R&B Fridays: Episode 43

FINALLY, we have a regular episode. After the triple digits of last week, we’re back down to normal levels. I’ve made an effort to throw in more new artists this week as the last few have been really mainstream, so there are some lesser known gems in this one for you to check out.

Obviously plenty of established names in there too though, so be sure to click on for a digestable instalment of R&B goodness.

Ashanti-NY Lover ft. Nelly
-I’ve never been too big a fan of either artist, but I know these sort of collabs have a big fanbase. This is exactly what you’d expect, with a duet-style effort being thrown forward. It’s not too bad though, and is worth checking out for pop fans.

Bobby Valentino-Let’s Get It
-Bobby autotunes up on this one, but it’s actually alright. Tim and Bob (who seem to produce everything this guy does!) drop another awesome beat for Bobby to lace his vocals over, and it’s this great uptempo beat that makes the autotune bearable. Definitely another strong track from Bobby, a good sign with his new album on the horizon.

Rocki Evans-Fantastic
-Do not miss this one. Rocki is a newcomer that I know very little about, but is putting together a mixtape/album of cover tracks. This one is a version of will.i.am’s Fantastic (taken from his hugely-underrated Songs For Girls album, one of the best R&B albums from a production/beat standpoint). Absolutely love this beat, and Rocki drops some really nice vocals on this. There’s a Kanye verse sampled in too, and you really should give this one a listen (and then go get that will.i.am album!).

Dondria-You’re The One (So So Def Remix) ft. Jermaine Dupri
-Remember when JD used to do these all the time? Those were the days. Anyway, he remixes Dondria’s slow jam and I have to say I much prefer this version. Richer production, smoother vocals and a generally nicer feel about the track as a whole.

Miguel-All I Want ft. J. Cole
-Hip-hop fans will be clamouring for this one, with J. Cole on the feature. However, soul/R&B fans shouldn’t shy away, as this is a deliciously old-school sounding track that has a real smooth and mellow feel about it. A real chillout track with a simple production that leaves a nice taste in your mouth. Liking this an awful lot.

Brandy-Hungry ft. Timbaland
-Instantly recognisable as a Timbo beat, this is a decent midtempo track from this superstar duo. Not sure if it’s a demo or a future Brandy track, but it’s a well-rounded effort.

Keyshia Cole-Only With You
-She needs more plaudits for her voice, she’s such an underrated singer. This track is really good too, with a simple yet powerful production tying nicely with some well delivered vocals and a good hook. Quite a diverse track, and has  some elements from pop, soul and R&B combined effectively. One to check for sure.

Bruno Mars-Starting Today
-Love a bit of Bruno on a Friday. This one isn’t as uptempo as other recent effort, but is just as good. This one comes with a more uplifting message, and a generally more emotional angle. Like it though, and it will satisfy Bruno’s fans well.

Jagged Edge-U Give Me A Rush
-The smooth sounds of Jagged Edge are always a good addition to any episode. Pretty mellow listening, and a generally decent track all-round.

Brutha-Coming Down
-From a veteran R&B group to these up-and-comers, I get more impressed with these boys on every listen. Their version of One Day On This Earth was prematurely judged by me, and I retract that judgement: they’re a talented bunch, and both ODOTE and this track are really quite good. Looking forward to hearing more from them, I’m tipping them at the next big R&B group.

Johnta Austin-If You Go
-A really soul-esque effort from Johnta, and definitely unlike his usual relaxed R&B style (vocally, at least). It’s still fundamentally a pretty chilled track, but his vocals are definitely on the neo-soul side of this and it works very well. Definitely one the soul fans will enjoy, and Johnta/R&B fans should be looking to give this a go.

LA & Mr. Music-Tik Tok Remix ft. Ke$ha
-Haven’t heard from these guys in a while. This is the first drop from their upcoming Billboard 100 Series, which has them remixing a bunch of well-known tracks. Way, way more listenable than the original given that the verses have been replaced by some better ones from LA.

Claudette Ortiz-Simply Amazing
-Difficult to disagree, this track is rather good. Those who don’t recognise the name, remember the group City High? She’s the singer from there. She’s very good too, and she’s got a really smooth sound to her vocals. No rough edges, and I can see a lot of people enjoying this. If you’re into slower female R&B, this is absolutely for you.

Colby O’Donis-OMG
-Not a remix of the Usher version, but an original track. Quite a bouncy pop production, Colby delivers some drifty Lloyd-esque vocals for the verses. The chorus is pretty corny, and should be left to the likes of Bieber, but whatever. It’s alright besides that though. I think this guy really needs to look at getting his graft on, as he’s in danger of getting left behind. He’s got a lot of talent, but can’t really afford to remain in the background for much longer given the amount of quality emerging talent.

Bobby Valentino-In The Night (Freaks Come Out)
-Closing this off with some more Valentino. Very much enjoying this beat (another Tim and Bob one!), and it’s got some very nice elements throughout. The vocals are heavily autotuned, but as above, it sort of works in relation to the beat. This has a bit of an 808s and Heartbreak feel about it, and I’m definitely enjoying this one. If he releases this, he could have a big hit.

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