New Flava In Your Ear: "Level Up" with Ciara, 6ix9ine and Nicki Minaj Create A Hit with "FEFE" & More!
The month of July brought great weather, great summer vibes, and of course great tracks. Singer Ciara took charge of her life with "Level Up", rappers 6ix9nine and Nicki Minaj re-created candy-land in his new music video for "FEFE," and Queen Naija reminded us that "Karma" is a sure thing. New flava in your ear are all the hot songs and videos that you need to know about. Your playlist will thank you later!
“Level Up”- Ciara
On a personal note, singer Ciara has been living her best life. She married Russell Wilson, quarterback for the Seattle Seahawks in 2016, gave birth to her beautiful baby girl Sienna, and traveled the world with her family.
In her new hit, "Level Up," Ciara encourages everyone to know their worth, be their own boss, and go after what they want. The inspiration behind the single stems from her Instagram post earlier this year.
Ciara shared a 2016 clip of Pastor John Gray’s sermon where he spoke to women about what they can do to find a husband. The post was met with both praise and criticism from her followers who felt that Ciara blamed women for being single when dating is challenging.
*Note that in the full sermon Pastor John Gray spoke to both men and women on how they can get and maintain fulfilling relationships.
Ciara responded to the backlash on Instagram the following day: “ I was once that girl wanting to be loved a certain way but was making the wrong choices. I found myself at my lowest moment. I was a single mom sitting at home, and then realized that the perfect love I was looking for was how God loves me, how He wants me to be loved, and who He was calling me to be as a mom and a woman. That’s when I realized married or not married...I needed to love myself. #LevelUp”
In "Level Up," Ciara samples the beat from DJ Telly Tellz remix of the band Fun’s song “We Are Young.” A CiCi video would not be complete without dope choreography and she gives us just that.
She started the #LevelUpChallenge on Instagram encouraging her fans to take a video of themselves doing the chreography or expressing three ways they plan to level up.
How do y'all plan to level up? Maybe, it's by reading more, staying off your phones, or learning a skill. Share the three ways you plan to in the comments below.
Standout Lyrics- “I just keep elevating, no losses, just upgrading./ My lessons, made blessings, I turned that into money./ Thank God I never settled, this view is so much better./ I’m chilling, I’m winning, like on another level.”
“Lil Bebe”- DaniLeigh
Danielle Curiel, actually known as DaniLeigh (pronounced Danny-Lay) is an artist who has been dancing professionally for Pharrell and Nelly Furtado. Her big break came when the legendary Prince (yes “Purple Rain” Prince) asked her to write, direct, and star in his music video “Breakfast Can Wait” when she was 18 years old.
She explains in an interview that Prince reached out to her via email and wanted her to write and direct the video. She was shocked, nervous, and excited. Like it's Prince people! DaniLeigh could not thank him enough for making that the highlight of her career. Prince became her mentor as he guided her through the music industry. He believed in her talents and got her the opportunity to perform at the Essence Festival in 2013.
Lately, many found out about DaniLeigh when her “InMyFeelings” / “ShiggyChallenge” went viral. Sidebar, Drake and Shiggy really had the world yelling and asking Keke does she love us when most don’t even know her! Crazy lol But yes, DaniLeigh danced to Drake’s hit effortlessly and with so much energy while grooving down Cali streets.
In her single "Lil Bebe," DaniLeigh talks to her boo, letting him know that she works hard and can spoil him because she got it like that!
Standout Lyrics- “My lil bebe change your price tag./ That’s on upgrade on a watch yeah./ I’m all work, if you want that.
“FEFE”- 6ix9ine ft. Nicki Minaj & Murda Beatz
With his rainbow hair, face tattoos, and grills, rapper 6ix9ine stands out among all the newcomers. Born Daniel Rodriguez in Brooklyn, New York, 6ix9ine caught the attention of the masses with his song “Gummo” in late 2017. He makes the type of music that will make you turn up in 2.5 seconds. 6ix9ine is usually aggressive in his songs but on “Fefe” he offered a more calmer tone/ flow. He collaborated with fellow New Yorker Nicki Minaj and made a playful hit. Minaj announced that 6ix9ine will be joining the NickiHndrxx World Tour with her and Future as the opening act.
Standout Lyrics: “In fact this that b***h that “I hate small talk, I don’t fuck with chit-chat.”/ “AC just stopped workin’ so they hit me, told me bring my wrist back./ Come through rockin’ fashions that got all these b*****s like “Yo, what’s that?” (Nicki Minaj)
“Karma”- Queen Naija
We’ve all heard the saying “What goes around comes around” and singer Queen Naija wrote a R&B classic about the repeated universal force.
After her single “Medicine” charted on Billboard’s Hot 100, she released “Karma,” her second single. She talks about her past relationship with her ex-husband Chris Sails which ended due to his infidelity. Whew, what a tough pill to swallow when someone does you wrong. For Queen Naija it was a million times harder as it played out online. She explains that all of hurt and pain that you put someone through can come back around. In "Karma" she speaks her mind, acknowledges that she loves herself more, and her ex does not have to worry about her because she's good.
Chorus: So you don’t gotta worry about me. / You made it clear that you’re unhappy (yeah) /Go ahead and have your fun now / Just remember what goes around comes around.”
Standout Lyrics: “And you really had the nerve to call me insecure. Maybe it wasn’t you. Maybe it’s true I didn’t know my worth. Maybe, maybe I should have loved me first.”
Queen Naija’s EP will be released July 27 on all streaming platforms!
“Tides” ft. Deante Hitchfork & “Borders”- St. Beauty
Musical group St. Beauty is composed of singers Alex Belle and Isis Valentino. The duo is apart of the Wonderland Art Society, a group of artists including Janelle Monae, Jidenna (The “Classic Man”), Roman GianArthur, and Deep Cotton.
St. Beauty met while working at a vintage clothing store in 2012. The store held artist showcases every week. Belle and Valentino shared in an interview that they started building a friendship by exchanging music playlists. In passing, Belle asked Valentino if she knew a guitarist that could play for a performance she had coming up. Valentino didn’t know anyone but told Belle to send her the song and she would learn how to play. Friendship solidified!
From there, the pair formed St. Beauty and started performing at local clubs in Atlanta, Georgia. As luck would have it, Monae attended one of the showcases and loved St. Beauty’s sound. She offered them an opportunity to join her Wonderland Art Society. They happily accepted.
St. Beauty scored big once again when two of their songs were used in Issa Rae’s acclaimed HBO series Insecure.
In 2018, they released their EP Running to the Sun featuring the hits “Tides” and “Borders.”
“We were both going through relationship issues, getting out of those relationships, going through withdrawals, and we also had some insecurities that we were dealing with,” said Belle. “But we realized those were things most women go through and we aren’t alone. All of that helped us write the project.”
Currently, they are the opening act for Janelle Monae’s Dirty Computer Tour.
Standout Lyrics- “The way your waves ride / You make me feel alive /The way I surf your tides/ I know you can’t deny.”
“Lipstick and blush in the covers, that’s the symbol of lovers /She walk around in my button ups with nothing under and all the buttons unbuttoned /Praying this love is a sure thing, girl you taking me under/ Maybe we can be something/ Ok let’s see like we play for the Thunder.” (Deante Hitchfork)
Originally released in 2016, “Borders" re-surfaces on St. Beauty’s EP Running to the Sun. The song was inspired after the ladies ended their relationships around the same time. A lot of us know all too well the effects of a relationship. We ask ourselves “What’s next?” as we try to move forward. It's hard because how do you forget about someone that you spent so much time with? The song taps into the answer by explaining you have to physically and mentally separate. (Hence the title "Borders.") The vocals on track two are St. Beauty are breath-taking, just take a listen below.
Standout Lyrics- “I’m sitting here alone and I’m thinking I’m not sorry. I won’t apologize for my freedom.”
Which songs are your favorite from this month’s New Flava In Your Ear? Let us know down below!