The Spectrum's November Playlist

Hip hop and pop tracks to be thankful for


October has passed, Halloween is over and just about everyone has created a playlist with multiple entries of “All I Want for Christmas is You.”

But we still have a month before it’s socially acceptable to get festive with Mariah’s five octave vocal range.

Instead of jumping on the holiday bandwagon, check out these fresh November-ready tracks.

N.E.R.D ft. Rihanna – “Lemon”

It’s been seven years since N.E.R.D dropped their last album and fans didn’t expect a comeback just yet.

Seven years ago, Pharrell wasn’t the most recognizable name in music. But he was the biggest name behind the scenes.

Pharrell is back with Chad Hugo and Shay Haley for the return of their historic rap-rock group, N.E.R.D.

Their new track, “Lemon,” features some raspy bars from the always-enjoyable Rihanna, who delivers in a way she hasn’t before.

The funky and addicting production takes listeners through Skateboard P and RiRi’s verses. The song is already a huge improvement from anything off N.E.R.D’s last album “Nothing.”

Migos, Nicki Minaj and Cardi B – “MotorSport”

If there’s something to be thankful for this Thanksgiving, it’s the fact that Cardi B and Nicki Minaj are finally on the same track.

Migos’ “MotorSport” isn’t anything super special outside of that. The production consists of a pretty simplistic trap beat but it’s still enjoyable.

With such a talented lineup of rappers, one shines more than the others on the track.

Cardi B comes through with one of her best verses of the year, acknowledging herself as the “trap Selena.”

Nicki’s verse is exciting too, as she switches up her flow and pacing, jumping into triplet form, and proving herself to be the Nicki we all know and love.

Selena Gomez and Marshmello – “Wolves”

It’s nice to hear from Selena Gomez again.

After her busy year of surgeries and a brief absence from the music world, she’s finally back with a new pop anthem.

Gomez and producer DJ Marshmello teamed up for their new hit single, “Wolves,” and it’s already dominating the airwaves.

The EDM-infused sound is as energetic as expected, but Gomez’s pretty vocal melodies are what separates the song from others in its category.

Gomez may not have the most exciting vocal range in pop but she sure knows how to incorporate different sounds and melodies to keep herself on top.

This track is sure to be useful for anyone looking to burn some calories with a new post-Thanksgiving jog song.

Majid Jordan – “OG Heartthrob”

Fresh off the release of their new record, popular Drake-collaborators Majid Jordan are making fans feel all types of ways.

Their Oct. 27 album, “The Space Between,” is nothing short of infectious.

“OG Heartthrob” is the album highlight and matches a funky throwback ’90s sound with some graceful vocals.

This track mixes Weeknd-sounding vocals and a Bruno Mars-style production to create an addicting and lovely musical environment. Without its dark atmosphere, this track could easily fit on Mars’ “24K Magic” album.

Majid Jordan should be welcoming a lot of new fans this November.

Sam Smith – “Burning”

Sam Smith’s new touching ballad, “Burning,” is the “most personal” song Smith has ever written.

And it resonates.

“Burning” is simple and elegant, pairing Smith’s recognizable tone and some charming piano chords to create solemn but intriguing noise.

The song, along with Smith’s other recent singles, prove that the singer is headed to new territory with his music.

He’s more honest, personal and his voice is stronger than it’s ever been.

It’s good to have him back.

Ty Dolla $ign ft. Lauren Jauregui – “In Your Phone”

The newly announced musical couple of Ty Dolla $ign and Lauren Jauregui aren’t just great together. They make some pretty bomb music.

After Camila Cabello’s departure from Fifth Harmony, Lauren Jauregui took her place as the one to watch. She’s worked with Halsey since, and now has a track with her new boo, R&B crooner Ty Dolla $ign.

The song is catchy and its trap beat is luring. Hearing Jauregui in a trap song may be new to Fifth Harmony fans, but the vocalist really proved herself in this feature.

The song will hopefully remind listeners to stop “doing wrong” on Thanksgiving and to not be so “in your phone.” It’s the perfect family bonding track.

Miguel – “Told You So”

Miguel is one of the best male vocalists on the scene.

It’s been two years since his last album, “Wildheart,” and the R&B singer is prepping for his next release, “War & Leisure.”
Singles “Skywalker” and “Shockandawe” both show his musical diversity. His new single “Told You So” is expanding on that idea.

“Told You So” is a funky, electric, pop anthem that utilizes Miguel’s falsetto and vocal runs. The song is upbeat and enjoyable, as its visuals show scenes of violence and war –– a very unique combination for Miguel’s politically charged release.

Brenton Blanchet is an arts editor and can be reached at


Brenton J. Blanchet is The Spectrum's editor-in-chief and a senior communication major. He specializes in interviews with rising pop stars, but makes sure to still give UB the news scoop. Blanchet contributes to Billboard, DJBooth, and other publications in his free time.