When we last checked in with Milwaukee soul/R&B powerhouse B~Free, she was pondering a year spent in quarantine. “The loss of all of my in-person shows for the full year was initially devastating,” the singer told us, “but I found many great opportunities to work, create, and perform within the confines and safety of my home.”

Some of that stay-at-home work is paying off today with the release of “Hate 2 Luv,” an infectious—and unexpected—new single that finds B~Free trying on a new cosmic dance/house sound for a change. Turns out, it’s a perfect fit.

The style shift isn’t completely out of left field. The jealously-themed “Hate 2 Luv” is a collaboration with L.A.-based musician and singer Durand Bernarr, known for his work on Kaytranada’s “Freefall.” During the height of the pandemic last summer, Bernarr put out a call for collaboration on social media. B~Free responded, Bernarr responded to her, and the rest is quarantine history.

“This new song in particular was an unfinished work that saw several iterations of my music production before landing in the house genre,” B~Free says. “With the opportunity to work with Durand then on the horizon, I fleshed it out and wrote the second verse in his vocal stylings; similar to what he was able to achieve with the Kaytranada track.”

As for the song’s theme, B~Free explains: “I think that jealousy is a very human emotion. There are moments in life when we’ve all experienced it in some capacity—especially as it applies to those within the same fields as us. Rather than dismissing this notion, each musical section faces it head on from different perspectives, before arriving at the resolution that we can all run our own race without deterring from anyone else’s.”

Adds Bernarr: “The music yanked my ass up and made me wanna shuffle.” We couldn’t have said it better ourselves.

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Matt Wild weighs between 140 and 145 pounds. He lives on Milwaukee's east side.