You've successfully made it through Week 37 of 2020 and if nobody else told you today, sis, I'm proud of you. Between death, depression, and social injustice, it's been hard to catch a break in the new decade but if there's one thing we can count on to keep our spirits lifted, it's the sound of music.
In the spirit of Stacktember, it's important to note that the upcoming work week is upon us, my good sister, so use this weekend as an opportunity to spark up and wind down with a bomb ass playlist before you get back on your grind.
With fresh new music from our favorites like Jazmine Sullivan, Jhene Aiko, and SZA, here's a list of 10 songs you'll want to keep on repeat all damn weekend.
Mulatto - "On God"
Earning a spot in the 2020 XXL Freshman Class, Mulatto has come a long way from the young artist we met on Jermaine Dupri's The Rap Game in 2016. With a new video for her single "On God", the rapper proves that she is a more-than-worthy contender in the male-dominated hip-hop industry.
Jhené Aiko - "Speak"
If there's one thing about Jhene Aiko, sis is going to raise your vibrational energy, whether you like it or not, and her latest ode to self-love, "Speak", is no exception.
Teyana Taylor - "Still"
I'ma let y'all finish, but Teyana Taylor had the coldest maternity photos of 2020. I said what I said, don't @ me, and she brought that same energy to her Black Panther-inspired video, "Still".
SZA - "Hit Different" ft. Ty Dolla $ign
SZA and Ty Dolla Sign recently linked up to release a visual for "Hit Different", the R&B bop that says what we're all thinking.
Disclosure, Kehlani, Syd - "Birthday"
I'm not sure what it is about birthdays and holidays that make you want to send that "Wyd" text to your exes, but the struggle is real and it's one that Kehlani and The Internet's Syd know well. These two R&B queens recently linked up with UK group, Disclosure to give us the weekend vibes we didn't know we needed.
Joyner Lucas feat. Ashanti - "Fall Slowly (Evolution)"
When I grow up, I want to age like Ashanti and that's on period. In her latest visual collaboration with Joyner Lucas, our good sister serves us all the looks and participates in a steamy make-out scene that would make a preacher sweat.
Jazmine Sullivan - "Lost One"
Now that fall has arrived, it's time to retire your knees until next summer and pull out the slow jams. Luckily, Jazmine Sullivan just dropped a single that is guaranteed to get you all the way in your feelings.
Chloe x Halle - "Do It" ft. Doja Cat, City Girls & Mulatto
Female empowerment in the industry is at an all-time high and we love to see it. Our good sisters Chloe x Halle tapped The City Girls, Doja Cat, and Mullatto for a remix to their hit song, "Do It" and there were bars for days.
Big Sean ft. Ty Dolla $ign, Jhené Aiko - "Body Language (Detroit 2 Preview)"
While Jhene and Big Sean let us know that their relationship was "None Of Our Concern" long ago, we can't help but love to see these two link up and give us a glimpse into their love story.
TOBE NWIGWE - "EAT"
This is now a Tobe & Fat Nwigwe stan post and this husband and wife duo's latest single is sure to make you a fan, too.
Featured image via Giphy
We stan an emotionally aware king and a recent interview on Joe Budden's web show Pull Up, Big Sean proved that taking a one-year hiatus from work to focus on his mental health has made him exactly that.
In their chat, the rapper revealed that although he has battled depression since high school, it wasn't until after his 30th birthday when he started to question if his problems required professional help:
"When I turned 30 that was when it all like hit the wall. That's when everything just like… I woke up every day and I just was like, over life."
Although he had recently bought his dream home and felt accomplished in his career, Big Sean says that he soon noticed that his failing emotional health eventually extended over to his creative process:
"It just felt like I was blocked from everything creatively, physically, mentally, emotionally. I was just done. I was just ready to be done and it was scary cause I had just got a gun too. So it's the worst combination to be feeling like this."
Along with bearing the burden of creative and emotional blockages, the symptoms of his depression also took a toll on his personal life.
"My relationship at the time with my family was completely disconnected. Like a lot of people see me with my mom. I be taking my family a lot of places, but at that time in my life, for those couple of years, I remember vividly telling her like, 'I don't want you to be a part of my life. I don't want you to come around.' And when I was saying stuff like that. It didn't sound like me, so I knew something was just off. I got off my path."
The rapper, who will turn 32 later this month, explained that it was at this point when he realized that it was time to seek therapy outside of his inner circle. Big Sean explained that although venting to your friends is a normal part of life, there are some issues you have to take to a professional.
"Even though I feel like I can talk to my circle, the people around me, it's kinda like I wanted to talk to somebody where I can just like leave it there with them. I'm a firm believer of communication too and talking to the ones around you, but sometimes you want to talk about stuff and have that relationship just with that person and leave it there. Because once you leave it there, you bring a whole new energy back to you and your circle. You know what I mean? And once I started that, I just realized that I was just off. But I feel like the first step to overcoming that is just really recognizing."
Mental health isn't a topic that was foreign to the rapper before his 30th birthday, but it's one he that he says he hasn't taken seriously until now. Big Sean explained that while he felt he had to live up to the pressures of being the successful one in the family, he later found that most of that pressure was self-inflicted:
"People were like, your mental health, you have to take care of your mental health. And that's something I didn't even ever consider. That was like the last thing I used to think about. I used to think about, I gotta take care of my mom, I gotta take care of everybody. Well really if I just talk to them, they probably could have been like, 'Oh, it's cool. I can pay for this.' One of the things I always wanted to do, I was going to take care of my family. I always wanted to do that. But on one side, once I just opened up, everybody was just so accepting around me, you know?"
Featured image via Pull Up/Joe Budden
Many talk about living their dreams, but what happens when you finally say no to fear and yes to your true calling? You get to live a life of purpose and fulfillment.
xoNecole's Living My Dream series takes you behind the scenes of the movers, shakers and risk takers who decided that good wasn't good enough and chose to bet on themselves, both in life and in their careers. The stories of the fearless women featured in this series will both inspire and empower those who are striving to live their best lives, and give the encouragement that they need to create their own destiny.
Ade Samuel Is Living Her Dream As A Celebrity Stylist
In Episode 1, we are introduced to stylist Ade Samuel as she slays behind the scenes to bring the biggest star's style identities to life. After starting out as an intern at Teen Vogue, Ade eventually made the big leap to L.A., where she worked on Rihanna's Styled To Rock, Essence's "Black Girl Magic" cover shoot and Beyonce's infamous "Formation" video. Samuel now has her own shoe line and spends her days putting the finishing touches on everyone from Yara Shahidi to Kelly Rowland, Big Sean and Jhene Aiko!
If you're interested in knowing the tea on what's going on between Big Sean and Jhené Aiko, you can keep sipping, sis, because in a recent interview with ESSENCE, the "Triggered" singer reminded us that her the status of her relationship with the rapper is none of our concern.
Jhené explained that although she is forever here for the fan love, she never really asked our opinion on her love life. She explained:
"The internet has made everyone aware of their opinion. As many people as there are in the world, that's how many opinions there are. If you let that many opinions affect your own opinion, and your own way of looking at things, you're going to be so confused."
You can't pick apples from a banana tree, and you can't always take advice from people that haven't been in your position. According to Jhené, after spending much of her life in the spotlight, she's learned that her opinion is the only one that matters, and this perspective extends to many other areas of the singer's life:
"Whether it be something with me and Sean, or me and my daughter. I just love the feeling of taking that away from people; their need to have to say something or have to give their opinion because I personally have never been that way—well maybe when I was younger, or high or drunk."
The rumored couple became romantically linked after the finalization of her divorce in 2016 from her ex-husband, producer Dot Da Genius, which she later found was a blessing in disguise:
"We never moved in together. That's why when people were like, 'Oh, you left your husband.' I'm like, honestly, Sean is more of a husband as my friend. I didn't really know him…I found out he had a girlfriend the whole time. It was crazy."
Although the couple has been on-and-off for the last year, things are looking pretty on these days. After a recent trip to Disneyland, fans aren't quite sure where they stand, and for Jhené, that's OK. The 31-year-old mother of one said that while songs like "Triggered" and "None Of Your Concern" may tell a small part of her and Sean's story, we should be advised that her songs are in no way a reflection of how she feels about the rapper overall:
"I share about one percent of my whole being with the internet. Even in my songs, that's literally one moment that I'm talking about or when I felt that way. There's so much more to my relationship with my [late] brother [Miyagi], or with my daughter, or with Sean. People hear a song like 'Triggered' and they're like, 'Oh, do we hate him now?' In the grand scheme of things that was like a moment."
In the interview, Jhené also opened up about why she and Sean will always be friends, first, and even revealed the rapper's reaction after hearing her latest project:
"[Sean] was just like, 'Wow, I'm not your friend.' I was like, 'Well, I was feeling that in the moment. This is just a song. This is not 100% about you. Those are the things that I may feel, and I know that they are irrational and coming from just an angry emotional place, but that's what's so beautiful about art is that you can just throw paint on a blank canvas, and do something crazy and that's your release. You didn't hurt anyone, you know? I feel like, especially because we have a personal relationship, and a true friendship, that's why I could play it for him, and be like, 'Yeah, sorry. I kind of went really hard, but don't think that this is a personal letter to you.'"
To read Jhene's full interview, click here!
Featured image via Tumblr
Whoever told you self-care can't be masculine was a damn lie and Idris Elba is here to prove it. Celebrities aren't immune to burnout and in Fast Company's Secrets of the Most Productive People segment, Idris spilled the details on how he keeps "the grind" from grinding him to death. The actor, who says that he plans his schedule out yearly, explained that even as a child, he's always been preoccupied with keeping himself busy.
"I'm an only child, and growing up it was a constant challenge to entertain myself. I've been keeping busy my whole life: I'm primarily an actor, but I've been DJing since I was a teenager. I'm a producer and a director. I've done fashion collaborations, and I have a music label."
Idris also noted that he has just as hard of a time putting down his phone as we do. When it comes to social media, the 47-year-old actor explained that he's intentional about logging off to preserve his peace of mind:
"I've been trying to wean myself off. I used to post a lot more, but it's been putting me off lately. And Twitter's just not how I want to receive my news. I read the news aggregated on my iPad, but I can't check it constantly—I'm not proud of it, but it's true—because it makes me feel depressed."
While checking your phone first thing in the morning may feel instinctual, Idris says he's made a habit out of replacing his morning scroll with daily meditations:
"I'll just sit in the dark, stare, and try not to do anything. Just clear my mind and decompress."
Along with making sure to be in bed by 9 or 10 at night, Idris also says DJing and creating music are two of his ways of working self-care into his regular routine, but this salt-and-pepper chocolate drop isn't the only male celebrity who's up on his self-care game. Here's how 3 other celebrity men practice self-care to prevent burnout:
Common On Meditation & Self-Recovery:
Since the release of his book, Let Love Have the Last Word, Common has been on a very public journey to self-recovery and we are here for all of it. Along with scheduling meditation sessions and visiting wellness sanctuaries, Common also makes great use of his alone time:
"I form my own way of meditating. People think I'm using the bathroom all the time. But sometimes I go in there to get my space, to just center myself."
Big Sean On Mental Health & Self-Care:
Last year, Big Sean announced that he was taking some time away from music to focus on his mental health and self-care never looked sexier:
"I started realizing that you can't give or depend on somebody for a good time if you can't give it to yourself. So, I started doing things by myself, doing things I never thought I'd do, like going skydiving or whatever I thought was fun, just doing it. In the midst, I definitely rediscovered myself and found a whole new energy, and me being the source of it and not somebody else."
Keith Powers On Anxiety & Mental Health:
Keith Powers recently opened up about his battle with anxiety and shared this simple lifehack that will level up your mental health game for the better:
"I think writing in your journal is very important. It's very underrated, but it feels good to just get all of that down on paper, you know, to be able to write that on paper and write why you may be having anxiety, you know what I'm saying?"
Featured image by Denis Makarenko / Shutterstock.com
Did you know that xoNecole has a podcast? Subscribe on Apple Podcasts or Spotify to join us for weekly convos over cocktails (without the early morning hangover.)
The internet recently learned that Big Sean made Jhene Aiko orgasm nine times in one day and all I have to say is, Lord I see what you've done for others…and I humbly come to you hoping that I, too, can receive this blessing in this lifetime.
Friday, Jhene Aiko dropped her latest single, "None Your Concern", which featured a surprise, must-hear verse from her (ex?) lover Big Sean that gave us all of the feels and got our captions ready AF for winter. The couple, who was linked romantically on-and-off for three years, called it quits in March; but according to the lyrics to their latest singles, they're having a pretty hard time staying away from one another.
Along with the soundtrack to every hopeless romantic's life, there were a few other bops that were released recently that you need to add to your playlist ASAP and you know xo has you covered, sis. Scroll below for 8 songs you need to slide into your rotation expeditiously.
Jhené Aiko - "None Of Your Concern"
Call me ambitious, but I'm seeing a TWENTY88 reunion coming soon and I'm hoping that these two are collaborating on more than just a new album *insert emoji eyes*.
Megan Thee Stallion x VickeeLo – "Ride Or Die"
Summer is long-gone but the block is still hot and Megan Thee Stallion and VickeeLo's new track for the Queen and Slim soundtrack is proof that it's not time to put our knees up for winter retirement just yet.
Doja Cat - "Cyber Sex"
Earlier this year, Doja Cat showed love to our cellulite and reminded us that we are juicy AF and last week, she released her debut album, Hot Pink, with features from Smino, Gucci Mane, and Tyga.
Tory Lanez and T-Pain - "Jerry Sprunger"
Friday, Tory Lanez released his highly-anticipated album, Chixtape 5, and enlisted some of our favorite artists to remix pretty much every song from our childhood.
Ama Lou - "This Town"
After being featured on the Creed II soundtrack, this British singer is making her mark in the industry alongside other U.K. artists like Ella Mai, Jorja Smith, and Mahalia.
KAROL G, Nicki Minaj - "Tusa"
Nicki Minaj may have reneged on her retirement, but we aren't complaining about it. Serving up a dose of Afro-Latina energy you needed today, Spanish artist, Karol G collaborated with our fave for their latest bilingual single, "Tusa".
"Guarding The Gates" (From "Queen & Slim: The Soundtrack")
In her first solo single in five years, Lauryn Hill also decided to lace the Queen and Slim soundtrack with a dose of her flavor. Although the song has been performed live a number of times by the legendary songwriter, the studio-version was debuted for the first time on the soundtrack.
Featured image GIF via "Body Language" music video