V’s New Music Roundup: Nicki Minaj, Ashnikko, and More

V’s favorite music releases for the first Friday of the month

And all of the sudden it’s March! Any anxiety about yet another month down in the books is sure to be healed with the host of releases this week, largely composed of warm-weather sounds and an excitedness for the spring. From a killer Nicki Minaj track to a genre-exploratory album from Masego, these are V’s best picks for the first Friday of March. 

Nicki Minaj, “Red Ruby Da Sleeze” 

Nicki Minaj is back for her first single since 2022’s “Super Freaky Girl,” the female rapper’s first solo song to reach No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100. “Red Ruby Da Sleeze” is a strong rap anthem where Minaj self-references a sample from Lumidee’s 2003 “Never Leave You (Uh Oooh, Uh Oooh).” If Miss Minaj has pink hair on her cover art, there is a 10/10 chance of her absolutely shredding, with her newest release as strong evidence.

Ashnikko, “Worms”

Along with the announcement of her debut album coming in June, WEEDKILLER, Ashnikko has released the single “Worms.” The track is a vibey alt-pop song designed to be played with the windows down, with Ashnikko’s voice casually singing about the worms in her brain. “My bioluminescent heart is glowing,” said the artist in her album announcement. “My post-apocalyptic fae world is here for you to journey into. My wings have been ripped out, but I’ve built them anew using WEEDKILLER machine parts.”

ILLENIUM feat. American Teeth, “Insanity”

ILLENIUM is no stranger to making an irresistible electronic dance songs. In his recent collaboration with American Teeth, ILLENIUM has created a track that combines his mastered dance production with early 2000’s reminiscent punk. The release of “Insanity” marks the fourth single for the artist’s upcoming fifth studio album ILLENIUM, releasing at the end of April. “Everything about this song just feels so anthemic to me,” said ILLENIUM on the release of the single. “Elijah sounds absolutely epic and killed his performance on this record. It feels so nostalgic and I can’t get it out of my head.” 

Yves Tumor, “Heaven Surrounds Us Like a Hood”

“Heaven Surrounds Us Like a Hood” marks the third single of Yves Tumor’s upcoming album, Praise A Lord Who Chews But Which Does Not Consume; (Or Simply, Hot Between Worlds). The song, produced by Noah Goldstein and mixed by Alan Moulder, is a psychedelic genre-defying with an eclectic mix of electronic sounds alongside smashing guitar. Accompanying the release of the single is a music video, which is a trippy and vivid glimpse into the world-building that Tumor is creating ahead of their album releasing on March 17th. 

Masego, Masego

Masego has released his sophomore album, Masego, as an effortless blend of R&B, jazz, and hip-hop sounds. The self-titled album marks a body of work where Masego is settling in comfortably as he finds his own sound, by toying with production and clever lyricism. “I’m very thankful of the journey. This went from a hobby to a job,” said Masego on the release of the album. “I was getting all the things that they say that you’re supposed to be fulfilled by and I wasn’t fulfilled by it. I had to do a re-evaluation of a lot of things. I said, ‘I can’t make this what I imagined it to be. So I cannot remain here. I need to move.’”

Chiiild, Better Luck In The Next Life

Better Luck In The Next Life was created by Chiiild as an intensive personal exploration of creative freedom and a reckoning with homecoming. The album, with features from Lucky Daye, Alina Baraz, Caitlyn Scarlett, and Charlotte Cardin, is a project where Chiiild delves into all of the influences that got him to this point in his life. “Better Luck In The Next Life is a bit of an autobiographical record that covers all of the things that I love and some of the things I have gone through,” said the artist ahead of the album release. “It’s a very honest record that begins to tell my story and answer some of the questions about why I’m doing this in the first place as well as who I am.” For more on this album, see our coverage on VMAN.

Libianca feat. Ayra Starr and Omah Lay, “People (Remix)”

In the wake of the success of her track “People,” originally released in December of 2022, Libianca has enlisted two other afrobeat musicians Ayra Starr and Omah Lay for the remix of the track. The song has influences from Libianca’s upbringing between Cameroon and Minnesota, which has resulted in an afrobeat leaning sultry pop ballad. “I was going through a lot during Thanksgiving week and felt so unseen – nobody noticed what was going on,” said Libianca in the process of making the song. “I remembered thinking, I have to stay consistent with my content on social media, so I can’t afford to sit around in my emotions right now. So I walked past my room to the studio, found a beat and recorded it.”

6LACK, “Since I Have A Lover”

6LACK’s newest release is a laid-back track about having a lover waiting for you at home and the peace it brings. “Since I Have A Lover” is a single tailor-made for the weather getting warmer, that acts as the title track off of 6LACK’s upcoming album of the same title, set for release on March 24th. “‘Since I Have A Lover’, the title track, is the highs of having a healthy love, compressed into a song format,” said the singer. “It’s a note to self, that I’m no longer who I was or where I was, and that there’s a bigger purpose starting to reveal itself in the things I create. We are simply pushing love because it’s needed. The verses are short and serve as a moment of acknowledgement for how I feel, and the chorus is less of a lyric and more of a feeling. It’s an exhale, it’s relief, it’s trust, it’s happiness, it’s surreal.”

Macklemore feat. Collett, “NO BAD DAYS”

“NO BAD DAYS” is a punchy summertime anthem off of the rapper’s album Ben, which was released today. Along with the release of the album, Macklemore’s 7-year-old daughter Sloane was tasked with directing the music video for “NO BAD DAYS.” “Sloane has had a creative pulse since I can remember,” said Macklemore. “Her style, her eye, her freestyles, her Melodies. Outside of her mom I probably trust her creative input more than anyone else. And she has never been shy about her opinion. I’m so proud of who she is that it puts tears in my eyes thinking about it. To be able to brainstorm, dream, flush out ideas and ultimately pull it off with Sloane at the helm… this one will be one of my favorite videos forever. I hope it makes you smile.” 

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