R&B Fridays (on a Saturday): Episode 45

Sorry for the delay guys, as you know we were hacked on Friday night so I couldn’t get this out.

A nice even 20 tracks of new stuff for you this week, and lots of variety in there too in terms of styles and artists. Probably leaning more towards well-known artists this week, although there are still a couple of newbies for you to start getting into.

The quality is really high in this one, so be sure to give most/all of it a go. I’ve kindly weeded out most of the rubbish stuff, irrespective of artist calibre: I’m feeling ruthless! (Grr, roar etc)

Kelis-4th of July
-Looks like dance-style stuff is the direction of her newest album, as indicated by her other recent stuff, and it’s definitely working for her. This is probably the strongest one I’ve heard from her thus far, as the beat isn’t too electro but still remains dance-driven, whilst her vocals are delivered in just the right amount.

T-Pain-Beat Build ft. Young Cash & Rick Ross
-I’m in two minds with this. I like the beat, and T-Pain’s parts are good, but this Young Cash guy is terrible and Ross doesn’t really do anything worth writing home about either. Worth grabbing for the Pain bits though.

Komika-Hooked Remix ft. Maino
-Absolutely love this. This beat is a great combination of chilled out, summery and mellow (a bit like the Slakah/Drake track from earlier) and definitely has a nostalgic, early 90s feel to it. Komika’s vocals are typical of that era too, and are pretty soulful, whilst Maino adds good raps in as ever. One to check out for sure, especially for the old-school heads.

Bruno Mars-Runaway
-If you’re a Bruno fan (which everyone should be by now) you probably know it’s not worth reading this, seeing as he’s consistently brilliant. You were right to do so, as this is another display of quality from the upcomer. Simple production on the chorus is supplemented well by a layered chorus, and great vocals throughout.

Marques Houston-Pullin’ On Hair
-Another really likeable joint from MH, and he’s coming back with a bang. Slower jam again, with more than a hint of The-Dream about it, this doesn’t really have any obvious flaws and is pretty good stuff all-round.

-I maintain the belief that Iyaz is a way, way more bearable version of Sean Kingston. Very chilled beat, and again one the summer playlist folks will like. Iyaz delivers some very nice vocals on this too, complimenting the beat very nicely to deliver a very likeable track. Decent lyrics too, as far as R&B goes.

Jared Evan-Not Tonight
-An R&B/hip-hop hybrid, and anyone who knows anything about production will be glad to hear that this is a Statik Selektah beat, meaning it’s very good. I like the raw feel of this one, and Jared’s lyricism is nicely spotlighted.

Trey Songz-Already Taken
-Very, very good track. Don’t know if this is set to be on an upcoming project or if it’s a demo, but it’s got a great beat and some really good sentiments throughout. Rare to find R&B that has these sort of lyrics, and it’s both a welcome change and very well done. Superb stuff.

Sean Garrett-Let Me Move On
-Demo for a female from the sounds of things, but I do really like Garrett on these sort of tracks. This is a perfect demonstration of exactly what Sean is capable of, and really puts his pseudo-rap style stuff to shame. Stick with this stuff Sean, it suits you better.

Craig David-Been Around The World
-He keeps delivering these cover versions/remixes, and they’re all good so far. This one is smooth, slow stuff which Craig definitely stamps his own originality on. Really mellow stuff, and definitely a strong effort.

T-Pain-Save You ft. One Chance
-Pain drops his second track of the week, this one coming on a much more R&B tip than the first. Very, very similar to some of the material on his widely-underrated Epiphany album, this is one that fans of Pain from 2007 will definitely enjoy. I’m really liking this and find it a welcome return to what works best for him.

Solange-Next Ex (Beyonce Demo)
-Beyonce’s younger sister puts a demo together for the elder sibling, and you can definitely see why this would work for Beyonce. Not totally my sort of things, but B’s fans will really like this and the defiance throughout will certainly appeal to the pop-R&B fans.

Chris Brown-That Somebody
-I don’t see how Chris Brown can be blackballed any longer when he keeps churning out great material like this. A nice midtempo jam that will have a cross-genre appeal, Chris’ singing has improved a lot in the last 6-8 months and this is a good demonstration of it.

Ciara-Up & Down
-Speaking of improved singing, check this one out. This beat is Tim & Bob-esque (it may even be them) and hence is brilliantly wispy, whilst Ciara delivers her sexiest vocal performance to date. Why do I use the term sexy? Because her vocals really are that in this one. Baby-making music right here folks, surefire winner: just call me the love coach.

Kelis-22nd Century
-Another dancey effort from the former Mrs. Nas. Pretty different to the above one though, and is probably a little more pop-based than the first, but is just as listenable. Not really sure how to describe this one aside from it being pretty unusual lyrically but having a decent beat.

Taio Cruz-Lonely
-Firstly, Taio’s doing really well for himself over in the US, so congratulations for that one! This is typical Taio stuff with a stretched out production, and nice variety between the hook and verses. Would have slotted in nicely on his first album.

Miguel-To The Moon
-If you’ve got an ounce of sense, you will have picked up Miguel’s smooth track from Ep. 43. This one is completely, utterly different and is a bouncy, uptempo effort with a hint of Bruno Mars about the vocals. The dance-influenced production is utilised perfectly by Miguel’s capable vocals, and this is one of the stronger uptempo efforts of recent times.

Usher & Robin Thicke-Secret Garden
-Excited much?! Really good beat that would work well both in a chilled environment and a club one, Usher and Robin both deliver some great vocals throughout this one. Pretty big collabo that is set to get bigger: this is from Quincy Jones’ upcoming album, and the final version will feature Trey Songz and Tyrese. It sounds pretty awesome as it is, so can’t wait for that one.

Bobby Valentino-Phone Number
-A little different from his smoother stuff recently, this is a little more poppy and uptempo. It’s not too bad though, although the hook is a little corny. The beat is decent though, and the verses are ok too.

Rock City-Blown Away
-Definitely a lot more R&B than their usual reggae-R&B hybrid, this is another good one from this duo. Some hip-hop elements in this production, and as ever these boys deliver with decent lyrical and vocal inclusions. RC fans will definitely enjoy it.

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