A Guide To Texas Hip-Hop: Definitive Releases, Artists & Events
Megan Thee Stallion performs in Houston

Photo: Derek White/Getty Images for Warner Bros. Discovery Sports


A Guide To Texas Hip-Hop: Definitive Releases, Artists & Events

From chopped & screwed to Megan Thee Stallion, Texas has grown from producing local rap celebrities to a state that superstars call home. Read on for a guide to the origins, trailblazers and ever-evolving styles that characterize Texas hip-hop.

GRAMMYs/Aug 24, 2023 - 03:59 pm

A large percentage of the globalization of hip-hop can be traced back to Texas. Nestled between the influential hubs of Los Angeles and New York, Texas has grown from being a state that produces local rap celebrities to one that superstars call home. 

Multiple cities within Texas’ borders have consistently churned out stars over the past few years, making it a unique and crucial player in making hip-hop mainstream. At its core, cities like Austin, Dallas, Houston and San Antonio are benefactors of a diverse cultural amalgamation. The rap communities that are prevalent today stand proudly on the work of those who came before. 

Yet one will never experience the same culture twice in any of Texas' cities. Our journey will take us deep into the innovative sounds and attitudes of Houston artists and music entrepreneurs. We'll shine a spotlight on the noteworthy talent that has emerged from Dallas and San Antonio since the early 2000s. Finally, we’ll take a tour of Austin, where the vibrant live music scene acts as a focal point for both local and regional accomplishments.

As we commemorate the 50th anniversary of hip-hop, it is only fitting to embark on an exploration of the impact that Texas’ rap scene has made over decades. Walk with us as we delve into its origins, celebrate the trailblazing figures who have contributed to its rise, and immerse ourselves in the ever-evolving themes and styles that have characterized this thriving musical movement.

Listen to the Spotify playlist below or visit Amazon Music, Pandora and Apple Music for an auditory accompaniment to this guide to the best of the Lonestar State.

A Brief History Of Texas Hip-Hop

In the late 1980s and early 1990s, Houston was a hotbed for hip-hop talent with artists like Scarface, UGK (Underground Kingz), and Geto Boys gaining local and regional prominence. Their gritty and unapologetic lyrics delved into the harsh realities of life in urban Texas that resonated with audiences far beyond the state's borders.

Most aspiring artists in Houston faced a challenging landscape, though. Deprived of the advantages enjoyed by their counterparts in major music industry hubs like Atlanta, Los Angeles and New York, Texas’ hip-hop community was forced to take on a DIY ethos. Artists, label execs and managers took control of their own promotion, production, and distribution. Labels like James Prince's Rap-A-Lot Records, and OG Ron C and Michael “5000” Watts’ Swishahouse pioneered the path of autonomy long before the term "independent" became a status symbol. 

Texas hip-hop was again thrust onto the main stage again in the mid-2000s when artists such as Mike Jones, Slim Thug, and Paul Wall earned widespread recognition. Mike Jones made a massive impact with standout hits like "Back Then" and "Still Tippin'." These songs not only resonated with regional audiences but also cracked the Billboard Top 100, catapulting Mike Jones to national fame.

Paul Wall's 2005 album The People's Champ solidified his status as a newcomer to be respected. The album boasted four successful singles, including "Sittin' Sidewayz" featuring Big Pokey, "They Don't Know," "Girl," and the collaboration "Drive Slow" with Kanye West and GLC. Both "Sittin' Sidewayz" and "Girl" received RIAA gold certifications, selling over 500,000 copies each. 

Founded in the '90s the Screwed Up Click was a tight-knit collective of rappers, producers, and DJs who were dedicated  to representing Houston's unique rap scene. The group's members included artists like Big Hawk, Big Mello, Big Pokey, E.S.G., Lil' Keke, Fat Pat, Lil' Flip, Z-Ro, and many others. Each brought their own style and personality to the group, contributing to the diverse and rich brand of Texas rap.

The SUC's impact extended far beyond Houston, as DJ Screw's mixtapes began to circulate widely, gaining a loyal fan base across Texas and beyond. 

Tragically, DJ Screw's life was cut short in 2000 due to an accidental drug overdose, leaving a void in the rap community. In the years following DJ Screw's passing, many members of the S.U.C. enjoyed successful careers, both individually and collectively. Artists like Lil' Keke, Z-Ro and Lil' Flip achieved mainstream success while remaining deeply rooted in their Houston origins. The SUC's influence also extended to other cities and regions, with artists from all over the world incorporating chopped and screwed elements into their music.

When Texas Hip-Hop Became Mainstream

UGK has left an indelible mark on rap culture, shaping the genre with their unique style and lyrical prowess. As the pioneers of Texas hip-hop, the duo consisting of Bun B and the late Pimp C brought their distinctive Texas flavor to the forefront of the rap scene. 

A prime example of their impact can be found in their collaboration with Jay-Z on the song "Big Pimpin'." Released in 2000, its bouncy production and memorable verses, specifically Pimp C’s final verse, was a perfect blend of UGK's signature Southern drawl and vivid storytelling. "Big Pimpin'" not only expanded UGK's reach but also solidified Jay-Z's place as a crossover artist, bridging the gap between East and South.

Texas hip-hop was again thrust onto the main stage again in the mid-2000s when artists such as Mike Jones, Slim Thug, and Paul Wall earned widespread recognition. Mike Jones made a massive impact with standout hits like "Back Then" and "Still Tippin'." These songs not only resonated with regional audiences but also cracked the Billboard Top 100, catapulting Mike Jones to national fame. 

Paul Wall's 2005 album The People's Champ solidified his status as a newcomer to be respected. The album boasted four successful singles, including "Sittin' Sidewayz" featuring Big Pokey, "They Don't Know," "Girl," and the collaboration "Drive Slow" with Kanye West and GLC. Both "Sittin' Sidewayz" and "Girl" received RIAA gold certifications, selling over 500,000 copies each. 

Less than half a decade later in Dallas, Dorrough made waves with his breakout single "Ice Cream Paint Job," which earned multiple accolades. The song peaked at No. 5 on Billboard's Hot Rap Songs chart in 2009, cementing Dorrough's place as a rising star nationally. Beyond its chart success, "Ice Cream Paint Job" also became a cultural staple that inspired a slew of spinoff freestyles — the most notable coming from Lil Wayne and his iconic mixtape No Ceilings.  

GRAMMY-winning Artists like Megan Thee Stallion and Travis Scott have kept Texas in the spotlight. In 2019, Megan made a significant impact with her ability to balance empowering lyricism with entertainment. Her hits like “Body” and “Cash S—” took over airwaves around the world, earning her widespread adoration, multiple awards, and a massive global fan base. Moreover, Megan and Beyonce’s “Savage Remix” propelled them to become the first women to win a GRAMMY for Best Rap Song in 2021. 

Originally from Missouri City, Texas, Scott blended various musical genres to create a distinctive sound that has attracted artists like Drake, Future, and more. His albums, including Rodeo, Birds in the Trap Sing McKnight, and ASTROWORLD received critical acclaim and commercial success. Scott’s elaborate live performances and ability to transcend traditional boundaries earned him a cult-like following and cemented his status as a top-tier artist internationally. 

Dallas-dwelling Nigerian American Tobe Nwigwe has carved an indelible niche within the industry with his extraordinary blend of hip-hop, soul, and gospel influences. His dynamic songs transcend conventional boundaries, fusing socially conscious lyrics with captivating melodies. Not to mention, his music videos are visual feasts characterized by vibrant aesthetics and compelling storytelling. For his efforts, Nwigwe was nominated for BestNew Artist at the 2023 GRAMMYs.

Major Promoters, Events & Festivals In Texas Hip-Hop

During the early 2010s, Austin-based concert promoters like ScoreMore Shows took the lead in organizing multi-city tours in Texas that featured then-up-and-coming artists such as J. Cole, Wiz Khalifa, and Big Sean. These tours provided budding rap artists with a precious chance to open for more established acts, gaining exposure and experience. 

In addition to ScoreMore, C3 Presents used and continues to use its Austin City Limits Festival to attract hundreds of thousands of attendees from across the country. 2014’s festival saw an unofficial farewell performance from Outkast — a show that many fans had been waiting years to see. In 2017, Jay-Z brought out hits spanning across his 20+ year career, demonstrating why he’s one of the most decorated GRAMMY winners. 

Every March, thousands of artists and fans from around the globe flock to Austin for SXSW, ready to experience a week’s worth of emerging talent. In 2009, Kid Cudi’s profile grew during Kanye West's Fader Fort show, where West shared the stage with his G.O.O.D. Music signees like Common, Consequence, and Erykah Badu. But it was Kudi who stole the spotlight. His vocals had been featured on West’s then-latest album, 808s & Heartbreak. Cudi mesmerized the audience with renditions of "Day 'N' Nite" and "Welcome To Heartbreak."

Odd Future arrived at the week-long festival in 2011 as one of the most talked about artists slated to perform. This momentum was fueled by their recent appearance on a Billboard cover and a performance on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon. The group commenced their Austin journey with a notable showcase at the mtvU Woodies. Odd Future’s popularity grew exponentially following their electrifying performance at the Fader Fort and several other showcases throughout the week. 

Iconic venues like the Mohawk, Antone's, Emos and Empire Control Room in Austin have become bustling centers for nurturing local hip-hop talent. The House of Blues in revered grounds for Houstonians, offering aspiring artists a coveted platform to showcase their talents and break into the music scene. Elsewhere in the city, Warehouse Live held one of Drake’s earliest concerts in 2009; he returned five years later for an intimate performance during Houston Appreciation Week. Dallas takes pride in venues like Trees, which have played a pivotal role in supporting and fostering emerging artists. San Antonio's Paper Tiger (formerly known as White Rabbit) has also been instrumental in providing a nurturing space for the city's up-and-comers. 

Because of Texas' variety of venues and festivals, the next generation of superstars found fertile ground to establish themselves, build fan bases, and keep Texas as a contributor to rap’s globalization.

Rising Artists In Texas Hip-Hop

As the state’s rap legacy thrives, a wave of talented artists emerges, poised and prepared to embrace the heritage bestowed upon them by their predecessors. There are frontrunners believed to be the next big sensation in every town, each of whom sits on the brink of stardom.

Maxo Kream: Hailing from Houston, Maxo Kream gained recognition for his raw and unfiltered portrayal of street life and the harsh realities of his upbringing. With a unique blend of Southern rap and trap influences, Kream often draws from personal experiences, reflecting on his past struggles and triumphs. His breakthrough came with the release of his 2018 mixtape Punken, which garnered critical acclaim. 

Monaleo: Monaleo's 2020 debut epitomized the essence of Texas. The Houston resident's infectious breakout track "Beating Down Yo Block," reverberated with unabashed energy. The song's clever use of samples from Yungstar, a fellow Houstonian, and his song "Knockin' Pictures Off The Wall" added a nostalgic touch. In 2023, she released her debut Where the Flowers Don’t Die

Magna Carda: Led by charismatic vocalist Megz Kelli and masterful producer Dougie Do as the, Austin's Magna Carda’s music transcends state lines. Kelli's vocals and soul-stirring storytelling blend seamlessly with Do's finely honed beats, creating a mesmerizing concoction of jazz, hip-hop, and neo-soul. Their performances are an immersive experience, captivating audiences from all walks of life. Their magnetic presence has earned them a devoted following across the country. 

That Mexican OT: Hailing from Houston, That Mexican OT showcases an impeccable blend of his Mexican heritage and the Southern flair that characterizes his hometown. Notably, he joined forces with the renowned Houston legend Paul Wall for a collaborative 2023 song "Johnny Dang." 

Riders Against the Storm: Composed of husband-and-wife duo Chaka and Qi Dada, Austin-based Riders Against the Storm (RAS) embraces themes of social justice, empowerment, and unity, resonating deeply with their diverse audience. Beyond their artistic contributions, RAS has been dedicated to community engagement and advocacy. They have actively supported various charitable causes, mentoring young artists, and using their platform to uplift marginalized voices.

The Future Of Texas Hip-Hop

No matter how popular its residents become, Texas will forever remain rooted in its humble beginnings. It’s inspiring to think that a community of rappers, DJs, executives, and producers turned a state that lacked immediate connections to major outlets into a global epicenter consistently birthing remarkable talent. 

But somewhere within the state’s lines is the next rap star who has yet to release their first song. Miles away, there’s a living legend who will never call another place home. The state will continue to adopt many and serve as a warm second home for out-of-town talent looking for a community dedicated to achieving notable status in hip-hop. 

Texas will undoubtedly remain revered and referenced in songs for decades to come due to the contributions of the aforementioned artists. While the future of its rap scene remains uncertain, whatever lies ahead will undoubtedly match the enormity of the state itself.

A Guide To Southern Hip-Hop: Definitive Releases, Artists & Subgenres From The Dirty South

15 Must-Hear Albums This October: Troye Sivan, Drake, Blink 182, NCT 127 & More
(L-R) NCT 127, Black Pumas, Blink-182, BoyWithUke, Taylor Swift, Troye Sivan, Gucci Mane

Photos (L-R): The Chosunilbo JNS/Imazins via Getty Images, Jody Dominigue, Jack Bridgland, courtesy of the artist, Michael Tranafp, Rodin Eckenroth via Getty Images, Paras Griffin via Getty Images


15 Must-Hear Albums This October: Troye Sivan, Drake, Blink 182, NCT 127 & More

Don't let the falling leaves bring you down — read on for 15 albums dropping in October from Taylor Swift, Gucci Mane and Riley Green.

GRAMMYs/Oct 2, 2023 - 03:22 pm

Fall has already begun, and 2023 enters its final act with the beginning of October. However, that doesn't mean the music has to slow down — this month offers plenty of new releases for everyone from rap fans to country aficionados.

The month starts with Sufjan Stevens and the release of Javelin, his first fully-written album in eight years. On the same day, after several postponements, Drake will finally put forth For All the Dogs. Later in the month, blink-182 will make a long-awaited return with One More Time…, their first album featuring the original members since 2011, and Migos rapper Offset will drop his sophomore record, Set It Off.

There's also new work from Troye Sivan, NCT 127, Metric, Gucci Mane, and Taylor Swift closing off the month with the re-release of 1989 (Taylor's Version).

Don't let the falling leaves bring you down — below, compiled a guide with 15 must-hear albums dropping October 2023.

Sufjan Stevens - Javelin

Release date: Oct. 6

The last time Sufjan Stevens released an album fully written by himself was 2015's Carrie & Lowell. Javelin, his upcoming tenth studio album, will finally break this spell.

Mostly recorded at Stevens' home studio and featuring contributions from several friends (including the National's Bryce Dessner), the 10 tracks of Javelin bring back sounds of "70s Los Angeles' studio opulence" and vibes of a "detailed yet plain" self-portrait, according to a press release.

The album also features a cover of Neil Young's "There's a World" and an ambitious, 48-page art book with collages and essays written by Stevens. Javelin is preceded by the soothing single "So You Are Tired" and the spaced-out "Will Anybody Ever Love Me?"

NCT 127 - Fact Check

Release date: Oct. 6

Within the NCT constellation, NCT 127 is the subgroup anchored in South Korea's buzzing capital, Seoul. Since debuting in 2016, the nine-member ensemble has been infusing the city's vibrancy with innovative EDM and hip hop mixes.

On Oct. 6, NCT 127 will return with their fifth studio album, Fact Check, bringing in another round of their experimental K-pop sound. Consisting of nine songs, including lead single "Fact

Check (Mysterious; 不可思議)," the album expresses 127's confidence.

So far, they released a wealth of teasers that are linked to NCT's overall "dream" concept, video contents, and a highlight medley of the album tracks. After the recent ronclusion of NCT Nation, NCT's first full-group concert in South Korea and Japan, fans are expecting 127 to announce tour dates.

BoyWithUke - Lucid Dreams

Release date: Oct. 6

Mysterious masked singer and TikTok phenomenon BoyWithUke will continue his dream-themed saga with the release of Lucid Dreams, his fourth studio album.

According to a statement by the Korean American star, Lucid Dreams is meant to express "my desires, my fears, my past, and my dreams." He also adds that the each song on the album is "like a different step on the path. I'm facing past traumas, making the music I want to make, and figuring out who I am."

That development can be seen on pre-releases "Migraine" and "Trauma," where he opens up about mental health and childhood struggles over signature ukulele strings. In his own words, this album is truly "BoyWithUke blossoming, spreading his wings, and finding himself."

Drake - For All the Dogs

Release date: Oct. 6

After several postponements, Drake's eighth studio album is finally ready to meet the world. For All the Dogs is spearheaded by singles "Search & Rescue" and "Slime You Out" featuring SZA.

The album's tracklist is still a mystery, but it will reportedly feature names like Nicki Minaj, Bad Bunny, and Yeat, with production credits from 40, Bnyx, and Lil Yachty, among others. For All the Dogs is also linked to the Canadian rapper's debut poetry book, Titles Ruin Everything: A Stream of Consciousness — a 168-page collection written in partnership with longtime friend and songwriter Kenza Samir.

The album follows Drake's two 2022 studio albums: Honestly, Nevermind and Her Loss, in collaboration with 21 Savage. Currently, Drake is finishing up his It's All A Blur North American tour — one of the reasons why the album has been postponed before.

Troye Sivan - Something to Give Each Other

Release date: Oct. 13

On an Instagram post, Australian singer Troye Sivan stated: "This album is my something to give you — a kiss on a dancefloor, a date turned into a weekend, a crush, a winter, a summer. Party after party, after party after after party. Heartbreak, freedom. Community, sisterhood, friendship. All that."

Something to Give Each Other is Sivan's first full-length album in five years, following 2018's Bloom. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, he revealed many of the inspirations behind this work, including partying, movies like Lost in Translation and Before Sunrise, and simple, ice-cold glasses of beer.

The trippy atmosphere of the album can be felt through pre-release singles "Rush" and "Got Me Started" — which features a sample of Bag Raider's omnipresent 2011 hit, "Shooting Stars." 

Offset - Set It Off

Release date: Oct. 13

Migos rapper Offset said in a statement that his sophomore album, Set It Off, took over two years to finalize. "This season is personal for me. It marks a new chapter in my life," he added.

A follow-up to his 2019 debut LP, Father of 4, the album will feature appearances by stellar names such as rapper Future, Travis Scott, Chloe Bailey, and Latto, as well as Offset's wife Cardi B, who appears on single "Jealousy."

Later in the statement, Offset said he feels "like Michael Jackson coming from a successful group breaking records to superstardom on my own. This body of work is healing for me and a letter to my fans and supporters." Lead single "Fan" brings back that comparison through many Michael Jackson references in the music video — a clever choice for the rapper's keen self-awareness.

Metric - Formentera II

Release date: Oct. 13

Exactly one year after the release of Formentera, indie royalty Metric took to social media to announce their ninth studio album, Formentera II. "Sometimes I feel like I'm in a damn maze and maybe you do too, or maybe you have it totally together, or maybe you feel like you're always floating somewhere in between," they wrote. "Wherever you're at right now, I am here to guide you to the rocking️ conclusion of our Formentera I & II odyssey."

The Canadian band also shared lead single "Just the Once," which was described by vocalist Emily Haines as a "regret disco" song in a press statement. "It's a song for when you need to dance yourself clean," she added. "Beneath the sparkling surface, there's a lyrical exploration of a simple word with many meanings. Once is a word that plays a game of opposites."

In support of the release, Metric revealed another single, "Who Would You Be For Me," and will be playing special concerts in NYC, L.A., Toronto, London, Paris, Berlin, Mexico City, Monterrey, and Santiago starting Oct. 10. The concerts will also celebrate the 20th anniversary of their debut LP, Old World Underground, Where Are You?

Riley Green - Ain't My Last Rodeo

Release date: Oct. 13

Alabama country star Riley Green has a moving story behind his second full-length album. Echoing the 2019 hit "I Wish Grandpas Never Died," Ain't My Last Rodeo came from one of the last conversations the singer shared with his late grandfather, Buford Green, who was an essential figure shaping his love for music and nature.

"I was fortunate enough to grow up within about three miles of my grandparents, so they were a huge part of my growing up and who I am — and this album is a lot of who I am," Green said in a press release. "This is really the first time I was able to really take my time, write and record songs that really felt like a cohesive album."

Ain't My Last Rodeo features 12 tracks (including a cover of Tim McGraw's "Damn Country Music")  and collaborations with Jelly Roll and Luke Combs. In February 2024, Green will embark on a 34-stop tour throughout the U.S.

The Drums - Jonny

Release date: Oct. 13

As its title suggests, the Drums' upcoming sixth studio album, Jonny, dives deep into current solo member Jonny Pierce's life. According to a press release, the album mainly explores "the deep-rooted childhood trauma Pierce experienced growing up in a cult-like religious community in upstate New York."

The singer explains further: "When I finished Jonny, I listened to it, and I heard my soul reflected back at me. It is devastating and triumphant, it is lost and found, it is confused and certain, it is wise and foolish. It is male and female, it is hard and gentle.

"To encapsulate one's whole self in an album, to honor each and every part of you, even the parts that feel at odds with each other, is to make something deeply human, and because my religion is humanism, the album becomes a sacred place for me to worship. Each feeling a different pew, each song a hymn to the human heart."

In the past few months, Pierce gave insight into the 16-track, indie-pop collection through singles "I Want It All," "Plastic Envelope," "Protect Him Always," "Obvious," and "Better." Jonny is the band's first full release since 2019's Brutalism.

Gucci Mane -  A Breath of Fresh Air

Release date: Oct. 17

Following 2016's Ice Daddy, Atlanta rapper Gucci Mane's sixteenth studio album will be named A Breath of Fresh Air.

In it, Mane is likely in his most vulnerable, relatable state yet. "I kind of wanted to let people know that I go through pain," he stated in an interview for Apple Music (via Revolt). "Like I said, I didn't want to have so much just superficial topics. I hit people and let them know, 'Hey, this was going on,' but it ain't a bad thing. It's okay to be happy. You know what I'm saying?"

According to iTunes, the album is set to have two discs and 24 songs, including singles "Bluffin" featuring Lil Baby, "Pissy"  featuring Roddy Ricch and Nardo Wick, "King Snipe" with Kodak Black, and "06 Gucci" with DaBaby and 21 Savage.

Release date: Oct. 20

blink-182's newest single, "One More Time," is a hard-earned reflection about what really matters in life. The punk rock trio, which hadn't been reunited since 2011's Neighborhoods, now realizes how personal struggles impacted their friendship, and how they hope to make it different in the future.

"I wish they told us, it shouldn't take a sickness/ or airplanes falling out of the sky," they sing, referencing Travis Barker's 2008 plane crash and Mark Hoppus' 2021 cancer diagnosis. "I miss you, took time, but I admit it/ It still hurts even after all these years."

A proof of maturity since they stepped into music in 1992, the heartfelt single is also the title track off upcoming LP One More Time... Featuring 2022's "Edging" and "More Than You Know" as well, the album was recorded mostly during their reunion tour this year, and boasts 17 tracks in total.

Sampha - Lahai

Release date: Oct. 20

Lahai is Sampha's grandfather's name and his own middle name. Now, it will become part of his musical history — the singer's sophomore studio album and follow up to 2017's acclaimed Process is due Oct. 20.

Over social media, Sampha described the record through a series of words as intriguing as his music: "Fever Dreams. Continuums. Dancing. Generations. Syncopation. Bridges. Grief. Motherlands. Love. Spirit. Fear. Flesh. Flight." Featuring contributions from singers like Yaeji, El Guincho and Yussef Dayes, it will feature 14 tracks that seemingly take a more positive tone than his previous work.

In a statement about lead single "Spirit 2.0," the south London singer said "it's about the importance of connection to both myself and others, and the beauty and harsh realities of just existing. It's about acknowledging those moments when you need help — that requires real strength."

Starting Oct. 12 in his hometown, Sampha will play a string of concerts throughout the U.K., Europe, and North America, wrapping it up on December 4 in Berlin, Germany.

Poolside - Blame It All On Love

Release date: Oct. 20

"I've spent 15 years being like, 'f—your rules,' and I finally feel like I'm not trying to prove anything or anyone wrong," says Jeffrey Paradise, the man behind "daytime disco" project Poolside, in a statement about his upcoming album, Blame It All On Love.

"It's just pure, unfiltered expression, and that's why I'm really excited about this record," he adds. The album bears 11 tracks described as "funky, soulful, laidback, and full of hooks" — as can be seen in singles like "Float Away," "Each Night" featuring Mazy, and "Back To Life" with Panama. According to the same statement, "the production marks a return to his live music roots and finds ease in simple and radiant layers of sound, even as it comes face-to-face with the complex reality of one's dreams come true."

Blame It All On Love is the follow-up to 2020 and 2021's duo Low Season and High Season. Poolside is on tour across the U.S. until Oct. 14.

Black Pumas - Chronicles of a Diamond

Release date: Oct. 27

Black Pumas' long-awaited second studio album, Chronicles of a Diamond, is "wilder and weirder" than its predecessor, according to an official statement. It is also the Austin-based duo's "fullest expression" of "frenetic creativity and limitless vision."

The album contains 10 tracks that expand on their trademark psychedelic soul sounds, as it can be seen in singles "More Than a Love Song" and "Mrs. Postman." "I wanted to make something we'd be thrilled to play live 200 days a year," says singer/songwriter Eric Burton in the same statement. "I wanted to be able to laugh, cry, bob my head, do the thing: it was all very much a selfish endeavor."

After the release, the Black Pumas will embark on a U.S. tour starting Dec. 4 in Austin, Texas, and follow into an European tour starting March 15 in Paris.

Taylor Swift - 1989 (Taylor's Version)

Release date: Oct. 27

Just three months after the release of Speak Now (Taylor's Version), Swifties will be treated to the singer's fourth re-recorded album this month: 2014's 1989. "To be perfectly honest, this is my most FAVORITE re-record I've ever done because the five From The Vault tracks are so insane," she revealed over social media.

As usual with Swift, the announcement of the album was marked by a slew of hints, starting with the news' date — Aug. 9, or 8/9 — during the final U.S. stop of her Eras Tour at Los Angeles' SoFi Stadium. On that day, she also debuted new, blue outfits that alluded to 1989's assigned color. Afterwards, the discovery continued through a partnership with Google Search for fans to solve word puzzles in order to discover the titles of the five "From the Vault" tracks.

The album, which Swift said "changed my life in countless ways" will be available in digital, cassette, CD, and vinyl. She will also release deluxe versions in four different colors: crystal skies blue, rose garden pink, aquamarine green, and sunrise boulevard yellow.

Behind Mark Ronson's Hits: How Boogie Nights, Five-Hour Jams & Advice From Paul McCartney Inspired His Biggest Singles & Collabs

New Music Friday: Listen To New Music From Jungkook & Jack Harlow, PinkPantheress, *NSYNC And More
Jungkook performs at the 2023 Global Citizen Festival in September.

Photo: Gotham/WireImage


New Music Friday: Listen To New Music From Jungkook & Jack Harlow, PinkPantheress, *NSYNC And More

As September comes to a close, listen to these new songs, albums and collaborations from Ed Sheeran, Lil Wayne and more.

GRAMMYs/Sep 29, 2023 - 08:18 pm

As we close out the month, this New Music Friday has loads of fresh beginnings and highly anticipated reunions.

Several big-name collaborations dropped on Sept. 29, from an electric team-up of the Rolling Stones and Lady Gaga to an R&B and rap fusion from Jungkook and Jack Harlow

Two nostalgic releases arrived as well, with Lil Wayne's new album Tha Fix Before Tha Vi continuing his "Tha Carter" series, while *NSYNC fans were treated to the boy band's first new song in 20 years with "Better Place."

Dive into these seven new releases that blend the old generation with the new. 

Jungkook ft. Jack Harlow — "3D"

BTS singer Jungkook takes us through a nostalgic journey with "3D," a song reminiscent of an early 2000s boy band hit. The hypnotizing lyrics illustrate his close connection to someone he can't reach, so he'll watch them in 3D.

"So if you're ready (So if you're ready)/ And if you'll let me (And if you'll let me)/ I wanna see it in motion/ In 3D (Uh-uh)," he sings in the chorus. 

Jack Harlow pops in, dropping a few verses boasting about his global attraction with women. "Mr. First Class" claims he can "fly you from Korea to Kentucky," as he closes out the song.

With an addictive chorus and groovy baseline, this track has a different vibe from his "Seven" collaboration with Latto. The song marks Jungkook's seventh solo single and second of 2023.

Rolling Stones & Lady Gaga ft. Stevie Wonder — "Sweet Sounds of Heaven"

The Rolling Stones, Lady Gaga and Stevie Wonder blended their talents, to create a harmonic symphony of a song that lives up to its heavenly title. Seven minutes of gospel- and blues-inspired rhythms, enriched by Gaga and Mick Jagger's distinct riffs, make this collaboration an immersive experience. Stevie Wonder grounds the track with his command of piano and melodic tempo.

The track is the second peek of the Rolling Stones' upcoming album, Hackney Diamonds, their first LP release in 18 years; their first release, "Angry," arrived Sept. 6. With production from GRAMMY-winning Andrew Watt, the soulful essence makes "Sweet Sounds of Heaven" an exciting taste of the long-overdue album.

*NSYNC — "Better Place"

Yes, you read correctly. After two decades and a recent reunion at the 2023 MTV Video Music awards, <em>NSYNC is back with a new single, "Better Place," appearing in the new animated Trolls* movie (due Nov. 17). With a nostalgic dance-pop beat, familiar production and breezy lyrics, this single is a remarkable comeback.

"Just let me take you to a better place/ I'm gonna make you kiss the sky tonight," they sing in the chorus. 

The reunion was first teased Sept. 14, through a video of the group's emotional studio session, as Justin Timberlake shared on Instagram. "When the stars align… got my brothers back together in the studio to work on something fun and the energy was special," he wrote in the post. 

PinkPantheress — "Mosquito"

Dive into this musical daydream as PinkPantheress serenades us on her new single, "Mosquito," a dreamy, lucid song reminiscent of old-school R&B. After recently hopping on the energetic remix of Troye Sivan's "Rush" and teaming up with Destroy Lonely on "Turn Your Phone Off," PinkPantheress is transporting us through a new era, full of charm and surprises.

"Cause I just had a dream I was dead/ And I only cared 'cause I was taken from you/ You're the only thing that I own/ I hear my bell ring, I'd only answer for you," she sings in the chorus. 

Co-crafted by GRAMMY-winning producer Greg Kurstin, this song is a transcending, surreal experience. This single isn't about romance, instead she takes us through her entanglements with treasures and money. That's further portrayed in the lavish video, which features a European shopping spree starring "Bridgerton" stars Charithra Chandran, India Amarteifio and "Grown-ish" star Yara Shahidi.

Ed Sheeran — Autumn Variations

The era of mathematical-themed albums seems to be over, as Ed Sheeran has entered a new chapter with Autumn Variations, his second project this year. Sheeran is singing from his heart, sharing soulful tales from emotional events in his life including the death of his dearest friend Jamal Edwards and his wife's health challenges during pregnancy — an extension of the stories he told with May's Subtract.

Autumn Variations is very raw, stripped down and authentic as he takes us through his personal journey. Amidst this, Sheeran still brings in some buzzing tracks including catchy songs like "American Town," "Paper Bag" and "Amazing."

Lil Wayne — Tha Fix Before Tha Vi

Lil Wayne celebrated his 41st birthday with a special present to his fans: the release of a new album two days later. The alluring 10-track project,"Tha Fix Before Tha Vi" dives into past vibes with songs like "Tity Boi," a reference to 2 Chainz's initial stage name, which may be a reference to the upcoming joint album between the two. Each song has a different feel including "Tuxedo," which features a more punk-rock melody and "Chanel No.5 ft. Foushee," which features a sensational beat.

His first album since 2020, Tha Fix Before Tha Vi features rather unexpected collaborators, including Jon Batiste, Fousheé and euro. With different sounds and features than past projects, we could possibly be entering a new Weezy era. 

Thomas Rhett & Morgan Wallen — "Mamaw's House"

Country superstars Morgan Wallen and Thomas Rhett unite for "Mamaw's House," a country-folk track relishing the memories of their grandparents' home and cozy fireplace tales. 

"It's where I spent my summers and she put me to work/ Shellin' peas and shuckin' corn until my fingers hurt/ No tellin' who I'da been without Mamaw's house," Rhett sings in the second verse. 

Rhett said the duo decided to write about their small-town culture — Rhett is from Valdosta, Georgia, while Wallen hails from Sneedville, Tennessee — and the significant presence of grandparents brought to their upbringings. 

"This song just kind of brings up how our mamaws used to act when we were little kids," Rhett told Audacy.. "It's an ode to all the grandmas out there."

10 Ways Britney Spears' "...Baby One More Time" Changed Pop Music Forever

Positive Vibes Only: AMEN Music Offers Up A Spiritual Home In A Joyful Performance Of "Holy Ghost"
AMEN Music

Photo: Renato Rimach


Positive Vibes Only: AMEN Music Offers Up A Spiritual Home In A Joyful Performance Of "Holy Ghost"

Dante Bowe-led worship collective AMEN Music preaches about the power of the holy spirit on their new song "Holy Ghost."

GRAMMYs/Sep 29, 2023 - 07:34 pm

AMEN Music are ready to worship on their new song "Holy Ghost." Against a backdrop of hundreds of lit candles, the contemporary Christian act leads a crowd in singing the praises of the holy spirit in this special performance for Positive Vibes Only.

"Our teacher, my keeper, my all and all/ Thank God for the Holy Ghost/ Sticks closer than a brother and he won't let go/ Thank God for the Holy Ghost/ Completes us and fills us to overflow/ Thank God for the Holy Ghost/ He endows us with power, now the world will know/ Thank God for the Holy Ghost," founder Dante Bowe preaches as he encourages the audience to raise their hands in the air and sing along.

Led by Bowe, the worship collective recently released their debut album, In the Light, featuring 13 rapturous live performances including "Hero," "Come As You Are," "Beautiful (Spontaneous)" and "Jesus We Love You" in addition to "Holy Ghost."

Prior to founding AMEN Music, Bowe snagged six GRAMMY nominations at the 2022 ceremony, including three separate nods in the Best Gospel Song/Performance category. (His own songs "Voice of God" featuring Steffany Gretzinger and Chandler Moore and "Joyful" earned the singer his first two nods, while co-writing Elevation Worship and Maverick City Music's "Wait on You" scored him a third.)

Ultimately, he won his first GRAMMY for Best Contemporary Christian Music Album as a writer on Elevation Worship and Maverick City Music's collaborative record Old Church Basement. Earlier this year, he was nominated for a seventh time — this time for Best Contemporary Christian Music Performance/Song as a guest artist and co-writer on Crowder's "God Really Loves Us." 

Press play on the video above to watch AMEN Music's jubilant performance of "Holy Ghost" and check back to for more new episodes of Positive Vibes only. 

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GRAMMY Rewind: Coolio Calls For A United "Hip-Hop Nation" After "Gangsta's Paradise" Wins In 1996
Coolio and L.V. at the 1996 GRAMMYs.

Photo: Russell Einhorn/Liaison


GRAMMY Rewind: Coolio Calls For A United "Hip-Hop Nation" After "Gangsta's Paradise" Wins In 1996

The East Coast rapper took home the GRAMMY for Best Rap Solo Performance for his No. 1 hit "Gangsta's Paradise."

GRAMMYs/Sep 29, 2023 - 05:00 pm

Coolio was living in the "Gangsta's Paradise" of his own creation when the 1996 GRAMMY Awards rolled around. The year before, the ode to hip-hop culture had not only become a global No. 1 hit for the rapper, but also the best-selling song of 1995 in the U.S. And that February night in Los Angeles' Shrine Auditorium, the track won Coolio his first GRAMMY, for Best Rap Solo Performance.

Receiving the trophy from Salt-N-Pepa and Mary J. Blige (clad in head-to-toe leopard print), the rapper emerged from backstage with his overjoyed entourage in tow, and started out his acceptance speech by claiming his GRAMMY "for the whole hip-hop nation."

"West Coast, East Coast, worldwide — united we stand, divided we fall. Recognize," he continued before going on to thank God, his then-fiancée Josefa Salinas and his kids, as well as Stevie Wonder, Quincy Jones, his collaborator L.V., Michelle Pfeiffer (who starred in the song's music video) and others.

Coolio then ended his remarks on a serious note, acknowledging, "We've had a lil' problem lately in high schools and I only got one ting to say to all my Black and Latino brothers out there fightin': Ain't no gangsters living in paradise." 

During the telecast, Coolio also took to the stage to perform "Gangsta's Paradise," which had earned a second nomination for Record of the Year. (That major award ultimately went to Seal's "Kiss From a Rose," along with Song of the Year.)

Sadly, the gangsta rap pioneer died in September 2022 at age 59 after suffering an accidental overdose laced with fentanyl. Press play on the video above to revisit Coolio's GRAMMYs win and check for more new episodes of GRAMMY Rewind.

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10 Ways Britney Spears' "...Baby One More Time" Changed Pop Music Forever
Britney Spears in 1998.

Photo: L. Busacca / Contributor


10 Ways Britney Spears' "...Baby One More Time" Changed Pop Music Forever

Released 25 years ago on Sept. 29, 1998, Britney Spears' iconic pop confection was a musical thunderbolt. revisits "...Baby One More Time," and 10 ways Spears' debut single changed the musical landscape forever.

GRAMMYs/Sep 29, 2023 - 03:47 pm

The song announces itself with a now-iconic two note keyboard riff. Then, the track's introductory words, so simple yet sultry: "Oh, baby baby." An electronic drumbeat clicks in and once the groove gets going, we're well on your way to music infamy.

Released 25 years ago on Sept. 29, 1998, Britney Spears' debut single, "...Baby One More Time," was a perfect pop confection. The title track of Spears' 1999 debut album,  "...Baby" made an instant superstar out of the Louisiana native and earned her a GRAMMY nomination for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance. 

The momentous track also helped usher in a new era of pop music culture, sound and production. Aside from making a household name out Spears and inspiring countless pop songstresses in her wake, it kicked off a historic streak of smashes for its enigmatic producer Max Martin, became one of the MTV generation's most iconic music videos and, for a time, shifted the center of pop from Los Angeles to Stockholm, Sweden.

In honor of its milestone anniversary, from its earworm sound, infamous video and commercial success, read on for 10 ways "...Baby One More Time" changed pop music and American culture forever.

It Marked Britney Spears' Big Break

Long before Spears turned into one of music's most recognizable stars, she was just another fledgling young singer searching for her way in the ruthless industry. 

After stints as part of "The New Mickey Mouse Club" and a turn on "Star Search," the young singer dodged two life paths that could have changed everything. First thinking that she'd develop a sound similar to Sheryl Crow, Spears then nearly joined the R&B girl group Innocence. But once the Kentwood, Louisiana native signed with Jive Records — which  had a working relationship with a group of buzzy producers in Sweden — the teen singer's future was sealed. 

The Song's Success Recentered Pop Production In Sweden

Jive executives had early success with the visionary Swedish producer Denniz Pop, who had a dream that his Nordic country would become the center of popular music. First producing hits for Ace of Base such as "All That She Wants," the mastermind subsequently crafted the Backstreet Boys' iconic sound (including "As Long as You Love Me"). His Cheiron Studios in Stockholm was named after the wise centaur who played a Lyre in Greek mythology. 

Just as his dream was coming true however, the producer was diagnosed with stomach cancer and died one month before the release of "...Baby One More Time" in August 1998. But while sick, he passed on his techniques and vision to a range of mentees including Max Martin, a former rocker turned pop-producer. "(The Cheiron sound is) direct, effective, (and) we don't show off," Martin said in 2001. 

It Launched Max Martin's Historic Career…

The melody of "...Baby" came to Martin as he was falling asleep. Not wanting it to escape him, he recorded it. "I remember listening back to (the tape) after (the song) blew up and you can hear me sort of go: 'Hit me baby one more time,' he recalled in a 1998 interview of the song he'd later write and producer. "Then I hear myself say, 'Yeah, it's pretty good.'" 

"...Baby" later became his first No. 1 Billboard Hot 100 hit of his ongoing career, a feat he reached a whopping 25 times with songs ranging from Taylor Swift's "Shake it Off" and "Blank Space" and The Weeknd's "Can't Feel My Face" to name a few. In fact, Martin is second-only to Paul McCartney and John Lennon as the songwriter with the most No. 1 hits in the history of the charts. 

…And Changed The Trajectory Of TLC's

TLC almost recorded the future smash. However, the R&B group were turned off by its lyrics, thinking that "Hit me" was meant to be taken literally. 

Said TLC member T-Boz of the decision: "I was like: 'I like the song but do I think it's a hit? Do I think it's TLC?' … Was I going to say 'Hit me baby one more time'? Hell no!" TLC would go onto record "No Scrubs" and "Cool" and "Unpretty," both of which marked the end of their hit-making era. 

It Established Spears' Signature Sound

Spears understood the melodic power of "... Baby One More Time" immediately. 

"The whole song is about that stress that we all go through as teens," Spears told the Guardian in 2018. "I knew it was a great song. It was different and I loved it, (but) I don't think you can anticipate how a song is going to be received." 

Martin was a big part of that. "I think Max is a genius. It all just came together and felt right. In my opinion Max is the greatest songwriter of all time." For their efforts, Rolling Stone later called "...Baby One More Time" the greatest debut single of all time. 

It Ushered In A New Pop Era

The first time Spears heard her song, she just hopped off an airplane. "It was so weird because we'd just got in the car, I'd just shut the door, and it came on," she recalled to Variety. "It was so overwhelming, I just started screaming. It was really cool, though." 

In the fall of 1998, it debuted at No. 17 and hit No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for two consecutive weeks, later spending 32 weeks on the Hot 100 and earned platinum status. Speaking to its influence, the radio programmer Clark Ingraham later told the Guardian, "We'd been through an alternative cycle in the early to mid-'90s, and something of an R&B cycle after that. Britney was among the first big artists in a pop cycle that began in the late 1990s and continued into the early 2000s." 

The Music Video Is Iconic

One month before the song was released, Spears and director Nigel Dick descended on Venice High School in Los Angeles. Originally conceived as a cartoon, it was Spears who pushed for the now-infamous schoolgirl concept that exploded onto television screens. 

"The beauty of the video on some level is there's nothing fancy about it," Dick told Billboard in 2018. "It's very… ho-hum isn't quite the word, but it's very ordinary on some level, which is, I think, one of the reasons (why) Britney shines is because it's all about Britney." 

Nominated for four MTV Video Music Awards, the channel's "Total Request Live" called the video the Most Iconic of All Time.

The Video Turned Britney Spears Into A Sex Symbol

For better or worse, Spears's image was solidified with the video, which showed her scantily clad and landed her on magazine covers the world over.  

When it comes to her schoolgirl look in the video, Dick told Billboard: "My producer and the executive producer from the label — who are both women — go, 'No, I think that's a really good idea,'" he says of dressing the young star. "Music magazines said this artist was conceived by a bunch of dirty old men in a conference room wearing raincoats. Which, in my experience, was not how it occurred at all."

It Earned Spears Her First GRAMMY Nomination

Aside from its immense commercial success, "...Baby One More Time" helped Spears earn nominations for Best New Artist and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance at the 42nd GRAMMY Awards. She'd later win Best Dance Recording for "Toxic," among eight career nominations. 

"...Baby One More Time" Influenced Future Pop Songstresses

Britney Spears's debut and subsequent success influenced generations of young performers who were inspired by her voice, talent and image, altering an industry in her wake. 

Contemporaries including Christina Aguilera, later superstars including Miley Cyrus and Katy Perry, and modern names ranging from Dua Lipa to Billie Eilish have all pointed to Spears as major influences. "I have loved Britney Spears her whole career," Lady Gaga wrote in 2021. "I looked up to her and admired her strength. She empowered so many people, and still does."  

It's a stunning legacy, and it all started with a certain, unmistakable keyboard riff. "Oh, baby baby!"

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