Welcome to the first-ever edition of Notables, your new go-to destination for the buzziest bits circulating in the music industry.
At the heart of the ever-expanding music industry will always be the music itself. The same principle applies to Notables, Boardroom’s new column — but that doesn’t mean we’re turning a blind eye to the rest.
Power players are moving at the speed of light, and industry intersectionality is at an all-time high. (Hello, Drake sitting courtside to support J. Cole with the Scarborough Shooting Stars.) We’ll highlight trending topics that any music fan should know, from new releases from A-list and emerging artists alike to fashion fads, collaborations, and memes.
It can get overwhelming trying to keep track, so we’ve volunteered to do the heavy lifting for you. With Notables, you’ll never miss anything worth hitting your group chat(s) about.
Whole Lotta Good Music
We’re officially halfway through 2022, and there’s been no shortage of great music, from big-name artists making dynamic returns — welcome back, Kendrick Lamar, Jack Harlow, and Harry Styles — to rising artists stepping up in the ever-expanding streaming era. Along with a slew of impressive drops over the last few months that have shattered existing album sales records, there are a bunch of albums that flew under the radar.
This year in music has provided something for everyone; you just have to know where to look. Here are our favorite albums of the year worth tapping back into. — Nate Louis
1. Gunna – DS4EVER
Release date: Jan. 7, 2022
Label: YSL Records/300 Entertainment
Billboard 200 Peak: 1
2. Vince Staples – Ramona Park Broke My Heart
Release date: April 8, 2022
Label: Motown Records/Blacksmith Records
Billboard 200 Peak: 21
3. Rosalia – Motomami
Release date: March 18, 2022
Label: Columbia Records
Billboard 200 Peak: 33
4. Benny the Butcher – Tana Talk 4
Release date: March 10, 2022
Label: Griselda Records/EMPIRE
Billboard 200 Peak: 15
5. Yeat – 2 Alivë
Release date: Feb. 18, 2022
Label: Field Trip Recordings/Geffen Records/Twizzy Rich
Billboard 200 Position: 6
Chief Keef, the Mogul
Chief Keef expanded his portfolio. Again.
Variety reported Monday morning that the Chicago drill rapper teamed up with RBC Records and BMG to launch a new label, 43B (‘Forget Everybody), bringing Atlanta-based rapper Lil Gnar on as its first artist. 43B will be run by Chief Keef’s manager Idris Dykes — also known as Peeda Pan — as co-CEO alongside Sophie Kautz as head of A&R and marketing.
“43B has been a passion project of mine for over a year and I’m ready to give artists that are changing the game a label where they can really succeed,” Keef told the publication. “I’ve been independent for almost 10 years, so I want to pass on my knowledge of the industry to artists who are shifting the culture so they can make it to the top.” — MA
Glimpses of Amy
Last week, Mark Ronson took to TikTok (and later, to Instagram) to share the backstory of writing “Back to Black” with Amy Winehouse, headlined by the late singer’s first demo vocals she laid for the track. The original TikTok clip has attracted over 3.1 million views.
Additionally, June 3 marked the 2LP release of Winehouse’s 2007 Glastonbury Festival performance pressed to vinyl.— Megan Armstrong
Proof of Concept: Polo G x YouTuber Kai Cenat
Rappers and YouTubers have long collaborated to help one other increase visibility in their respective worlds, but the push to digital and streaming has brought their intersection to a head. But streaming sensations appearing in mainstream music videos was still few and far in-between.
Until recently, that is.
Chicago sensation Polo G posted a teaser to his “Distraction” video on Instagram. The teaser opened up with a glimpse of Kai Cenat, a YouTuber who recently released a song of his own featuring NLE Choppa. Cenat also appeared in the first scene of the video itself.
But more importantly, his inclusion signals proof that YouTubers, TikTokers, and streamers all have skyrocketing value in the current music landscape, due to their ability to drive fans and traffic towards the music through humorous lifestyle content. — NL
Maggie Rogers Wants it All
Maggie Rogers became folklore when Pharrell visited her class at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts in March 2016 and had a visceral reaction to Rogers’ raw demo of her pop-folk debut “Alaska.” Since then, the Maryland-born megawatt star has evolved, as any human would, and expanded her artistic palette. The high-energy single “Want Want” finds Rogers professing vulnerable truth melodically as ever (“Want want what you want want then you want it and I want you”). But this time, her confessions take on a grungier tone — proving that fans pine for Rogers in any shape or form.
“Want Want” joins April’s synth-infused “That’s Where I Am” as singles from her forthcoming sophomore album, Surrender (7/29). — MA
Music Takes the Silver Screen
Music-based premieres include:
- Halftime, a Netflix documentary about Jennifer Lopez
- Untrapped: The Story of Lil Baby , a documentary directed by Karam Gill
- Taurus, starring Machine Gun Kelly.