R&B Fridays: Episode 77

In contrast to last week’s bumper episode, this week is a little shorter. However, that’s not to suggest it’s been a quiet week for R&B, as we’ve seen the release of plenty of videos/singles, and no less than 4 full-length mixtapes from R&B Fridays favourites.

Firstly, Bei Maejor came through with Upside Down 2, Chris Brown delivered In My Zone 2, Keri Hilson released her riskiest video to date and Trey Songz’s let loose of #Lemmeholdatbeat. After that, we got an enjoyable effort from the Dirty Money album along with the visuals for their latest single, Raheem DeVaughn’s latest mixtape and steamy new video, a full stream of R. Kelly’s new album, and finally the enjoyable video for the Lloyd and 50 Cent collaboration. Click below for the rest of this week’s R&B/pop.

Ne-Yo-You Want It

-Kicking things off with an uptempo pop track from Ne-Yo. StarGate serve up a typically-dance infused production for Ne-Yo to deliver some nice vocals over. The hook is very catchy too, and the track is definitely one targeted at the club-goers.

Josh Xantus-This Is For Haiti
-Borrowing Wiz Khalifa’s Black and Yellow (I’m still not bored of that track!), Xantus dedicates a track to his homeland of Haiti. It’s probably not the best remix of the track I’ve heard thus far, but it’s definitely an original take on the track as Josh incorporates some of his local language in the track that adds a nice twist.

Jagged Edge-My Baby
-It seems like The Remedy has been in the works forever, but apparently this is definitely the latest single from that album. Very strong 90s vibes in this one, with a smoothed-out production providing an enjoyably-retro backdrop for Jagged Edge to deliver those relaxing vocals. Essentially, it’s your typical Jagged Edge song, and that’s never a bad thing.

T-Pain-Like A G6 ft. Far East Movement

-There is no denying that the beat on Like A G6 is ridiculous, and T-Pain keeps his recent spate of remixes going by taking on this club anthem. I’d imagine the original is a guilty pleasure for many, and the thumping production is a perfect fit for T-Pain on his uptempo tip. Definitely worth getting for fans of the original.

Eric Roberson-Again ft. Choklate
-Veteran Roberson hooks up with relative newcomer Choklate for a really enjoyable soulful jam. There’s an addictive quality to this track, derived from the organic and mellow feel in both the production and the vocals. Really good duet that is a genuine credit to soul music.

Jessie J-Price Tag ft. B.o.B
-We’ve raved about one upcoming UK singer this week, and I’m about to make it two with this track. Jessie J is heavily touted to be a really big deal, and I can see why: she’s got a great voice, and accompanies that with a brash confidence that gives her music a real edgy quality, without sacrificing the pop-soul sensibility. The production is perfect to drive this motivational and uplifting track, with a guitar-laced production suiting the style of Jessie (and B.o.B) perfectly. One to watch.

K. Michelle-For My Birthday
-R. Kelly’s protege comes through with a great display of her vocal talents, going over a progressive production that is often the undoing of artists: it’s slightly off-beat, unanchored style tends to force most singers to purely rap, but Michelle avoids that pitfall with some decent vocals alongside some more rap-esque delivery.

Chrisette Michele-Let Freedom Reign ft. Talib Kweli and Black Thought

-Wow, what a pair of features! Two of the most underrated rappers in the game jump onto the title track from Chrisette’s latest album, and she certainly doesn’t let them down with some huge vocals on the hook. I’m enjoying the clunky, tribal feel of the production, and it’s a risky style that is rarely done properly, but is worked well here. Both rappers bring top verses to the track, and it’s definitely a track everyone can appreciate.

Auburn-So Over You
-Definitely one for the mainstream crowd. I’m tiring a little bit of the ‘screw you, I can do so much better’ type songs, and realistically there has to be a fantastic job on the production to win me over with that lyrical style: this doesn’t do it for me, as the production is extremely pop which dilutes the power of the lyrics. However, it’s very digestable for the younger crowd, which I suspect was the intention.

Keyshia Cole-Confused In Love
-Mistakenly referred to as Heartbroken in some places, Keyshia drops off a very contemplative effort from her upcoming album. Lots of introspection in the lyrics, as Keyshia delivers some captivating vocals over a simple and effective production, with a good hook capping things off nicely.

Josh Xantus-Kissing
-About as good as any track I’ve heard him put out to date. There’s absolutely no substitute for an acoustic-style backdrop when it comes to slow jams, and this guitar-laced production is accompanied superbly by smooth, winding vocals from Xantus. Strongest slow jam I’ve heard in recent weeks.

Teairra Mari-Black and Yellow

-Closing things off with another remix of Wiz Khalifa’s ubiquitous single. Unlike the one included above, this is certainly up there with the better remixes, as we’ve not yet heard a female singer on the beat and Teairra does a great job with a singing/rapping hybrid that manifests itself as an extremely melodic delivery. Admirably, she actually takes over vocals for the entire track too, offering an enjoyable alternative to the original.

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