Artist on the Rise: Baby Queen

With the release of two new very open and authentic singles, “Raw Thoughts” and “These Drugs,” Baby Queen is making a name for herself. 

Are you ready to discover your next favorite artist? Well look no further, because it is going to be Baby Queen. Baby Queen is a stage name for Bella Latham, 23 year old South African-born, London based multi-instrumentalist and singer-songwriter. She grew up in South Africa, started making music at the age of 10, but did not become serious about it till she was 16. At the age of 18, she decided to pack up her things and move to London to make a name for herself, and that is when she adopted the moniker Baby Queen. She immersed herself into the life of influencers and parties in London, and that is what inspires all of Baby Queen’s music, along with issues like internet addiction and mental health. She released her debut EP, Medicine, in November of 2020, that was filled with upbeat melodies and dazzling pop-hooks, with lyrics about her struggles with depression, body dysmorphia, and so much more. She describes her music as, “intelligent pop”, which I think fits perfectly for her sound. 

Even though it has only been a few months since the release of her debut EP, Baby Queen is back with two new very honest singles.

Raw Thoughts

Baby Queen started off the year strong, with her first release on January 13th, “Raw Thoughts”. Bella said that this is the only song that she wanted to start 2021 with, and I am so happy that she did. “Raw Thoughts” was inspired by the most horrendous, soul-destroying breakup that Bella went through in 2017. She felt like her world had ended, and was even more crushed when he started dating a beautiful model shortly after. Bella and her friends decided to have a night out in London, which turned out to be the wildest night of their lives. She woke up the next morning, feeling a mix of freedom and despair, and the pain of holding onto something that made her feel safe for so long, and wrote this song. The writing of “Raw Thoughts” made the weight on her shoulders disappear and she felt like she could breathe again. The lyrics are open and honest, while the sound is the polar opposite of that. The song goes through ups and downs sonically, with her intelligent pop influences still being heard throughout. The chorus is my favorite part of the song because of the progression mixed with the lyrics. The beat kicks in right at the angriest part of the song, bringing the emotions to new heights.


Photo Credit: Baby Queen Raw Thoughts Cover Art from In2une

The music video for “Raw Thoughts” is almost that of a coming of age movie that you watched as a kid, wishing one day that would be you. It has clips of Baby Queen and her friends having fun, both on a low quality camera so it feels like you are the one filming, mixed in with moments on a higher quality camera that feel more music video-esque. The whole video just feels like you are one of Bella’s friends along for the day having the time of your life. It really reminds me of my own friends and the stupid adventures we used to go on in the middle of the night because we were bored.

If I had to give a rating for the song and video, it would be a 10/10. I love songs that make you want to get up and dance, but lyrically are a lot darker. “Raw Thoughts” is the perfect name for this song, because that is exactly what the lyrics, raw thoughts. If you don’t get up and dance during the chorus of this song, then you need to re-evaluate your music taste and maybe get your ears checked.

These Drugs

I got to be on a Zoom call with Bella over a month ago, and we all got to hear “These Drugs” a few days before it was released. From the second I heard this song, I was blown away, and I absolutely fell in love with her music. She later on performed the song acoustically, which of course was even more beautiful. “These Drugs” takes a heavy topic like depression and drug abuse marrying it to a catchy song that will get stuck in your head. The verses are very calming and slower than the rest of the song, with the guitar and synths mixed in the back. The simplicity and slowness of the song allows the lyrics to be the center focus. While the chorus is very simple, it is so powerful, especially with the lyric, “Every time I take these drugs to pick me up. All I ever do is cry.” The bridge is my favorite part of the song, as she lets down her guard and completely opens up with her emotions.

This song was written when she was in a really bad place and believed she wasn’t a good person or she didn’t deserve good things. Bella said, “I think for so long, there were so many parts of myself that I was refusing to acknowledge or pay attention to, and when you ignore your own pain or refuse to face up to your mistakes, you can get yourself into a self-destructive cycle, which is ultimately what ended up happening. I think escapism is necessary, and we all find our escape in different places, but some are just healthier than others.” She felt uncomfortable with being so open and honest with her lyrics in this song, and knew she was taking a risk with releasing it, but she wanted to share this story with everyone. With this song, she wants people to know that if you can accept all parts of yourself, even the darkest ones, then you can learn to like or love yourself and you won’t feel that need to run away anymore.


Photo Credit: These Drugs Cover Art from Baby Queen

In addition to the single, she released an accompanying music video, which the idea came from the first line of the song : “I don’t wanna do drugs anymore. If you saw me through the eyes of a bathroom stall, your skin would crawl.” This is one of her favorite lyrics that she has ever written and was inspired by her obsession of only ever seeing somebody through the eyes of different bathroom stalls. She felt like she had the most euphoric moments of her life in those bathroom stalls, and wanted to recreate that. The video has four different bathroom stalls with four different energies and narratives. I don’t want to spoil too much, but one bathroom set has neon pink lighting, Barbie dolls hanging from the ceiling, and glitter and balloons covering the bathroom. You will have to watch the video to find out the rest of the beautiful sets.

I love this song so much, and even played it on my radio show, Everything But Country, in celebration of International Women’s Month. “These Drugs” is so raw, so honest, and a song I feel like I can relate to, and so can many other 20-somethings. It is about this battle you have with yourself in your head, and trying to escape that feeling by partying and taking drugs. Even though you have those euphoric moments in the bathroom stall, you still wake up the next morning with those same dark thoughts. That escape can only last so long. If I had to rate this song and video, they would both get 10/10. 

Written By: McCaeley O’Rourke

Feature Photo Source:  In2une Music


New Album: Justice – Justin Bieber

Justin Bieber does it again! A year after dropping his album “Changes” Bieber is back with his latest album “Justice”.

On Friday, March 19, 2021, the 27-year-old singer released his sixth studio album, “Justice”. Not only did we get a new album but a music video for the song peaches featuring Giveon and Daniel Caesar.

The trio in the video are cruising down in a car a night singing above love, which is on-brand on Justin Bieber and I’m not mad at it. 

The album has 12 tracks from the singer along with previously released singles “Anyone”, “Holy” feat Chance the Rapper, “Lonely” with Benny Blanco, and “Hold On”. Features on the album include Khalid, The Kid LAROI, Dominic Fike, Daniel Caesar, Giveon, BEAM, and Burna Boy.

Photo Credit: Screenshot from Peaches by Justin Bieber Music Video on YouTube.

Thursday, March 18, 2021, prior to the release the pop singer tweeted that he would “support organizations that embody what justice looks like in action,”

Organizations include The Martin Luther King. Jr. Center educates nonviolence and creates a beloved community.

The Poor People’s Campaign which is “Building a movement to overcome systemic racism, poverty, ecological devastation, and the war economy.”

Photo Credit: Screenshot of Support Organizations Tweet from @JustinBieber

Towards the end of February, Bieber shared in a post on Instagram the reason behind the album. “In a time when there’s so much wrong with this broken planet we all crave healing and justice for humanity.” He continued “In creating this album my goal is to make music that will provide comfort, to make songs that people can relate to and connect to so they feel less alone.”

Justin hit the mark on this one. I felt that connection with a list of his songs throughout the album. Some of my favorites include Unstable, Hold On, Ghost, and Peaches. You can stream Justin’s new album “Justice” now on music streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music.

Let me know your favorites by hitting me up on Twitter or Instagram 

Cover Photo: Screenshot of Album Cover of Justin Bieber “Justice” from Spotify. 

Written By: Mike Stark | @MikeStarkCA

New Music: Aly & AJ Return with Pretty Places

Aly & AJ are back and heading down a new path with new music and a new sound with “Pretty Places”

On Tuesday, March 9, 2021, the sisters Aly, 31, and AJ Michalka, 29 announced the released date of their latest project, “a touch of the beat gets you up on your feet gets you out and then into the sun” is scheduled to drop on May 7. This makes it the first time in 14 years since the sisters released an album.

For those who don’t know, Aly and AJ grew up in the Disney universe. Between 2005 and 2007, they released three albums, Into the Rush, Acoustic Hearts of Winter, and Insomniatic, which has their smash hit “Potential Breakup Song” which became a TikTok hit in 2020, talk about a blast from the past.

Photo Credit:
Photo Credit: Screenshot of Instagram Post of new album announcement from @alyandaj on Instagram

The sisters are back though in 2021 with new music. On January 15, we were rewarded with “Listen!!!” to kick off the new year and most recently on Friday, March 5 with “Pretty Places”

“Pretty Places” (predicting song of the summer) I love and if this is a preview of what is to come with the new album I am excited. “Pretty Places” is the perfect song to roll down your windows as your driving along the coast, with your ray bands on, and radio full blast on a Saturday afternoon. The music video definitely compliments the song with a coastal indie vibe, which I am here for. 

Photo Credit: In2une Music

While this song along with “Listen!!!” is not the sound your use to with “Potential Break Up Song” or “Rush” it is a new type of sound that I love. Music is evolving and it is important for the artist the evolve with the music too that is exactly what Aly and AJ are doing.

Photo Credit: Michelle Laine

My favorite line “I’ll go anywhere / Let’s go right now / Go anywhere /doesn’t matter how far…” I relate to this line more than ever. After being in quarantine for a year due to the pandemic, this song gets me pumped to get out and explore again. I am ready for an adventure. 
You can stream “Pretty Places” right now on streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music, and watch the Music Video for Pretty Places on YouTube. Be sure to check out their new album when it drops on May 7.

Cover Photo: In2une

Album Review: Duke Deuce- Duke Nukem

The Memphis rapper delivers some fight club energy with this project.

Duke Deuce has been one of the frontrunners of Memphis’s emerging rap scene along with other artists like Blocboy JB and Young Dolph. As heard through songs like Crunk Ain’t Dead Remix and Crunk Ain’t Dead MOB, Deuce aims to evoke the rowdy vibe of 90s and 2000s Southern rap greats like Three 6 Mafia. Duke Nukem is no exception with Deuce delivering bangers on top of bangers that makes you want to throw someone through a wall.

The opening track Intro: Coming Out Hard is a strong reminder of Duke’s Memphis roots, with the title and funky sound reminiscent of the duo 8Ball & MJG and their 1992 album Comin’ Out Hard. Soldiers Steppin is arguably the album’s biggest highlight with its echoing drums and military-esque call and response rapping. Fell Up In The Club with A$AP Ferg continues the homage to Memphis with a sample of Paper Chaser by EP & Dow Jones. Gangsta Party brings energy into trap’s oversaturated trend of minimalistic piano-laden beats with a feature by Offset and Deuce’s almost sing-song delivery. Back 2 Back brings a vicious vibe with an icy beat and an even more aggressive presence by Deuce. One of the biggest strengths of the album is Duke’s presence as a rapper. Overall, the lyrics on this project are your typical gun-toting, sexual bravado, and gangbanging fare, but he elevates it through his energized delivery and ad-libs.

If there’s any weaknesses to this album, it’s simply because Duke doesn’t seek to provide anything groundbreaking to hip hop. However, this doesn’t necessarily indicate an overall weakness in his artistry. Army and Outro:Go 2 Hell are Duke’s foray into harmonized raps, but feels like tedious and odd fits compared to the album’s headbanging atmosphere. The simplistic  hook on Toot Toot with Young Dolph drags the song down despite some solid verses. Kirk with Mulatto is a solid track, but could feel repetitive with its piano-heavy production if compared with Gangsta Party.

Overall, Duke Nukem is an enjoyable project that serves a healthy heap of hardcore club bangers. If you need any music to rage out to, then this album is made for you.

Score: 7.5/10

Written by Kristian Gonzales

Picture Source: Medium