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Heat Check: Motivators And Hater-Slayers

Pusha T performs at the 2019 Coachella Valley Music And Arts Festival in April 2019. Push's latest single, "Coming Home" is on this week's Heat Check.
Kevin Winter
Getty Images
Pusha T performs at the 2019 Coachella Valley Music And Arts Festival in April 2019. Push's latest single, "Coming Home" is on this week's Heat Check.

Playtime is over.

For me, the last four months of the year always signify a mental flip of the switch. I observe a moment of stillness to realign and take stock of the year's goals, then get a surge of motivating, creative energy to lock in and put those points on the board. Now is the time to kick things into high gear.

This week's Heat Check playlist additions are from all across the culture map — from hip-hop to pop to Jersey club — to carry the essence of that hustle movement. Think of these picks as audible versions of a contemplative stillness followed by a swift kick in the ass you know you need. (I kick because I care. Promise.)

Listen to this playlist via Spotify.

3ohBlack, "All Talk"

Sometimes, the peanut gallery not only needs to be called out, but dragged, dropped and utterly upheaved. You don't need that type of negative energy in your life.

LunchMoney Lewis, "Make That Cake (feat. Doja Cat)"

Doja's verses gets more sticky, stylish and hilariously didactic by the bar: "Mars native, Margiela, muh-f**** / Mark my words, hit a million like Mark Zucka."

Flo Milli, "Beef FloMix"

Lord, grant me the brazen confidence of Mobile, Ala.'s Flo Milli and her straightforward elegy to haters: "If you think I'm stealin swag, bitch, come sue me / They watch me like I'm a new movie."

IDK, "24"

Hard keys, a heart-pumping cadence and a barrage of metaphors all packed in under three minutes. Over and out!

Pusha T, "Coming Home (feat. Ms. Lauryn Hill)"

With an uplifting chorus from the one and only Ms. Lauryn Hill, Push prioritizes the small triumphs and culture keepers: "I do it for my big Benz drivers / For my street-corner survivors / For my n***** that miss The Wire / And throwback mommies, that won't retire."

UNIIQU3, "Breakin' Necks"

UNIIQU3 literally doesn't have a moment or a BPM to spare to give in this Jersey club bass-burner.

Yung Baby Tate, "Hallelujah"

After getting some well-deserved recognition from Nicki Minaj, Atlanta's Yung Baby Tate isn't slowing down her momentum for anybody.

Rapsody, "Serena"

Not all heroes wear capes. In Rapsody's case, the uniform she dons consists of clean straightback cornrows, glossed lips, gold-dipped doorknockers — not to mention an edifying message second to none!

Kano, "Can't Hold We Down (feat. Popcaan)"

Don't forget your crew with you on the way to the top: "Them know dem can't violate, cah mi have some way a sing like violin / I'm so goddamn blessed, every day of me life, I keep smiling."

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Sidney Madden is a reporter and editor for NPR Music. As someone who always gravitated towards the artforms of music, prose and dance to communicate, Madden entered the world of music journalism as a means to authentically marry her passions and platform marginalized voices who do the same.