First Stream: New Music From Drake & 21 Savage, Selena Gomez, Joji and More

Billboard’s First Stream 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, Drake and 21 Savage expand their collaborative streak across a full-length, Selena Gomez gives us a peek inside her “Mind,” and Joji makes good on his artistic promise. Check out all of this week’s First Stream picks below:

Drake & 21 Savage, Her Loss 

Drake and 21 Savage have always pushed each other: while 21 Savage’s menacing flow has challenged Drake to sharpen his bars on their past collaborations, Drake has brought 21’s dense delivery onto some pop-crossover stunners, like their recent No. 1 smash “Jimmy Cooks.” With that dynamic in mind, the joint effort Her Loss functions exactly how you’d expect, and hope — punch and counterpunch, Drake returning to hip-hop braggadocio following his dance sojourn with Honestly, Nevermind, 21 Savage less concerned with pop culture references than ripping beats in half. It’s a focused, slightly chilly, largely riveting effort that ends both artists’ big years on a high note.

Selena Gomez, “My Mind & Me” 

“All of the crashin’ and burnin’ and breakin’, I know now / If somеbody sees me like this, then thеy won’t feel alone now,” Selena Gomez sings as an epiphany on her searing new single. With the release of her new documentary My Mind & Me, Selena Gomez has released an accompanying song that captures the issues of sharing yourself with the world (especially as an ultra-famous artist) in the social media age, as well as the conclusion, over stately piano notes, that every struggle has been worth it if it had helped someone else in the process.

Joji, Smithereens 

“Glimpse of Us,” the quietly devastating Joji single that became one of the year’s biggest breakthrough hits, may have introduced the 88Rising singer-songwriter to a much wider audience, but anyone familiar with Joji’s dulcet tones and emotionally revealing lyricism could have predicted that he’d become a solo star. New album Smithereens allows Joji to capitalize on a major moment with more melancholy and contemplation, but more accomplished vocals and songwriting than featured on 2020’s Nectar — a song like “Die For You” continues to refine his craft, taking the high of “Glimpse of Us” and pushing further upward.

Various Artists, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever – Music From and Inspired By

Curated by Kendrick Lamar, the 2018 soundtrack to Black Panther was a blockbuster, with multiple crossover hits (“All The Stars,” “Pray For Me”) and a perfectly orchestrated intermingling of superstars and rising artists. The soundtrack to the upcoming sequel boasts similar firepower — its opening track is “Lift Me Up,” the first new Rihanna single in six years, after all — as well as an impressive cross-section of artists either adjacent to or dominating the Afrobeats world, from Burna Boy to Tems to Fireboy DML to CKay, creating another high-profile, powerful showcase of Black culture.

P!nk, “Never Gonna Not Dance Again” 

P!nk’s last two albums, 2017’s Beautiful Trauma and 2019’s Hurts 2B Human, were led by singles (“What About Us” and “Walk Me Home,” respectively) that veered away from the pop star’s party-starting image — less “Raise Your Glass,” more raising the emotional stakes, as it were. So while “Never Gonna Not Dance Again” serves as a defiant ode against wasting time and self-seriousness, the song also gives P!nk another chance to operate at a faster tempo and groove over a nu-disco hook, setting up a welcome return to the dance floor.

Lindsay Lohan, “Jingle Bell Rock” 

Interested in the Lohanaissance, playing Christmas music multiple weeks before Thanksgiving, and Mean Girls nostalgia? Lindsay Lohan has got you covered with her take on “Jingle Bell Rock,” from the resurgent singer-actress’ upcoming Netflix film Falling For Christmas, which leans into its good-spirited kitschiness and will be at home on any holiday streaming playlist (plus, everybody in the English-speaking WORLD knows this song!).

Jason Lipshutz