R&B Fridays: Episode 50

Many of your Fridays have been centered around this OTU institution, and I’m glad to deliver this 50th episode of the hugely popular series. I’ve enjoyed writing it as much as you have reading it.

Before you see what’s in store this week, I’ve actually sprinkled a lot of R&B in other posts this week to build up some R&B love prior to this episode that you should check for. First off, go here for Ne-Yo’s new single. After that, check out the final version of Alicia Keys’ Rapture, Estelle’s latest single, a superb track from The-Dream, amongst other R&B-influenced tracks that have been posted.

Done all that? Good on you. Time to get the rest!

Jazmine Sullivan-Love Will Stay The Same
-Kicking things off with the very talented Jazmine Sullivan. Always liked her voice, and this track shows it off really well with a nice, relaxing midtempo beat. Uplifting effort that sets this episode off nicely.

Mavado-Nine Lives
-Love this track, and was very close to giving it its own post earlier this week. Lying somewhere between R&B and Reggae, Mavado melodic voice makes for really likeable listening. The production is very good too, and is layered very nicely. One that could fit into a club playlist perfectly.

The-Dream-Make Up Bag (Solo)
-Just one for the real R&B collectors. You’ll remember the awesome original being dropped a little while back, and this is basically the same track minus T.I. Both are good with me, and as I said, this is one to have for those after little rarities like this.

Ron Browz-Want Your Luv ft. Olivia
-Ron Browz makes some good R&B if I’m honest. This beat is really, really good and has a great summer feel to it whilst Ron and Olivia keep it simple and catchy with the vocals. One of those that anyone can get down with, and would be great for a summer party.

Mary J. Blige-6 Unreleased Tracks

-Surely you knew I’d have a few surprises for this 50th edition? 6 unreleased MJB tracks to enjoy, and I have no doubt that she’ll bring her great qualities to each one of them.

Estelle-Fall In Love ft. Nas
-More surprises?! Yep. This is the same Fall In Love you should have picked up above but with Nas providing additions with a verse and some adlibs. The original was very enjoyable, and it only gets better with some Nas!

Estelle-Fall In Love ft. John Legend
-You’re not seeing things, nor are you seeing double. Another version of the track surfaced, this time with Estelle’s mentor, the incomparable John Legend, on the feature. The beauty of this is that both the above version and this one can be enjoyed, due to the massive difference in the features. John brings those phenomenal trademark vocals, and does a superb job on this.

Casely-All I Wanna Do Is Love
-He pops up rarely, but its usually worth it. This is no exception as Casely plays with a few different emphases on this one, slowing things down for the chorus whilst being assisted by the production in delivering a more energetic chorus. Nice juxtaposition, and a decent all-rounder.

Git Fresh-Arch Your Back ft. Flo Rida
-Pretty much a club banger from top-to-bottom. Very good production that you have to appreciate, and a Flo Rida feature basically cements this as a chart/club targeted effort. Despite their unusual name, Git Fresh deliver some catchy vocals throughout.

Dawn Richard-Empty Room
-1/3 of Dirty Money delivers a very, very good bit of R&B here. One thing noticeable, especially on the chorus, is how she completely overshadows the production with her powerful vocals, which certainly requires a good voice as it’s a pretty good beat. The production is pretty futuristic and atmospheric, although it should be switched up a notch for the chorus.

Soulja Boy-Rich Girl ft. Justin Bieber
-No comment.

Bruno Mars-Dance In The Mirror ft. Lloyd
-After the awesome Lloyd version, and then the superb Bruno version, I’m delighted that we got a combined track.  Whilst it was recieved as a Bruno track featuring Lloyd, it sounds like Lloyd does more of the vocal work which is fine with me: either way around would have been great! Love this track, and I’m very pleased we’ve got a combined effort.

Jazmine Sullivan-Wastin’ Tears
-Very soulful jam from Sullivan this time around, with a similar sound to Melanie Fiona’s stuff whilst retaining Jazmine’s unique qualities. Nothing to really criticise in this one, the beat is mellow and Jazmine delivers some big vocals.

Khalil-Girlfriend Ringtone
-Important track with an important backstory. Firstly, Khalil is a 15-year old who has recently signed to Def Jam. He’ll end up being compared to Bieber (sadly), but has a much more distinct R&B sound and I personally think he’s got a way more tolerable voice. The backstory: this track was originally on Sean Garrett’s extremely rare Turbo 919 album, and was one of a load of great tracks on there. Khalil does a really good job on it though, although I’m disappointed it is now unlikely to feature on Sean’s upcoming ‘proper debut album’.

Nicole Scherzinger-Nobody Can Change Me
-Nicole is trying the solo thing again apparently. Mixed success the first time around, this one is her next single which is a very pop affair. As the title suggests, it’s got a big, defiant feel about it which will definitely grab the attention of younger pop fans. Naturally, not my thing, but I’m sure the video (when released) will compensate. Heh.

Ashley Ring-Moving Target ft. Lil’ Wayne
-Cash Money’s newest signing, Ashley Ring could be a moneymaker for them. She’s nailed down the current phase of dancey, uptempo pop tracks on first attempt, and grabbed labelmate Lil’ Wayne for further mainstream appeal. Not a bad effort, and has potential to be a hit.

Destiny’s Child-17 Unreleased Tracks
-Your eyes aren’t playing tricks on you. 17 unreleased songs from one of the all-time great R&B groups, I don’t think fans will need too much convincing to be grabbing these.

London-One More Last Time
-The response to the previous London track was wholly positive, and he keeps up those standards with another very good one. Lyrically enjoyable choruses are supplemented well by a simple R&B beat, and London’s hook does a very good job. Good all-round, and I hope he keeps this up.

The-Dream-My Black Everything
-Not yet confirmed whether this will be on the album, The-Dream keeps up his unbelievable standard for slow R&B once again. I don’t think there’s anyone in music who makes these slow, baby-making R&B jams like The-Dream (except for Maxwell!) and if this doesn’t make the album, it must be one hell of an album!

Macy Gray-Stalker
-As per every week, there’s always something for the soul heads and this would be what you’re looking for. A bouncy, entertaining soul jam from Macy Gray, this is a fun track that displays the rarely-seen upbeat spin of soul.

Jazmine Sullivan-Nothing’s Better
-She’s on form. This is yet another great track, and is much more uptempo than the previous two which suits her just fine by the sounds of it. Lots of freedom in her vocals as she mixes it up well, and the production compliments this perfectly. Good hook on this one, and it will have fans across the board.

Craig David-Who Am I
-Closing this milestone episode with the very definition of underrated. The classic Craig David sound pours out of this one, with an acoustic-based backdrop providing a soft foundation for Craig to deliver those smooth vocals. Really, really enjoying this slow jam and it’s probably his strongest song in quite some time, which is saying a lot given that he’s dropped some very good material in the last few months.

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