Wall, Sierra Ferrell, Bella White & Others

Hawa - Hadja Bangoura

Release date: Nov. 4

One of the most intriguing new talents straddling the worlds of rap and R&B, Hawa has been steadily building to her debut album. Now based in Brooklyn, Hawa was born in Berlin and grew up in Conakry, Guinea, and this intersection of cultures is ever-present in her music.

In 2020, the classically trained musician released an eight-song EP, The One, which featured her idiosyncratic vocals weaving through delicate, trap-influenced electronic production. Its Cadenza-produced single, "My Love," appeared in Michaela Coel's breakout HBO series, "I May Destroy You." Hawa then followed The One last year with "Wake Up," a gleaming single that paired a clean, seductive beat with her hazy vocalizing.

Hawa's debut album, Hadja Bangoura, is dedicated to her great-grandmother, who passed away this year. Featuring 11 songs, including the bristling lead single "Gemini," Hadja Bangoura is executive produced by Brooklyn rap maven Tony Seltzer and comes out via 4AD, the legendary independent British label that Hawa calls home. — J.T.

Related: R&B Isn't Dead: Listen To 51 Songs By Summer Walker, Josh Levi & More Artists Who Are Pushing The Genre Forward

Drake and 21 Savage - Her Loss

Release date: Nov. 4

The release cycle for Drake and 21 Savage's collaborative album has been nothing but surprises. On Oct. 22, the duo announced their record unconventionally via a surprise message in the video for their high-energy collaboration "Jimmy Cooks" — the final track of Drake's Honestly, Nevermind. Yet, two days before the album was supposed to drop on Oct. 28, Drake disclosed on Instagram that producer Noah "40" Shebib had tested positive for COVID-19, halting the record's final production steps.

Now slated for release in early November, Her Loss might just be one of the most highly anticipated rap records of the year. If the album is anything like Drizzy and 21's most recent collaboration, fans can expect a spirited pop-rap synthesis of Drake's classic R&B melodies and 21's languid drawl. — T.L.

Related: Charting Drake's Unforgettable Path To Honestly, Nevermind

Gryffin - Alive

Release date: Nov. 4

American DJ Gryffin is ready to soar to new heights with Alive, his second studio album dropping Nov. 4 — which comes just a month after his headlining set at the debut Bay Area edition of the Breakaway Music Festival.

Alive shifts from tropical house to future bass with ease, shaping his distinct electronic style with elements of pop and hip-hop. While Gryffin's sound has long been fluid — just listen to his collaborations with EDM legend Illenium, alt R&B singer Tinashe, and Carly Rae Jepsen — there's always some friction present in his multifaceted EDM. The album's brooding title track, which features friend Calle Lehmann confessing that "I'm nothing without our love alive," signals that Alive will be about beating hearts and chasing highs. — T.L.

Related: The Rise Of Underground House: How Artists Like Fisher & Acraze Have Taken Tech House, Other Electronic Genres From Indie To EDC

Bruce Springsteen - Only The Strong Survive

Release date: Nov. 11

As vital as ever at 73, Bruce Springsteen set out to challenge himself on his 21st album, Only The Strong Survive. After baring his soul on 2020's critically acclaimed Letter to You, the Boss set aside the pen and paper to focus on singing his heart out.

Conceived during COVID lockdown, Only The Strong Survive is a collection of 15 soul music classics. "I wanted to make an album where I just sang," the rock icon said in a statement. "And what better music to work with than the great American songbook of the Sixties and Seventies?"

Recorded in his native New Jersey, the album sees Springsteen belting out classics and some lesser-known gems from the catalogs of Motown, Gamble and Huff, Stax and more, including his take on Frank Wilson's "Do I Love You (Indeed I Do)," released as the album's first single.

In a video announcing the project to fans, Springsteen called soul music "some of the most beautiful vocal music ever written and recorded", and marveled at the opportunity to stretch his voice outside his comfort zone. Who better than the Boss to try it? — J.T.

Read More: Bruce Springsteen Essentials: 15 Tracks That Show Why The Boss Is A Poetic Rock Icon

Run The Jewels - RTJ CU4TRO

Release date: Nov. 11

Beloved rap duo Run The Jewels enjoy defying expectations, and RTJ CU4TRO is one of their most intriguing swerves yet. Out Nov. 11, RTJ CU4TRO is a reimagining of the pair's 2020 album, RTJ4, through the lens of an all-Latin lineup.

El-P and Killer Mike were inspired to try the concept after hearing remixes of their material by two Mexican artists, Mexican Institute of Sound ("Ooh La La") and Toy Selectah ("JU$T"). To create an album's worth of interpretations from LATAM-based artists, the duo went to their longtime collaborator Nick Hook to co-produce the album and use his connections to build the guest list.

"We set out to make a remix album, but we consider the end result of RTJ CU4TRO to be more than that," El-P said in a statement. "It's a reimagining of RTJ4 through the lens of collaboration and a fusing of numerous musical cultures and influences." That melding of cultures is represented by Honduran-born producer TROOKO, Colombian band Bomba Estéreo, Mexican DJ and producer Danny Brasco, Canadian-Nicaraguan musician Mas Aya and more Latin American all-stars. — J.T.

Related: Run The Jewels Are Ready To Pierce Your Heart Again

Louis Tomlinson - Faith in the Future

Release date: Nov. 11

Louis Tomlinson is tearing down walls. Two years after the success of his debut album Walls, the former One Direction member announced Faith in the Future. Out Nov. 11, the release may be his most experimental and emotional yet.

His recent single "Out Of My System" shows a new side of the English singer-songwriter. Tomlinson balances edgy playfulness and emotional gravity as he cries out, "Demons, I'm takin' all of my demons/ Putting them where I won't see them. The single's disorienting video places Tomlinson among flashing red lights, slick guitar licks and harsh drums.

Tomlinson's desperation for catharsis indicates that Faith in the Future might explore  grittier, darker pop. However, based on the album title's suggestion of stable optimism, it seems Tomlinson might not stray too far from his saccharine pop roots. — T.L.

Related: 5 Takeaways From Harry Styles' New Album 'Harry's House'

Wizkid - More Love, Less Ego

Release date: Nov. 14

With four GRAMMY Award nominations and one win to his name, Lagos-born singer Wizkid is a true Nigerian superstar. The singer earned international acclaim with his GRAMMY-nominated 2020 album, Made In Lagos, which clocked up a billion streams and was certified Gold in the U.S.

Its single, "Essence," featuring Tems, blew up worldwide, introducing many to the Afrobeats genre. One of the song's biggest fans was none other than Justin Bieber, whose remixed version of "Essence" became the first African song to reach Top 10 on Billboard Hot 100.

Wizkid returns this month with his fifth studio album, More Love, Less Ego, which has all the signs of another mega-hit. The singer began the rollout with back-to-back singles, "Bad To Me" and "Money & Love," each produced by his longtime studio partner P2J. Both singles capture Wizkid's laidback yet hyper-confident star power — how many others could pull off the shirtless lime green suit look from the "Bad To Me" video? — J.T.

Related: Love Burna Boy & Wizkid? Listen To These 5 African Genres

Brockhampton - The Family

Release date: Nov. 17

Hoping to redefine the term "boy band," the seven-member group is known for their DIY, dynamic hip-hop that often blurs into pop. After canceling dozens of tour dates and announcing an indefinite hiatus in January, Brockhampton is finally back.

The band first teased The Family — out via Question Everything and RCA Records — at the end of their 2022 Coachella performance, flashing the words "Final Album. 2022." onscreen after exiting the stage. The Family's colorful album cover zigzags between graphic cartoonish elements and eye-catching magazine cutouts — visually capturing Brockhampton's genre-blending, ambitious and unpredictable music. — T.L.

Related: How Queer Rappers Are Defining The Next Generation Of Chicago Hip-Hop

Weyes Blood - And In The Darkness, Hearts Aglow

Release date: Nov. 18

The title of Weyes Blood’s upcoming album captures the duality of the singer-songwriter’s music: haunting yet heartwarming. The artist describes And In The Darkness, Hearts Aglow as a “dystopian romance novel," where  warmth and gloom mingle in her signature psychedelic folk and experimental rock landscape. Influenced by church music, And In The Darkness, Hearts Aglow is a sacred, safe space to reflect on "the sound of your soul."

The record is also the second of a trilogy, following Weyes Blood’s ethereal 2019 album, Titanic Rising. And In The Darkness, Hearts Aglow arrives just in time for her In Holy Flux tour, which will kick off in Los Angeles on Dec. 8. — T.L.

Related: For The Record: Why Lana Del Rey's 'Born To Die' Is One Of Pop's Most Influential Albums In The Past Decade

Roddy Ricch - Feed Tha Streets III

Release date: Nov. 18

'Tis the season: on Oct. 22, Roddy Ricch posted an image of himself at a Thanksgiving feast. The on-theme scene celebrates the upcoming release of Feed Tha Streets III, the third collection in his mixtape series.

Glamour populates the video for Ricch's latest single, "Aston Martin Truck." Among swinging gold chains and popping champagne, Ricch looks rather at home as he rests on a private jet — it's clear he's confident that Feed Tha Streets III will allow him to feast from the good life buffet.

The Compton rapper, who's influenced by the likes of Lil Wayne, Future and Young Thug, is known for his Hot 100 No. 1 single "The Box." Feed Tha Streets III follows the Compton rapper's 2021 sophomore album, LIVE LIFE FAST, which thrilled with Ricch's signature unpredictable flows over bouncy beats. — T.L.

Related: 9 Revolutionary Rap Albums To Know: From Kendrick Lamar, Black Star, EarthGang & More

Honey Dijon - Black Girl Magic

Release date: Nov. 18

Honey Dijon has been doing her thing at the forefront of the Chicago house scene for decades, and now the world is quickly catching up. The DJ and producer releases her second studio album, Black Girl Magic, on Nov. 18, featuring a stacked roll call of her friends. In choosing her guests, the Chicagoan looked to a new generation of queer people and people of color, including Compton's own house sensation Channel Tres, Atlanta singer/songwriter Hadiya George, and regular vocal collaborator Ramona Renea.

In true Honey Dijon style, the songs on Black Girl Magic are brimming with dance-floor energy, heartfelt emotion and positive vibes. "This album is dedicated to love," Honey said in a statement announcing Black Girl Magic. "Love of music, community, but most of all the love of self. Being true to who you are in spite of everything else and having the courage to love fearlessly." — J.T.

Related: 5 Emerging Artists Pushing Electronic Music Forward: Moore Kismet, TSHA, Doechii & Others

Dolly Parton - Dolly Parton  — Diamonds & Rhinestones: The Greatest Hits Collection

Release date: Nov. 18

Dolly Parton's next album is sure to be a treasure. Titled Dolly Parton — Diamonds & Rhinestones: The Greatest Hits Collection, the record will feature a whopping 23 tracks from Parton's star-studded discography.

Featuring music released between 1971-2020, the album highlights Parton's extensive and extraordinary career. Although the icon is also known for her bluegrass and gospel ventures, Diamonds & Rhinestones primarily showcases Parton's deep country roots. However, some EDM finds its way onto the record via "Faith," Parton's 2020 collaboration with Swedish dance pop duo Galantis and Mr. Probz.

Out Nov. 18, this greatest hits collection will prove that Parton's discography indeed shines like a gem. — T.L.

Related: 10 Songs You Didn't Know Dolly Parton Wrote: Hits By Whitney Houston, Kenny Rogers & More

Stormzy - This Is What I Mean

Release date: Nov. 25

UK grime trailblazer Stormzy returns this month with his third album, This Is What I Mean. The rapper has been on an incredible hot streak since 2019's celebrated Heavy Is The Head, collaborating with everyone from Ed Sheeran to Headie One and becoming the first black solo British artist to headline Glastonbury (wearing a stab-proof vest designed by Banksy, no less).

Now a household name in the UK, Stormzy got far from the spotlight to record his third album. This Is What I Mean mostly came together during a retreat on the privately-owned Osea Island in the UK county of Essex, where Stormzy surrounded himself with talented friends. The only plan was to hang out and make music when the moment took them. "We're all musicians, but we weren't always doing music," Stormzy said in a statement. “Some days we played football or walked around taking pictures. And the byproduct to that was very beautiful music."

Stormzy recently flexed his cachet in the music video for standalone single, "Mel Made Me Do It," which features cameos from Usain Bolt, Little Simz, Headie One and many more. With no featured rappers announced on This Is What I Mean, there's no distraction from Stormzy's shine. — J.T.

Related: For The Record: How Clipse’s 'Lord Willin'' Established Virginia’s Foothold In Rap


Release date: Nov. 25

For the November issue of Rolling Stone, genre-crossing hitmaker Pharrell Williams sat down for a "musician-on-musician" chat with BTS' RM. Their chat covered many topics, from dealing with superstardom to finding purpose in a career, while also touching on some tantalizing details about RM's forthcoming solo album, rumored to be dropping on Nov. 25.

"Like 90 percent of the work is done," RM told Pharrell. "I've released some mixtapes as one of the members of the band, but it was just an experiment. I think this time it's maybe my official first solo album." Coming hot on the heels of solo releases from fellow members Jin ("The Astronaut") and j-hope (Jack In The Box), news of RM's solo album has sent the BTS ARMY into overdrive.

In the course of the Rolling Stone interview, Pharrell and RM casually made plans to work on something for RM's album — completing "that last 10 percent," as Pharrell put it. (BTS is already set to feature on Pharrell's upcoming collaborative album, Phriends.) Other rumors of possible guests on the RM album are already flying around the internet, including South Korean sensation BIBI and BTS member Jungkook.

Whoever makes the cut, RM's solo effort is feverishly anticipated by fans, and will ease the long wait for BTS to reconvene as a group "around 2025" after all members fulfill South Korea's mandatory national military service. — J.T.

Why Is BTS So Popular? 9 Questions About The K-Pop Phenoms Answered

7 Incredible Sets From AfroNation Miami: WizKid, Uncle Waffles, Black Sherif & More
Burna Boy performs during day one of Afro Nation Miami 2023

Photo: Jason Koerner/Getty Images


7 Incredible Sets From AfroNation Miami: WizKid, Uncle Waffles, Black Sherif & More

At the inaugural AfroNation Miami, stars of the Nigerian Afrobeats movement joined by Caribbean artists, South African amapiano DJs and MCs, all of whom kept the sweltering crowds grooving until late into the night.

GRAMMYs/May 30, 2023 - 01:44 pm

If the inaugural AfroNation Miami could be described in one word, it’s hot — in all its meanings. 

With thousands of tourists descending on Miami for Memorial Day weekend, many of them celebrating Urban Beach Week, it should be a no-brainer to have a festival focused on Black artists and music from around the world. The thing is, Florida gets pretty balmy in the summer — in the 80s and 90s every day — and the high-humidity heat during the two-day fest felt almost unbearable at times. But artists and fans alike didn’t let the climate ruin their good time. 

An incredible selection of talent from across the African diaspora played to an approximately 20,000-strong crowd at LoanDepot Park, usually home of the Miami Marlins. Stars of the Nigerian Afrobeats movement including Burna Boy, Asake, and WizKid gave pulse-pounding performances, joined by Caribbean artists such as Jamaican dancehall talent Mavado and Panamanian reggaetonista Sech. Just outside on the stadium plaza, an entire stage of South African amapiano DJs and MCs kept the sweltering crowds grooving until late into the night. 

There were a few snags common to festivals. Some artists, like WizKid, showed up late to their sets. Others, like Beenie Man, dropped out entirely, only to be replaced by the charismatic up-and-comer Shenseea. But more often than not, the international crowd was granted a formidable festival experience, anchored by extraordinary sets from some of the best Black artists in the world. Read on to discover seven of the most jaw-dropping sets from AfroNation Miami. 

Asake Bares All-In Enrapturing Performance

Not even  clothes could contain Asake’s exuberance — the Nigerian Afrobeats rookie basically undressed himself slowly during his half-hour performance. First he threw away his neon green wraparound shades. Then he ditched his Louis Vuitton jean jacket on the stage floor. His chunky silver sneakers came off at one point, and he finished the rest of the set walking around in his socks. His ear monitor fell out during one of his many twirling dance moves and had to be replaced later by a stagehand. 

Eventually, that left his white tank top, which he’d been using to wipe away sweat for the whole performance. That came off at the climax of the show, when the singer stepped over the barrier to commune with the crowd. As a security guard supported him he leaned back in a crucifix pose, letting fans tug at his shirt until he finally tossed it into the throng. 

Asake has come a long way in a very short time. The 28-year-old dropped his first album just last year and has been making the media rounds in the states, appearing on "Jimmy Fallon" and "Good Morning America." He’s a star on the rise, representing the new wave of Afrobeats, its embrace of continent-spanning sounds like amapiano (which he namechecks in the title of one of his biggest songs), and its potential to go even more global than it already is. 

His stage presence signifies his world-conquering potential. He doesn’t interact with the crowd like Ckay or Burna Boy. He dances and sings, in a deep, sonorous voice, as if possessed by some spirit, staring into the middle distance, concentrating on nothing but leaving it all on the stage. It’s almost as if he was in a trance, and the moment he walked off after performing "Mr. Money," it felt as though everyone present had all snapped out of one as well, hypnotized by this one-of-a-kind talent. 

Black Sherif Spits From The Streets

Although he played to a sparse crowd early Saturday, Ghanaian rapper Black Sherif didn’t let that stop him from giving a blistering performance. Fans holding signs thanking him for songs such as "Second Sermon" had camped out in front of the stage, and he didn’t disappoint them, delivering a passionate sermon from the streets. 

As a proponent of the gritty Ghanaian offshoot of UK drill known as asakaa, Black Sherif was one of the few hip-hop-oriented acts on a bill dominated by pop and Afrobeats stars. He told stories of darkness and heartbreak with incredible focus and intensity, almost shouting his lyrics at the crowd in a raspy voice. Songs such as "45" feature lyrics in English and Sherif’s native language of Twi, and to his credit, his delivery was flawless through the entire set. He didn’t skip a single word, which is more than can be said for many American rappers. 

The drama of Black Sherif’s passionate performance climaxed with his final song, the hit "Kwaku the Traveler," weaving a tragic tale of falling from and grinding his way back to success. About 30 seconds in, the DJ let the beat drop out, leaving the rapper to finish the song with a captivating a capella. 

Burna Boy Withstands The Heat For Fuego Saturday Closing Set

Drenched in sweat, even Burna Boy eventually needed a break from the heat. After eight songs straight of passionate performance, he finally turned to a stagehand and declared "I’m gonna need some water." 

The fiery performance was the climax of AfroNation’s Saturday lineup, and Damini Ogulu did not disappoint. Backed by a full band even larger than Asake’s, with backup singers, dancers, a brass section, and a drumline playing African percussion instruments, the global superstar dripped with charisma as well as perspiration. His million-watt smile shone brighter than any of the lights in the LoanDepot Park stands as he strutted around the stage and blazed through solo renditions of his biggest hits, including "Secret," as well as tracks from his recent album Love Damini such as the Ed Sheeran collab "For My Hand." 

With pyrotechnics, smoke machines, and a stadium full of adoring fans at his disposal, the king of Afrobeats put on an incredible spectacle in Miami, with the most iconic moment coming at the end as the entire ballpark sang the chorus of "It’s Plenty" a capella. But an even more iconic moment may have been after performing his Dave collab "Location" when he recovered a Haitian flag, waved it around, and wrapped it around his neck like a bandanna. Out of all the flags being waved in the audience, this is the one that matters most in Miami with its huge Haitian diaspora population. And when Africa’s biggest star bore it proudly, the crowd erupted. 

Ckay Celebrates Love And Money On The Main Stage

Before he went onstage at AfroNation Miami, Ckay’s DJ declared him "Africa’s number one boyfriend." It was easy to see why: Not only did he perform some of his most romantic songs, but the Nigerian singer spent much of the show making eyes at the crowd. And making heart symbols with his hands. And peace signs. 

It seems the fans loved him back. The phones all came out upon hearing the opening strains of closer "Love Nwatiti" (a massive international hit and the first No. 1 on Billboard’s Afrobeats chart) and the crowd roared with approval upon hearing the sweet guitar melody on "Emiliana." "This is my first time doing this song in Miami, I want you to make some noise!" he declared. 

The show wasn’t all about romance, however. Penultimate song "Hallelujah" is an ode to cash money, and Ckay displayed his clout by bringing out featured rapper Blaqbonez to perform his verse. "If you wanna make some money this year say ‘Ohhhhh,’" the singer said to the crowd before jumping into the amapiano-influenced track. Money and talent — maybe he would make a good boyfriend. 

Major League DJz Offer A Scorching Set Of South African Sounds

More than anyone else at AfroNation, Major League DJz showed the world-conquering potential of amapiano.

Closing the stage on Sunday night, the duo ran through a scorching set of amapiano favorites, even slipping in an immaculate remix of Beyoncé’s "CUFF IT" while a succession of MCs pumped up the crowd. Shifting the vibe at will — from intense, futuristic rave and trance-indebted synth tracks to lighter tunes with soulful piano and organ chords, and always with eruptions of log drum bass and skillfully-deployed delays, filters, and other effects — they kept the crowd enraptured and in thrall to the power of ‘piano. So deeply in command of the audience were they that a guest appearance midway through the set threatened to derail it entirely. Atlanta rapper Kali took the stage to perform her song "Area Codes," and the trap-influenced track felt like a wrench thrown into the Majors’ finely-tuned amapiano machine.

Kali wasn’t the only guest appearance, as by the end of the set, it felt as though the entire Piano People collective had come on stage. Over a dozen people stood behind, in front of, and even on top of the decks, celebrating their success and lending their collective energy to give the performance a feeling of unstoppability. The MCs hyped up the crowd, the dancers (including the previous night’s headliner Uncle Waffles) danced, and the rest basked in the vibes of the by-then-bursting crowd. This is how Africa raves, and the rest of the world would be smart to follow along. 

DJ Uncle Waffles Brings Impeccable Femme Energy To Piano People Stage 

While the stars of Afrobeats took the stage inside on the LoanDepot Park field, outside the stadium the Piano People stage had the feel of a block party. Focusing on the ascendant South African dance genre of amapiano, the stage brought some of the scene’s biggest talents to Miami.

It was Saturday night headliner Uncle Waffles, also the only female artist to headline either stage, that offered the purest take on what makes the genre exciting. Looking like a Matrix character in a black jumpsuit and neon-green hair, the South Africa-via-eSwatini DJ put up a powerful mix of amapiano tracks, including her own massive hit "Tanzania." The pulse of the log drum bass and the steamy rhythms felt right at home in the swampy humidity. 

While many of the loudest, most energetic voices at the stage were MCs such as Focalistic and Musa Keys, Waffles, despite primarily DJing, quietly behind the decks. She would often start a track and jump to the front of the stage to join her dance troupe, themselves dressed in cheerleader-style outfits, in thrilling, coordinated dance routines. The energy and enthusiasm onstage and in the crowd manifested itself the most in these moments. 

WizKid Shows He's The Star Of The Show

WizKid knows he’s a star (he was calling himself "Starboy" long before The Weeknd) and at his festival-closing set on Sunday night, he delivered a star experience, taking the stage from atop a massive stair-shaped backdrop designed to let him descend from high above the rest of us. 

Wearing sequined black pants, a leather fedora, and shades that never left his eyes, Wizzy strutted back and forth on the stage like a proud lion, performing the biggest hits from his massive catalog. Some guests came out, such as Buju for "Mood," while the artist let the crowd sing-along to Drake’s verse on "Come Closer." The instrumentals seemed to switch between a DJ and a live band, both of them obscured by the stage setup. 

At other sets such as Burna Boy and Asake, the band was a major feature; here there was nothing to distract the crowd from Big Wiz. He absorbed their love like a sponge, and may have caught some thrown underwear from the crowd too. 

Much was made by the artist of the global nature of the crowd. Wizzy started out his set by shouting out all the Caribbeans, from Jamaica to Trinidad and certainly Haiti, present in the audience, before moving on to Africa. "I see your flags, I see you repping for your country right now," he said. "This is a sexy ass crowd tonight, baby!" 

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Breaking Down Every Solo Act From BTS: Singles, Debut Albums & What's Next For The Septet
BTS (from left): V, Suga, Jin, Jung Kook, RM, Jimin and J-Hope



Breaking Down Every Solo Act From BTS: Singles, Debut Albums & What's Next For The Septet

In 2022, BTS announced that the group would take a break as they enlist in South Korea's mandatory military service. The solo careers of Jin, Suga, j-hope, RM, Jimin, V and Jung Kook have launched a new era for the K-pop superstars.

GRAMMYs/May 10, 2023 - 02:14 pm

No one can deny that South Korean boy group BTS is a phenomenon. Since their debut in 2013, the septet formed by Jin, Suga, j-hope, RM, Jimin, V and Jung Kook have broken barriers and prejudices against Asian artists, reached notable milestones, and brought together one of the world’s most devoted fandoms — known as ARMY.

Their relatable lyrics discuss societal issues and the pressures of growing up, while their intricate storytelling blends art classics, pop culture, and Korean heritage into something entirely new. BTS also offer a wide-range of musical genres — from hip-hop disses like "Mic Drop," to heartfelt ballads like "Spring Day" and feel-good bubblegum pop like "Butter." Regardless of any opinions, it’s impossible not to be in awe of their oeuvre.

Taking all that in consideration, it’s not surprising that BTS have broken numerous album and tour sales records throughout their career — they sold out Wembley Stadium and the Rose Bowl in 2019, becoming the first non-English-speaking, Asian artists to do so, for example. BTS also won a slew of trophies in South Korean and American award shows, including five GRAMMY nominations. For all of their contributions to South Korea’s culture, they also became the youngest recipients of the country’s Order of Cultural Merit in 2018.

BTS is, in some ways, a symbol of something bigger than themselves. An entity capable of uniting people all over the world and transmitting much-needed messages in their music. However, that wouldn’t be possible if the seven humans behind it weren’t as interesting as the whole. Since the beginning, BTS always encouraged its members to develop their own artistry, and all of them released several solos that spotlight their unique talents.

While 2022 brought in the news that BTS would take a break from group activities as they enlist in the South Korean mandatory military service, that meant their solo careers would take on the spotlight, launching in a new era. From Jin’s "The Astronaut" to Jung Kook’s "Dreamers," breaks down all of BTS’s solo releases so far.


Jin isn’t just "Mr. Worldwide Handsome," as he became known for his good looks. The eldest member of BTS is also a competent vocalist, whose soothing voice gave life to three solo songs under the group’s roster: 2016’s "Awake," 2018’s "Epiphany" and 2020’s "Moon."

The Anyang-born singer also contributed to the band’s SoundCloud with the co-written and co-composed tracks "Tonight" and "Abyss." The former, released in 2019, was inspired by the deaths of Jin’s dog and two sugar glider pets. Released in 2020, "Abyss" dealt with his fears and anxieties. "I want to find you and tell you/Today, I want to get to know you even more, yeah," he sings.

In 2021, Jin was chosen to sing "Yours," the main theme of TvN’s drama "Jirisan." However, the real highlight of that year was "Super Tuna," a short song made for kicks and giggles that wemt viral on YouTube and TikTok.

As the eldest of the group, Jin was also the first to enlist in the military in December of 2022. Shortly before that, he graced fans with his official solo debut single, October’s "The Astronaut." Co-written alongside Coldplay, the track placed No. 51 on the Billboard Hot 100; Jin performed the song in Buenos Aires, during the British band’s Music of the Spheres World Tour. 


One of BTS’ main songwriters, producers, and rappers, Suga is a prolific artist with a keen view about the world that we live in. Born in the city of Daegu, he began as an underground rapper and initially joined Big Hit Entertainment as a producer. Eventually, Suga became a trainee along with the other members.

Since BTS' debut in 2013, he contributed as a songwriter to the majority of their material, as well as producing and featuring in tracks by other artists such as Halsey’s "Suga’s Interlude," PSY’s "That That," and IU’s "Eight." He released five solo tracks as part of the group’s discography: 2015’s "Intro: The Most Beautiful Moment in Life" and "Intro: Never Mind," 2016’s "First Love," 2018’s "Trivia: Seesaw," and 2019’s "Interlude: Shadow." Each release revealed his talent as a poignant storyteller on the ups and downs of growing up, dealing with fame, and remaining hopeful amid storms.

Concomitantly, he formulated the alter ego Agust D and released two solo mixtapes — 2016’s Agust D and 2020’s D-2. His first studio album under the alias, April’s D-Day, was said to conclude the explosive, evocative trilogy that dealt with themes like anger, vengeance, and pain. Suga is also the first BTS member to headline his own tour, which is happening throughout May and June in the U.S. and Asia.


Rapper j-hope was born in the metropolis of Gwangju, where he became known for his dancing skills. His interest in rapping, though, only came once he moved to Seoul and became a trainee under Big Hit Entertainment, where felt inspired by teammates Suga, RM, and producer Supreme Boi.

J-hope gradually developed his skills and became one of BTS' main songwriters, releasing three solo songs: 2016’s "Intro: Boy Meets Evil" and "Mama" and 2018’s "Trivia 起: Just Dance." Also in 2018, j-hope released his buoyant solo debut mixtape, Hope World. The album peaked at No. 38 on Billboard’s 200 chart, turning him into the highest charting Korean soloist at the time. In 2019, he collaborated with Becky G on the hip hop track "Chicken Noodle Soup."

Following the announcement that BTS would be taking a break from group activities in 2022, j-hope was the first member to begin solo promotions. Jack in the Box, his first solo album, came out on July 15, and just 16 days later he became the first South Korean artist to headline Lollapalooza.

As of April, j-hope is currently enlisted in the military, but he left fans a special single to savor while they wait for his return: March’s "On the Street," featuring rapper J. Cole.


RM has often been the group’s main spokesperson and producer. Through his work, he earned a stellar reputation both inside and outside of South Korea, collaborating with artists such as Fall Out Boy, Lil Nas X, Younha, Tiger JK, and Erykah Badu.

Born in Seoul, RM was a trainee under Big Hit Entertainment for three years before debuting, where he honed his songwriting skills in pre-debut tracks and cuts for other K-pop groups. As part of BTS, the gifted singer and rapper released a few solos: 2013’s "Intro: O!RUL8,2?," 2014’s "Intro: What Am I to You?," 2016’s "Reflection," and 2019’s "Trivia: Love" and "Persona." 

He was also the first member of the group to release a solo mixtape, 2015’s RM, which showcased his distinct flow and honest self-reflections about rage and the contradictions of fame. In 2018 came his introspective, minimalistic second mixtape, Mono. Although just as honest about his emotions as the first one, Mono showcased a more pensive, or rather matured, side of RM. 

In December 2022, he released his much-awaited debut studio album, Indigo. Described as "the last archive of my 20s," RM continues his thoughtful reflections on what it means to make art and to be human, settling himself as one of today’s most intelligent minds.


Jimin always made an impression through his elegant dance moves and distinct falsettos, giving an aesthetic flair to all of BTS’ releases. The Busan-born artist also showcased more of his talents through three solo tracks under the group’s name: 2016’s "Lie," 2017’s "Serendipity" and 2020’s "Filter."

In 2018, he released his first credited solo song, "Promise," followed by "Christmas Love" in 2020. That same year, Jimin collaborated with close friend and singer Ha Sung-woon on "With You," the soundtrack to TvN’s 2022 drama "Our Blues," and in January 2023, he co-wrote and featured on Big Bang member Taeyang’s single, "Vibe."

In March, Jimin released his long-awaited debut EP, Face. Its single, the synth-pop tune "Like Crazy," topped the Billboard Hot 100 chart, making Jimin the highest-charting Korean soloist of all time.


V’s baritone, husky voice is one of BTS’ most prominent elements, giving depth and texture to their songs. Like Suga, he was born in Daegu and dreamed of becoming a singer. After debuting with BTS, he released three solos under their name: 2016’s "Stigma," 2018’s "Singularity" and 2020’s "Inner Child."

On the group’s SoundCloud, he has slowly developed his own tracks. In 2019, he issued the self-composed ballad "Scenery," and later the all-English "Winter Bear." He also contributed to a few drama soundtracks along the years, most notably 2020’s "Sweet Night," off JTBC’s Itaewon Class, and 2021’s "Christmas Tree," off Studio N’s Our Beloved Summer.

Although V has been teasing an official mixtape for some time now, there is still no indication of when it will be released.

Jung Kook

At 25 years old, Jung Kook is the youngest member of BTS. Like Jimin, he was born in the coastal city of Busan, but moved to Seoul as a teenager to pursue his dreams of becoming a singer. In "Begin," his first solo song released on BTS’ 2016 album Wings, he sings about how the group was largely his introduction to life: "When I was 15 years old, I had nothing/The world was too big and I was small."

Later came 2018’s "Euphoria" and 2020’s "My Time," off BTS’ Love Yourself: Answer and Map of the Soul: 7, respectively. Also in 2020, he released "Stay Alive," the main soundtrack to BTS-based webtoon 7Fates: Chakho. He also publishes occasional solo work via Twitter, including the fan-loved "Decalcomanie," or SoundCloud, where he released "My You" and "Still With You" — the platform’s Most-Streamed Pop Song in 2022, despite being released in 2020.

Last year, Jung Kook explored international collaborations. He participated in Charlie Puth’s pop hit "Left and Right," and released "Dreamers" for the 2022 FIFA World Cup, later performing it at the opening ceremony of the event. With that, he became the first South Korean artist to release an official FIFA World Cup song.

While Jung Kook has mentioned that he intends to release a mixtape one day, it’s still a mystery whether it will happen anytime soon. But judging through his output so far, he has proven to be more than ready to let the world get to know his artistic colors in full — just as all his bandmates have.

Celebrate AAPI Month 2023 With A Genre-Spanning Playlist Featuring BLACKPINK, Yaeji, Olivia Rodrigo & More

10 Artists Who Are Outspoken About Mental Health: Billie Eilish, Selena Gomez, Shawn Mendes & More
Selena Gomez participates in MTV Entertainment's first ever Mental Health Youth Forum at The White House in 2022.

Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images for MTV Entertainment 


10 Artists Who Are Outspoken About Mental Health: Billie Eilish, Selena Gomez, Shawn Mendes & More

From Ed Sheeran to Janet Jackson, take a look at some of the major music stars who have shared their struggles with mental health — and helped fans feel supported and seen in the process.

GRAMMYs/May 9, 2023 - 06:28 pm

Sharing mental health issues with close family or specialized medical professionals can be challenging enough. Add in the pressures of fame and being in the public eye, and any struggles are exponentially more difficult to cope with.

In recent years, though, mental health has become a much more widely discussed topic in celebrity culture. Several artists have used their music and their platform to open up about their own struggles with depression, anxiety and the like, from Bruce Springsteen to Selena Gomez.

In honor of Mental Health Awareness Month this May, highlights the inspirational impact of music superstars who speak out about what they're going through, and how they manage their challenges. These 10 performers are making change through their courage and candor.

Ed Sheeran

Ed Sheeran takes fans behind the curtain of his personal life and struggles with mental health in Ed Sheeran: The Sum of It All. The four-episode docuseries, which is now streaming on Disney+, details the pain of losing his best friend Jamal Edwards and his wife Cherry Seaborn receiving a cancer diagnosis while she was pregnant with their daughter Jupiter.

"What I think is really great about the documentary is the themes that it explores, everyone goes through," Sheeran said at the New York City premiere on May 2, according to the Hollywood Reporter. "Everyone goes through grief. Everyone goes through ups and downs of their mental health."

Sheeran dives deeper into his struggles — and is more vulnerable than ever before — on his latest album Subtract, which arrived on May 5. "Running from the light/ Engulfed in darkness/ Sharing my eyes/ Wondering why I'm stuck on the borderline," he sings on album cut "Borderline," which touches on battling suicide thoughts.

Lewis Capaldi

Like Sheeran, Scottish singer Lewis Capaldi also gave fans an incredibly upfront look at his mental health challenges in a documentary, How I'm Feeling Now. The new Netflix release details his experience with anxiety and Tourette's syndrome, taking viewers to physical therapy with Capaldi and discussing how his medication both helps and hurts the quality of his life.

Capaldi's second album, Broken By Desire To Be Heavenly Sent (due May 19) will further explore his anxieties and vulnerability. While he has admitted it wasn't easy to be so raw in his music and on screen, Capaldi wants to make a difference in other people's lives. "If people notice things that are concurrent with what's going on in their life, then it's all been worth it," he told Variety.

Billie Eilish

While Billie Eilish's music has been raw and real from the start, her music has become increasingly more vulnerable throughout the years. Whether in her music or in interviews, the star has opened up about dealing with body dysmorphia, depression and thoughts of self-harm — hoping to inspire fans to speak up when they are hurting, and to know that it gets better.

"It doesn't make you weak to ask for help," she asserts in a 2019 video for Ad Council's Seize The Awkward campaign, which features stars discussing mental health.

"Kids use my songs as a hug," she told Rolling Stone earlier that year. "Songs about being depressed or suicidal or completely just against-yourself — some adults think that's bad, but I feel that seeing that someone else feels just as horrible as you do is a comfort. It's a good feeling."

Selena Gomez

As one of the most-followed stars on social media, Selena Gomez has often used her formidable presence to discuss her mental health and connect with others. In 2022, the singer launched a startup called Wondermind, which is focused on "mental fitness" and helping users maintain strong mental health.

Just a few months later, Gomez further chronicled her own mental health journey in an Apple TV+ documentary, Selena Gomez: My Mind and Me, which shows extremes she's suffered with her depression and bipolar disorder. She has said she was initially hesitant to share the film, but ultimately reflected on how many others could be helped if she did.

"Because I have the platform I have, it's kind of like I'm sacrificing myself a little bit for a greater purpose," she explained in a 2022 cover story with Rolling Stone. "I don't want that to sound dramatic, but I almost wasn't going to put this out. God's honest truth, a few weeks ago, I wasn't sure I could do it."

Shawn Mendes

In 2019, Shawn Mendes first publicly addressed his struggles with anxiety in the dynamic — and GRAMMY-nominated — hit "In My Blood." Three years later, the singer postponed his 2022 tour in order to focus on his mental health, opening up an important conversation to his legion of fans.

"The process was very difficult," he said in a February interview with Wall Street Journal. "A lot of doing therapy, a lot of trying to understand how I was feeling and what was making me feel that way. And then doing the work to help myself and heal. And also leaning on people in my life to help a little bit. 

"It's been a lot of work, but I think the last year and a half has been the most eye-opening and growing and beautiful and just healing process of my life," he continued. "And it just really made me see how culture is really starting to get to a place where mental health is really becoming a priority."

Bruce Springsteen

Even an artist as successful and celebrated as Bruce Springsteen has faced depression. In his 2016 autobiography Born to Run, the 20-time GRAMMY winner cites a difficult relationship with his father and a history of mental illness in the family, sharing that he has sought treatment throughout his life.

"I was crushed between 60 and 62, good for a year, and out again from 63 to 64," he wrote in the book. In that time, he released his 2012 album, Wrecking Ball, which featured a raw track called "This Depression." "Baby, I've been down, but never this down I've been lost, but never this lost," he sings on the opening verse.

As his wife, Patti Scialfa, told Vanity Fair in 2016, "He approached the book the way he would approach writing a song…A lot of his work comes from him trying to overcome that part of himself."

Janet Jackson

The physical and emotional abuse suffered by the famous Jackson family is well-documented in books, documentaries and TV dramatizations. But it's only been in recent years that Janet Jackson has talked about her own depression, which she has referred to as "intense." Her son Aissa has helped her heal from mental health challenges that have followed her all of her life.

"In my 40s, like millions of women in the world, I still heard voices inside my head berating me, voices questioning my value," she wrote in a 2020 ESSENCE cover story. "Happiness was elusive. A reunion with old friends might make me happy. A call from a colleague might make me happy. But because sometimes I saw my failed relationships as my fault, I easily fell into despair."

Elle King

After seeing global success with her debut single, "Ex's & Oh's," Elle King experienced the woes of sudden fame as well as a crumbling marriage. Her second album, 2018's Shake the Spirit, documented her struggles with self-doubt, medicinal drinking and PTSD.

"There's two ways out," she told PEOPLE in 2018, describing her marriage as "destructive," physically abusive and leading her to addiction. "You can take the bad way out or you can get help. I got help because I knew that I have felt good in my life and I knew I could get there again."

Brendon Urie

Certain public situations can trigger crippling anxiety attacks for Brendon Urie, who has been open about mental health concerns throughout his career. He can perform in front of thousands of fans, but he's revealed that being in the grocery store or stuck in an elevator for too long with other people are among some of his most uncomfortable scenarios in his life.

"You would never tell on the surface, but inside it's so painful I can't even describe," the former Panic! At The Disco frontman — who disbanded the group earlier this year to focus on his family — said in a 2016 interview with Kerrang.

Big Sean

Rapper Big Sean and his mother released a series of educational videos during Mental Health Awareness Month in 2021 — two years after the Detroit-born star started talking about his own long-held depression and anxiety publicly.

"I was just keeping it real because I was tired of not keeping it real," he said in an interview with ESSENCE in 2021. "I was tired of pretending I was a machine and everything was cool and being politically correct or whatever. I just was like, I'm a just say how I feel."

Like many of his peers, he hopes that his honesty will help others. "Whatever they can apply to their life and better themselves and maybe it just even starts a whole journey in a different direction as far as upgrading and taking care of themselves and bossing up themselves," he added. "Whatever they're trying to do, I hope it helps them get to that place."

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Celebrate AAPI Month 2023 With A Genre-Spanning Playlist Featuring BLACKPINK, Yaeji, Olivia Rodrigo & More
(L-R, clockwise) Yaeji, Dominic Fike, NIKI, Keshi, beabadoobee, NewJeans

Photos (L-R): Dasom Han, Tim Mosenfelder/Getty Images, Gabriel Chiu, Rick Kern/Getty Images, Ethan Miller/TAS23/Getty Images for TAS Rights Management, Han Myung-Gu/WireImage


Celebrate AAPI Month 2023 With A Genre-Spanning Playlist Featuring BLACKPINK, Yaeji, Olivia Rodrigo & More

Spotlighting artists of Asian and Pacific Islander descent, honors AAPI Heritage Month this May with 44 songs by Japanese Breakfast, NewJeans, Keshi and many more.

GRAMMYs/May 1, 2023 - 04:28 pm

As spring blossoms and May rolls around, AAPI Heritage Month reminds us to recognize and reflect on the talents of Asian American and Pacific Islander artists — across the music industry and beyond.

It's vital to celebrate diversity year-round, and May sparks additional dialogue about reshaping spaces to be more inclusive, especially within industries that are traditionally difficult to break into. Today, the music community views difference not as an obstacle, but an opportunity to celebrate individual and collective identity.

While 2023 marks 60 years since the first Asian American GRAMMY winner, AAPI creatives have been making waves in the music community for centuries. Whether you're raging to Rina Sawayama's enterprising electropop or vibing out with NIKI's soulful indie musings, AAPI artists are continuing to shape contemporary genres like never before.

In celebration of AAPI Heritage Month, compiled an original playlist to honor AAPI musicians' creativity and novelty. Take a listen to the playlist featuring more than 40 trailblazing creatives on Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon Music and Pandora.