The Message: hottest Hip-Hop and R&B releases of the year so far

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Sanni Brown and Sean McPherson host The Message
Sanni Brown and Sean McPherson host The Message, Wednesday nights at 10 p.m. (MPR Photo | Nate Ryan)
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The Message for June 12, 2019
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The year 2019 has been anything but short of hot releases in the Hip-Hop and R&B world! And that's why this week's episode of The Message celebrates the best releases of 2019 thus far, with music from Anderson Paak, Lizzo, Lady Midnight, Khalid, Tyler The Creator and Nicole Bus. Hosts Sanni Brown and Sean McPherson each shared their picks for the first half of 2019.

Sanni Brown


My three songs are VERY R&B heavy and VERY soulful. You can feel the love and passion in the sounds and the lyrics:

1. Khalid - "Talk" • Khalid caught my attention with his airy song "OTW" and the fact that he's the first R&B artist to simultaneously have the Top 5 songs in the country — this is EXCITING news for the R&B genre since Hip-Hop has been poppin' so much that it felt like nobody wanted to show R&B no love!!

2. Tyler, The Creator - "Earfquake" • Any song that involves Charlie Wilson MUST be respected! The fact that Uncle Charlie jumped on this track lets you know it's a serious R&B project.

3. Nicole Bus - "You" • Sis is giving us vocals, emotion, passion AND the classic 90s vibe and GHOSTFACE KILLAH?!? This song has "let's go for an early evening drive on this fine summer Saturday night" written all over it! Thank you, Nicole Bus, for reminding us why we need R&B in our lives!

Sean McPherson


Sean's trend prediction for 2019: Being explicit without being degrading. Snare drums are louder but they don't happen in the beat as often. Two quiet keyboards are better than one loud one.

1. Anderson Paak - Ventura • Paak's is the standout album of the year so far. It's sexy, it's grown, it's full of spectacular musical moments. And Paak continues to get the best guests to help out with the best moments without letting the project feel bloated.


2. Lizzo - "Juice" • I'm loving the full Lizzo record Cuz I Love You, but I still keep coming back to "Juice." I didn't know I needed a sassy anthem full of confidence, and I did. And I love a tune that has an '80s bump to it without being a full throwback. And as a timbales enthusiast, this track gets 12 out of 10 cowbells for the stellar work on the bridge.

3. Lady Midnight - Death Before Mourning • The full record doesn't drop on all platforms until August, but it's on Bandcamp now. I feel a local storm of enthusiasm brewing about this record in a way I haven't felt in a long time about any release. Lady Midnight exudes this human tenderness on productions that still sound completely massive. And in that way, she does remind of Janet Jackson, who has the singular ability to whisper a hit.

Listen to The Message with Sanni Brown and Sean McPherson every Wednesday at 10 p.m. Central on The Current.