Heartbreak, non-conformity, substance abuse and sex positivity are all recurring themes on SZA’s full-length major label debut.

On CTRL, the first lady of Top Dawg Entertainment shows us a vulnerable side of herself.

The lead single “Drew Barrymore,” opens with SZA singing “why is it so hard to accept the party is over?,” lamenting over a lover moving on to someone whom she feels she can’t compare to.

Tracks like “Love Galore,” show her versatility, as she rap-sings over a  trap-style instrumental, with accompaniment from Travis Scott. “Why you bother me when you don’t want me?,” SZA asks on the Carter Lang-produced track. Amid trials and tribulations, the 26-year-old singer/songwriter emphasizes autonomy.

One of the standouts on the 14-track album is “The Weekend,” a side-ho anthem for the ages. The song is lyrically about “borrowing” someone’s boyfriend for the weekend.

Overall, CTRL is a solid debut. Prior to its release, SZA had been sought out by the likes of BeyoncĂ©, Nicki Minaj, Chance the Rapper, and Rihanna to pen tracks for their projects. On CTRL, she proves she has the means to justify the album’s three-year anticipation, as well as why several a-listers seek her out.

Hailing from Toronto, 22-year-old Daniel Caesar is an R&B/soul singer and songwriter. Caesar is known for incorporating gospel-like undertones in his tracks.

This past Friday, Caesar released a two track EP called We Find Love. 

On the second track, “Blessed,” Caesar sings of regret for moments he has taken a woman for granted,

“Yes, I’m a mess,” Caesar says, “but I’m blessed to be stuck with you.”

The track was written completely by Caesar himself, and its production simply consists of him playing on piano.

With her tasteless joke about Barack Obama, along with her cringeworthy dancing alongside Migos on Saturday Night Life, 2017 has so far been disastrous for Katy Perry.

She kicked off the era for her fourth album, Witness, this past February, with the release of the lead single “Chained to the Rhythm.”  She then described her upcoming era of music as “purposeful pop.”

The album, albeit catchy, is less of a “conscious” record, and more of a break-up album.

“I write it, erase it, repeat it, but what good will it do to re-open the wound?,” Perry sings on “Save as Draft,” which fans have speculated is lyrically about her widely publicized break up with Orlando Bloom.

Although Witness‘s promotional singles failed to achieve the feat of those of the Teenage Dream era, the album contains a few promising pop and adult contemporary gems; Nothing really groundbreaking, but still fun to listen to.

Ahead of his upcoming full-length debut album, Chicago rapper Vic Mensa has released a new four-track project. Mensa described The Manuscript as a “capsule,” as opposed to an EP.

The Manuscript is entirely produced by Pharrell Williams and No I.D. and contains themes of activism and social consciousness.

On the closing track, “Rage,” Mensa offers fans a look at his life growing up in the violent areas of Chicago. The track is a flawless fusion of aggressive, hard-hitting rhymes, gritty R&B vocals, and rock-style instrumentals.

Mensa’s upcoming full-length album is due at the end of this summer, and The Manuscript gives fans a taste of what to expect.

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