R&B Fridays: Episode 80

Again, I’m aware it’s a Sunday…it is (or was) Christmas though, so finding a few hours to throw this together wasn’t really going to happen. I’m surprised there is enough material, given that the industry usually shuts down a little around this time of year, but it seems most artists are intent on continuing success they’ve found this year.

The week’s recap: Taio Cruz’s latest video, Chipmunk and Chris Brown’s much anticipated video, UK upcomer Talay Riley’s latest single, the mixtape debut of the highly-rated UK singer Bluey Robinson, and finally the official remix for Dirty Money’s Loving You No More. You know where to look and where to click for this week’s episode.

Ciara-Twerk A Little
-When did the word ‘twerk’ get so popular? Decent enough effort from Ciara, with the strong club vibe that she favours on her tracks. A relatively minimal R&B production works well with her vocals, as Ciara’s mellow vocals still manage to bring a little energy to the track.

Hot Rod-Dance With Me
-This was supposed to go into last week’s episode, so my apologies for that one. Hot Rod is the first signing to 50 Cent’s new G Note Records, which is set to be a more pop/R&B oriented imprint, a style that is fully captured in this effort. It’s clear that Flo Rida is the blueprint here, as a heavy dance-based production is supplemented by the customary Autotune and miscellaneous female on the hook. Standard mainstream effort, and one that could find its way to many dancefloors.

Keri Hilson-Fearless
-From a special edition of her No Boys Allowed album that I believe is not available out here in the UK. It’s a midtempo effort, and one of those that really does tick all the right boxes: great vocals, catchy hook and good writing combine to give an uplifting, motivational feel whilst the production that remains interesting throughout with various changeups. Very good track, and as its relegated to being a bonus track, the album itself had better be pretty damn special.

Avant-Keep Me From You
-Stepping away from his usual slow ballad style, Avant goes for a quicker tempo with this catchy track. The production drives this track strongly, taking a slow jam-style melody and giving it a more pop feel with its speed. Avant generally doesn’t disappoint on vocals, and this is no exception as he comes through with a memorable performance.

Keyshia Cole-Where Would We
-Another bonus track from a recently-released album, Keyshia comes through with a soulful jam that has a lively, bouncy edge. As with almost all of her songs, the vocals are absolutely top drawer, throwing in some very diverse styles over an equally varied beat that draws influence from funk, R&B and soul.

Lloyd-Let’s Get It In Remix ft. 50 Cent and El DeBarge
-Hmm. First off, let me say that it’s great to see someone realising that this is a rather good production, and hence deserves a remix. However, I’m not convinced DeBarge is the best fit for this production, as his high pitched voice seems to really clash with the melodies of the production, and end up sounding a little too piercing. Maybe worth listening to if you fancy refreshing the original.

Trey Songz-May I ft. Fabolous (Official Remix)
-Originally found on Trey’s recent mixtape, Fab jumps on the very hip-hop oriented track for a decent remix. Trey’s really been on his rapping tip as of late, and this continues that trend with some decent verses: however, no matter how good/bad his verses may be, there’s no denying we want to hear him back on his singing tip. Good contribution from Fab though.

Teyana Taylor-Simon Sez
-A lady who has had her stock rise considerably following her feature on Christmas in Harlem, Teyana comes through with a decent effort of her own. There’s a hip-hop sensibility to the production, which has a very Neptunes sound about it (I’m specifically hearing a lot of Lapdance in this one), and Teyana supplies some catchy vocals to round off a headnodder with some real club potential.

Ne-Yo-One In A Million Remix ft. Fabolous and Jadakiss
-One thing I like about this remix is the utilisation of the intro: for some reason, I really like the production on that segment (the whole song is well produced too, don’t get me wrong) and Fab opens his verse on that little section nicely. Big fan of the original, and it’s only enhanced with the addition of a couple of NY heavy-hitters.

Rocki Evans-Woman
-He’s been very quiet since releasing his very good More Songs About Girls EP earlier this year, which is a damn shame as he’s a gifted young singer. This track finds him on a much more alternative/soul style, as he comes through with some searching vocals over a guitar laced production that blends nicely with his voice. Really big fan of this track, as he fuses together a few different styles to create a sound that is vintage, but with modern touches.

Bobby Valentino-One Night Stand
-It’s hard to not love Bobby V when he’s on this slow, smooth tip. Very few do it better, and once again he picks a winding, atmospheric production to lace with memorable vocals, creating a track that fits the bedroom music genre nicely. Certainly one of his strongest efforts in recent times, and hopefully we’ll get more of this.

Teairra Mari-The Night Before Xmas Mixtape
-A full mixtape offering from the underrated Teairra Mari. I’ve really come to appreciate her vocals recently, and she definitely has the potential to be an all-round threat as she’s not bad to look at either! A couple of tracks from here have already been dropped, with her Deuces remix in particular being a very good effort. Hopefully, she can break through to that next level with this effort.

Keri Hilson-So Good
-One that didn’t make her recent album, it’s another strong effort from Keri. Confident and defiant as ever with her lyrics, she’s backed by a pop-R&B production that softens that sharp message somewhat, and gives it a more mainstream friendly feel. Hence, it’ll work nicely for the pop crowd, though the more ‘traditional’ R&B heads may have hoped for a more edgy production. A good song either way.

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