Photo Credit: Jordi Salas
Issa Bop! Add These Old and New Tracks to Your Summer 2023 Playlist
Memorial Day weekend is just around the corner, marking the unofficial start of summer. This is the time to make new memories, travel to places you’ve never been, and discover fantastic music.
What does a good summer look like for you? Beach parties? Bottomless brunches outdoors? Quiet afternoons with a cold beer? Or maybe, you want all of the above, and you’re looking for the ideal soundtrack for those activities.
No matter how you’re spending your summer, here are some of our favorite songs you’ll love for your playlist.
“Run Run” by Shenseea
This came out in 2021, and the world was very different then to say the least.
The infectious rhythm takes its cue from 90s Dancehall, and you can’t help but vibe to it. As for the subject matter? We’ve seen it before. Shenseea is passionately in love with a toxic man who is no good for her.
Run Run is a great track to play while sipping a piña colada on the beach or cruising on a highway with the windows down.
“Princess Diana” by Ice Spice Feat. Nicki Minaj
Princess Diana, which was originally released without Minaj, continues to make a splash.
According to Forbes, the re-release of Princess Diana in April 2023 “sold just under 76,000 copies in its first week of availability.” This made it among the top-selling songs in the U.S. at that time.
Like Cardi B, Ice Spice hails from The Bronx, and you can hear it in her delivery. She boasts about having plenty of money, cars, lovers—all the standard things a privileged lifestyle entails.
And of course, there are the haters grumbling in the shadows. Ice Spice has some choice words for them, and Minaj matches this energy with some witticisms of her own.
“OOOUUU” by Young M.A.
If you didn’t know any better, you’d think this 2016 song was released in the 90s or early 2000s.
OOOUUU conjures an image of a dimly lit, hole-in-the-wall nightclub that’s filled with cigar smoke. It’s the aural equivalent of feeling buzzed rather than drunk. It’s fitting that Young M.A. herself was feeling good when she recorded it.
In an interview with Genius, the rapper said, “When I said ‘OOOUUU’ it was just another way of being free. Like, I’m gonna just call it ‘OOOUUU’ and fu*k it. It was just something me and my bros say.”
Not only is Young M.A. lyrically talented, she’s one of the few openly gay rappers.
“Lipstick Lover” by Janelle Monáe
The NSFW music video for Lipstick Lover broke the internet. Actually, it may still be broken.
The multi-talented Monáe, whose first big hit was Tightrope, went in a completely different direction as part of their “Age of Pleasure.”
Both the song and the music video celebrate sensuality. But the video is obviously a love song dedicated to the beauty of Black women.
Reactions poured in across social media. One of the more PG responses was tweeted by Dr. Uju Anya.
She said, “Janelle Monae’s newfound dedication to public nudity is a marvel to behold. May she continue to be blessed with good lighting and premium moisturizer.”
“Good and Plenty” by Alex Isley, Masego and Jack Dine
Good and Plenty still slaps three years later, and it’s just the thing for a chill afternoon.
It’s a slow, sexy burn, rather than an all-out explosion. Masego and Isley engage in flirty banter, while Jack Dine handles production and mixing duties.
The remix is also fantastic, with all of the same artists and Lucky Daye. Whichever version you prefer, you’ll likely have it on repeat all summer long.
“Go Down Deh” by Spice Feat. Sean Paul and Shaggy
This high-energy track can turn any scene into something festive.
Spice, the Queen of Dancehall, is no stranger to raunchy lyrics and imagery. Fellow Jamaicans Sean Paul and Shaggy don’t shy away from that either, but if we’re honest, they never have.
Whether you’re dancing by the poolside at your private villa, or going for a run, Go Down Deh is one of those infectious tracks you’ll have a difficult time forgetting.
“Colorblind” by Jess Bays Feat. Hayley May
If you’re a fan of House acts like Duke Dumont and Gorgon City, you’ll agree Colorblind is a banger. It’s one of those songs you might not hear on the radio, but it’s a definitive summer anthem for electronic music fans.
Alongside Bays is Hayley May, whose soulful voice grabs you from the first verse.
She sings, “Been through darker days, found our way out. Struggled, but the weight can’t keep us down. I questioned our future, but I know now. It’s your love that keeps my feet on the ground.”