The search for the ever-elusive “bop” is difficult. Playlists and streaming-service recommendations can only do so much. They often leave a lingering question: Are these songs really good, or are they just new?
Enter Bop Shop, a hand-picked selection of songs from the MTV News team. This weekly collection doesn’t discriminate by genre and can include anything — it’s a snapshot of what’s on our minds and what sounds good. We’ll keep it fresh with the latest music, but expect a few oldies (but goodies) every once in a while, too. And this week, in honor of June being Black Music Month, we’re continuing to shine the spotlight on Black musicians making art that feels vital to this moment. Some tracks have just been released; some are old favorites we’re revisiting. But all of it matters.
Get ready: The Bop Shop is now open for business.
Vincint: “Be Me”
What do you get when you pair Vincint’s powerhouse vocals with a promo for Queer Eye? A feel-good pop song for the ages, apparently. “Be Me” sees the queer singer-songwriter lend his R&B-infused sound to Netflix’s reboot of the beloved makeover show in recent a teaser for Season 5, which hit the streaming service earlier this month. “It’s so clear to see / I was waiting on me to be me,” Vincint belts in a spirited final chorus layered over melismatic high notes. As if we needed convincing to binge-watch the Fab Five in action. —Sam Manzella
Chloe x Halle: “Ungodly Hour”
It’s hard to love and be loved when you’re at your worst, an ethos at the core of Chloe x Halle’s third album, Ungodly Hour. But on the album’s Disclosure-produced title track, the duo doesn’t seem too pressed about you getting yourself together. “You’re hesitant, wish you could give me more,” they sigh breezily over a groovy electronic concoction. “When you decide you like yourself, holler at me.” Whether or not you actually follow through, that’s on you. —Terron Moore
Armand Hammer ft. Nosaj: “Leopards”
The anxious cymbal taps that begin “Leopards” functions like a lit fuse. Before long, this rumbling cut from New York rap duo Armand Hammer completely opens up. But that’s the novel part: It never fully explodes. Instead, the guitar riff-grounded “Leopards” settles in on billy woods’s growls, Elucid’s verbal dexterity, and Nosaj’s rallying hook. It is decidedly, to borrow a phrase, calm like a bomb. —Patrick Hosken
Michael Love Michael: “JFC”
“We are owed an unpayable debt,” the New York-based artist Michael Love Michael wrote in the announcement for their latest track “JFC,” which doubled as a fiery call to arms. “We owe it only to ourselves to claim our freedom.” Though the singer’s recent releases “6 Jaguars” and “Rope,” marked by ambient vocals and plush ‘80s synths, have always filtered political topics through decadent pop production, “JFC” finds Michael plainly furious, and rightfully so. “I can’t believe all the ways that a great white lie / Wanna ruin how I live my best Black life,” they voice in a reverberating whisper that builds and bites over an icy, trap beat; in this “anthem for collective Black liberation,” Michael has found their power in protest, and the courage to say “I don’t owe you fucking anything.” —Coco Romack
Kiana Ledé: “Dear Mr. President”
Music can transcend time. That notion could not be proved more true than with Kiana Ledé’s cover of “Dear Mr. President,” originally performed by P!nk in 2006. Ledè puts a contemporary spin on the otherwise acoustically performed song, yet keeps the emotional call to action perfectly intact. Her heartbreaking vocals function alongside an equally heartbreaking visual, curated by Ledé herself, of images and video from the ongoing Black Lives Matter protests. “Dear Mr. President” not only demands to be heard, but demands to be seen. It is truly a song of the revolution, with 100 percent of the net proceeds donated to the NAACP. —Sarina Bhutan
Tituss Burgess: “Dance M.F.”
Tituss Burgess serves some serious public access realness in the special “Pride Edition” music video for his single, “Dance M.F.” Yes, it’s easy to get distracted by Tituss’s colorful wigs and the crop-top cuties dancing across the screen, but the pulsing dance track is filled with some insightful life lessons. “No one is paying attention, no one cares what you think,” the Emmy-nominated actor tells his listeners, “while you’ve been obsessing over what the world thinks life has been passing you by, life went out for drinks.” Who needs Super Soul Sunday when you have Tituss spouting this soul-searching sermon disguised as a dance-floor filler? And the song features vocals from Imani Coppola! Can we get an amen? —Chris Rudolph
A poly-genre Houston band with mostly instrumental compositions named for the Thai word for “airplane” — that’s Khruangbin, a trio that defies any kind of traditional description. Yet thanks to the funk-rooted grooves of drummer Donald “DJ” Johnson, excavating bass courtesy of Laura Lee, and guitarist Mark Speer’s shape-shifting guitar, the webbed patchwork becomes something divine. “I don’t really get it,” guitarist Mark Speer said recently of his band’s success, but you might. Throw on “Pelota” and see what you find. —Patrick Hosken
Ravyn Lenae: “Rewind”
For the last four seasons, Insecure has introduced us to some exciting new music artists across multiple genres – so good that it has evolved into Raedio, a label founded by Issa Rae as a joint venture with Atlantic Records. How can you not trust a production soundtrack so dedicated to uplifting and spotlighting artists for four seasons? Chicago native Ravyn Lenae debuted the song titled “Rewind” this season, and although she’s been featured throughout other seasons of Insecure, this neo-soul cut with a dash of bop deserves to be on all summer playlists. —Sunni Valentine
Aya Nakamura feat. Maluma: “Djadja [Remix]”
If ever there were a time when we’re in need of a dance break, it would be now. Enter Malian-born French pop singer Aya Nakamura with a revamped version of her 2018 hit “Djadja” from her second studio album, Nakamura. The remix features Maluma, and the pair-up is sheer dance-worthy bliss. The two go back and forth in their native tongues of French and Spanish, weaving a tale of emotion, deceit, and confusion that’s energized by an intoxicating electric beat. Like the original, the remix is about advocating for yourself without remorse and telling it how it is. You may not speak French or Spanish, but press play and your hips are sure to speak for you. —Virginia Lowman