What I'm Listening to This Week: Brittany Howard, Jay Wile, and a Fabolous Song From 2010

One of my favorite things about music is how it can transport you back to a specific time, place, or mood. In this edition of What I'm Listening to This Week, I was flung back about nine years thanks to Brooklyn rapper Fabolous and his performance of "You Be Killin' Em" at Rihanna's Savage x Fenty show. The time was 2010; the place was . . . some bar probably, I can't remember; and the mood? A bad b*tch in her 20s, ready to take on the world and secure a bag (plus some shoes).

Speaking of bad b*tches, I'm also spinning the debut solo album from Alabama Shakes frontwoman Brittany Howard, whose commanding, gritty vocals are definitely strong enough to knock you back to another time and place. There's also a soulful R&B tune from Jay Wile and an upbeat anthem about getting your ex back by London singer-songwriter Raye. Here's what you should slam the play button on this week and why.

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"Love Me Again" by Raye

London singer-songwriter Raye hooked me with this catchy song about getting an ex back (something I'm not interested in personally, but I love that journey for her!). Shout-out to my golden-eared colleague Zareen for putting this one on my radar. It's a slapper.

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"Who's Lovin' U?" by Jay Wile

If you need an addition to your "Cuffing Season" playlist, I highly suggest this soulful song from San Antonio, TX, R&B singer Jay Wile — it's such a treat for the ears.

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"You Be Killin' Em" by Fabolous

Picture it: I'm at home, minding my own business while watching Rihanna's Savage x Fenty runway show on Amazon. I go to the kitchen to refill my wine glass when I hear the first few notes of this song — a song that was originally released in 2010 and quickly became "my jam" — being performed by Fabolous in the year of our lord Beyoncé, 2019.

I literally yelled "Wait a minute, b*tch!" to nobody in particular as I ran back into the room and turned up the volume, high. When this song first came out, you guys? You couldn't tell me nothing! And you still can't! I've been bopping to this ever since. Thank you for bringing it back, Rihanna; you're the real MVP.

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"Back to Life" by Chiiild feat. Shungudzo

"If there's a God, I hope she's black / And when I die, she brings me back." This track from psychedelic R&B group Chiiild caught my ear, for obvious reasons.

Jaime by Brittany Howard

Jaime by Brittany Howard

The debut solo album from Alabama Shakes frontwoman (and fellow Libra) Brittany Howard is, in a word, genius. The powerhouse vocalist gets real and raw about romance, racism, and the radicalism that is being a queer black woman in America on Jaime, which is named for the sister Howard lost when she was 8 years old.

Standout track: "Stay High," because it's such a charming, wintery love song about smoking weed, and I love the groovy lyrics paired with the twinkly sounds of a xylophone.

Listen now on Spotify.