Entering into the last days of summer can be a drag for some. I choose to look at it as an opportunity to get more acquainted with your own wants and desires. After last week’s freedom-inspired journey with Georgia Anne Muldrow, anybody can respect wanting to have some time for love and closeness. However that may look to you, this week’s co-curator of ESSENCE’s The Playlist is no stranger to setting bedroom vibes.
Spice, better known as the Queen of Dancehall, is one of the most recognized artists in the world. “One secret about my music is how my wordplay sets the mood,” the risqué artist told me via email. “Sex in my discography sets [off] a bedroom’s vibe.” Her latest single, “Inches,” can be taken in different ways, but the Reggae Gold exclusive dubplate glorifies the versatility and freedom women find in their hair.
And if you don’t know, Black women’s hair is living beauty and full of desirable attributes.
“Sex is a vivid and visceral art which should be looked at from multiple angles, not just from a raunchy or sensual point of view,” she adds. With Cuffing SZN slowly approaching, “songs of desire” is the theme for our latest audio adventure. “My desire is to create music my fans enjoy, [which] keeps me motivated to live each day to the fullest,” Spice shares when asked how desire has helped her life.
I hope these songs by the likes of Saweetie, Sevana, SZA, and others add some extra pepper sauce to your playlist.
1. Spice — “Inches”
“Wah’gwan, Spice Gang!” The Queen of Dancehall’s first pick for The Playlist is her record “Inches.” The Orville “Shaggy” Burrell and Shane Hoosong-produced song was originally a surprise, but for those who know—Spice is motivated by being different. “The desire to be better than yesterday has helped me grow as an artist today,” she shares. If you love your freedom of expression and the versatility of your playlist, keep this one on repeat.
2. Sevana — “Mango”
This song screams summer loving. Right before Cuffing SZN begins, Sevana‘s “Mango” is like its tropical fruit counterpart—sweet and juicy—but to the ears. Her dulcet tones should encourage everyone to play this one when you desire that slow dance in the corner at your next socially distanced bashment.
3. Cardi B — “WAP” (ft. Megan Thee Stallion)
Up next for Spice is “WAP,” the undeniably sexy smash hit by Cardi B and featuring Megan Thee Stallion. “I love seeing Black women kill, so I got to keep their music in rotation,” Spice says with respect to her fellow queens. If you’re all about women and power, we should hear “WAP” at the next function soon.
4. SZA — “Hit Different” (ft. Ty Dolla $ign)
SZA SZN began early Friday morning with the surprise release of “Hit Different,” alongside Ty Dolla $ign. Produced by The Neptunes, this song is rich in texture, tone, and tempo, and will make you drip with sweat while dancing cheek-to-cheek at your Red Light Special set. This is definitely a song to play when you need to cool the fires of your desire.
5. Saweetie — “Tap In”
Spice keeps it fearless, freaky, and focused with her third pick, “Tap In,” by Saweetie. “The support I received from my peers and contemporaries was one of the best feelings money can’t buy,” Spice shares about gaining the respect from the dancehall game. “I am proud to do the same for others and become a voice that people listen to.” The Too Short-blessed single is a calorie-burning romp that is for those who want to learn each other’s love language on the dance floor.
6. Popcaan — “All I Need” (ft. Drake)
To boost the signal for ESSENCE’s Official 2020 Cuffing SZN playlist, Popcaan‘s slow-wine ballad, “All I Need” is a desirable song, indeed. Off the OVO Sound signee’s FIXTAPE, the Drake-featured project is an unruly body mover, guaranteed to get everybody off their bumpahs, and in the mood for a good time.
7. Beyoncé — “ALREADY” (ft. Shatta Wale & Major Lazer)
“I love this song!” Spice’s next selection is “ALREADY” by the Prime Selectah, Beyoncé, and co-stars Shatta Wale. “Having desire has helped me become the Queen of Dancehall and Grace Hamilton, a great mother to my children,” she tells me. “I love that I can use my platform to share my opinions on topics that matter.” No doubt this jawn is a go-to in your life, but continue to celebrate Black Excellence and play it some more.
8. VanJess — “Come Over”
VanJess returns with “Come Over,” a funky number that is perfect for those breezy nights inside on the weekend. Cozy and cushioned in the pocket, the Sisters Nwokike deliver come-hither vocals over a driving bass and drums that turn your safe space into a romping disco. Who wouldn’t want to break quarantine when offered such an alluring proposition? “Come Over” keeps the sister act’s momentum high and should excite you for new music to add to your VanJess catalog.
9. Mulatto — “Muwop” (ft. Gucci Mane)
“And of course, for my last pick, ‘Muwop’ by Mulatto,” Spice says via voice memo. Spice continues to show love to Black women killing it in the game, while Mulatto‘s flip of Gucci Mane‘s “Freaky Gurl” should have bodies bouncing from right to left. This song contains sincere summer backyard boogie vibes and will cement why you won’t stop bumping it!
10. Blxst — “Gang Slide”
To close out The Playlist, rising R&B artist and songwriter, Blxst, gives that late night swerve with his song, “Gang Slide.” A deep cut from his new EP, No Love Lost, this song is purely for those lovers who are apposite and spontaneous at the same damn time. Keep an ear or two open for this kid who has worked with Kendrick Lamar and Eric Bellinger.
Catch new bi-weekly editions of ESSENCE’s The Playlist on Fridays and follow @KevitoClark on Instagram and Twitter.