Valentine’s Day is corny as hell, and if you, like me, are in your twenties, it also almost always turns out to be a disappointment if you try to make it a big deal. But even if requisite displays of affection brought to you by consumer capitalism aren’t your jam, most of us can agree that the prospect of having sex is pretty cool, whether it’s with your long-term partner or someone new. If you’re one of the lucky ones planning to get laid, or just practicing some self-love, here’s a selection of new music by Bay Area artists to add to your body-party playlist. So queue this up on SoundCloud, light some candles, and don’t forget to take the necessary safety precautions.
P-Lo, “Make It Last” featuring 1-O.A.K.
P-Lo’s “Make It Last” opens like a sultry, simmering R&B slow jam but quickly picks up the pace, building up into a four-to-the-floor, minimal house beat before slowing back down to an undulating rhythm. The track is the lead single off P-Lo’s new mixtape, Before Anything, on which — in a somewhat unexpected move — the rapper shows off his sensual side. In his verses, he raps about the various ways he will cater to a woman’s pleasure (always a win in my book). 1-O.A.K. punctuates P-Lo’s verses with raspy crooning that ramps up the sex appeal.
Kossisko, “Across the Room”
If you’re single on Valentine’s Day, going out to a function where there will be lots of other unattached people is a good way to spend your night — sometimes better than polishing off a bottle of red wine while Netflix-and-chilling by yourself. And around mid February, a lot of cruising is bound to go down. Take it from Kossisko, the Berkeley singer who was known as the rapper 100s in his past life. His disco-inflected dance track “Across the Room” is an ode to the attractive strangers you’re bound to run into when you put yourself out there. And even if you don’t take anyone home, its infectious beat is enough to inspire you to strut across the dance floor.
Double Duchess, “Gifted”
Variety is key for a satisfying sex life — which is one of the takeaways from San Francisco electropop duo Double Duchess’ “Gifted.” Hey boy, I heard you’re gifted/Show me something that I’ve been missing all this time, croons Krylon, the group’s lead vocalist, in a whisper of a falsetto over an oceanic beat with lush layers of synths. The track’s slow-paced groove speeds up into a frenetic beat that pairs the fast-paced percussion of Chicago footwork with droning, whale-song melodies that, when played in the right context, could inspire a state of wild abandon.
Rayven Justice, “Hit or Nah” featuring French Montana and Keyshia Cole
Sometimes, in situations in which all parties’ boundaries will be respected, it can be best to forget politeness and express your sexual desires frankly. Oakland singer Rayven Justice, whose clapper “Hit or Nah,” featuring heavyweights French Montana and Keyshia Cole, extols the virtues of telling it like it is to your potential mate. Allow this R&B banger to soundtrack your exit from the dance floor and into the bedroom.
Rayana Jay, “Queen of Diamonds” featuring Dayvid Michael
Rayana Jay’s “Queen of Diamonds,” the standout track from the rising Richmond singer’s debut EP, 21, speaks directly to everyone’s inner freak. Jay, whose vocals have been featured on many recent Bay Area rap releases, such as Azure’s Leap Year and P-Lo’s Before Anything, has a soulful voice and penchant for angelic harmonies and ear-pleasing productions with layers of rich string arrangements and twinkling keys. On “Queen of Diamonds,” her record’s strip club anthem, her lyrics are candidly sex-positive, sweet, and devotional.
Jay Ant, “I Feel”
A little spanking and hair-pulling among consenting partners can go a long way — a topic Jay Ant doesn’t shy away from in “I Feel,” one of the sultrier songs from his new mixtape, White Rabbit. The rambunctious track is a sensual slapper that oscillates between hyphy and R&B, allowing Jay Ant to experiment with various vocal styles — rhyming, singing, and even reciting poetry. While somewhat explicit, the song is also tender, with the rapper detailing how he will spoil his mate in and outside of the bedroom. If you want to leave your crush smitten, take notes.
MicahTron has held it down for both San Francisco’s rap scene and LGBT party scene for years. A queer woman herself, she often uses her lyrics to discuss the finer points of giving and receiving pleasure for the ladies. So, fittingly, her single “Squirt,” is as much a party anthem as it is an ode to female ejaculation. Over the elastic bounce of J-Matic’s hyperactive beat, she unleashes her motor-mouth flow, bouncing between punchline-filled boasts about her talents on the mic and in the bedroom. This is a club banger for the most climactic part of your night — whatever that may entail.
Kehlani, “Down for You” featuring BJ the Chicago Kid
There’s a reason why Nelly and Kelly Rowland, Ja Rule and Ashanti, Ja Rule and J. Lo, Ja Rule and Christina Milian — or, hell, Ja Rule and anybody — was a winning formula for an R&B hit in the early 2000s. There’s something magical that happens when two vocalists with musical chemistry join forces for a sappy, romantic love song set to a bumping-and-grinding beat. Oakland’s Kehlani and BJ the Chicago Kid tap into their seductive powers in their duet “Down for You” from Kehlani’s You Should Be Here. The piano-driven track evokes Nineties R&B slow jams, and its sparse beat allows the two vocalists to show off their formidable ranges, oozing sensuality in the process.
Ka’Ra Kersey, “Mystical King”
You just finished your bedroom activities with your boo and — since love is in the air — you’re now wrapped in a tender embrace, basking in that lovely, post-coital afterglow. Berkeley singer Ka’Ra Kersey’s ode to her ideal partner, “Mystical King,” is an excellent track for such a moment. In her husky voice, Kersey delivers soulful verses about adventuring with her lover to an enchanted land where they can deepen their blossoming connection. You inspire me to be free, she croons as her voice flutters over a resounding trap bass line. The song’s sexy groove might have you ready for round two before it’s over.