New Music from Talib Kweli, Mavis Staples, Jaden Smith, T-Pain and Sharon Jones

To play while you’re traveling over the river and through the woods to grandmother’s house, here are five new music releases.

1. Talib Kweli, Radio Silence: The quintessential Brooklyn MC is back with his eighth solo album, Radio Silence. As reviewed by Pitchfork, the quick witted and tongued lyricist is “still bending the knee to the same soul-infused beats that contemporaries like Kanye West and Lupe Fiasco mostly abandoned sometime during George W. Bush’s second term.” The real gem here is the opening track “The Magic Hour.”

2. Mavis Staples, If All I Was Was Black: The breakout star of her family’s group, the Staple Singers, is almost 80 years old, but her new album shows she can still deliver music with a timely message. For her sixteenth studio album, If All I Was Was Black, Staples teamed up with Wilco frontman Jeff Tweedy for a collection of country-tinged blues, rock, and funk. But as Entertainment Weeklydescribes the album, “Staples channels America’s restless energy into politically charged gems like ‘Build a Bridge’ and ‘We Go High.’”

3. Jaden Smith, SYRE: It looks like the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. As described by Billboard, on his impressive debut, Jaden Smith– son of Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith – “dives deep into the nuances of coming of age, while exploring a wide range of musical styles and also inviting friends to join him on his 70 minute, 17-track journey.” The 19-year-old told Billboard, “I really wanted to be like Kanye and work with a bunch of artists,” so he pulled from a pool of collaborators including A$AP Rocky on “Breakfast” and Raury with “Falcon.”

4. T-Pain, Oblivion: “It’s a mixture of classic T-Pain and new, unheard T-Pain,” the crooner told Entertainment Weekly earlier this year of his first project since 2011’s Revolver. “I don’t think anybody’s heard this T-Pain yet.” The album — which, at 62 minutes, is a real statement — features collaborations with Ty Dolla $ign, Ne-Yo, and Wale.

5. Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings, Soul of a Woman: Released on the eve of Sharon Jones’s death last November, Soul of a Woman was largely completed before the fiery 60-year-old singer lost her battle with pancreatic cancer.  Rolling Stone says the album mixes “white hot funk with orchestral ballads,” and this funky collection is a fitting tribute to the soul woman’s legacy. The first track, “Matter of Time,” is a hopeful plea for peace. “It’s a matter of time before justice will come,” Jones sings. “It’s a matter of time before all wars will be done.”

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