R&B Fridays: Episode 84

No recap this week thanks to a temperamental hard drive, but R&B Fridays actually makes it out on a Friday for the second consecutive week, which is a pretty big victory.

Lots of remixes and rappers popping up this week, with some huge names coming through with some very unexpected pop and R&B remixes. More than enough original material too though, making this a very diverse episode that’ll satisfy the vast majority of you grubby little folk.

Click on and let me be the Snoop to your Cameron, though R&B/pop probably isn’t the same as marijuana…probably.

Jennifer Lopez-On The Floor ft. Pitbull

-Set to be the (latest…) lead single from her upcoming Love? project, the Pitbull feature probably tells you all you need to know about the track: dance-infused pop with a typical Pitbull contribution, and some catchy vocals. J. Lo does add lot with her vocals though, as her distinctive airy style in the hook is juxtaposed nicely with a more energetic delivery for the verses. Likeable track with lots of potential to be a club/chart hit.

Bobby Valentino-Good Girls
-From his upcoming 60 More Minutes mixtape, this follows on from last week’s more upbeat style with an uptempo track that further enhances Bobby’s credentials as a versatile artist. I much prefer his smooth slow jams, but there’s no denying this is solid material, and is far more enjoyable than some of the ‘upbeat’ R&B/pop being peddled around by other artists. Solid production, solid vocals, a decent all-rounder.

Lloyd-Lay It Down Remix ft. B.o.B and Rock City
-This track seems to have been reinvigorated in the last month or so, and I count this as the third big-name remix of Lloyd’s single released in recent weeks. Seems like another official one too, with Lloyd’s adlibs on B.o.B’s verse implying that it’s not just a tacked-on verse. The production has been amplified considerably too, with more emphasis on live instrumentation pulling the track away from its relaxed roots into a more intense and energetic area. It always makes remixes worthwhile when the beat is adjusted to adopt a new vibe, and I’d call this 3 out of 3 on the all-star remixes for Lloyd. Would have liked to hear more from Rock City though.

Stephen Marley-Jah Army ft. Damian Marley and Buju Banton
-A new version of the track posted here, with added contributions from the legendary Buju Banton. He certainly fits right in with the track, bringing his own brand of aggressive energy to play off the relaxed production. Aside from that, it’s the same track.

Jay Sean-Do It For U ft. Pitbull
-Another track with massive chart potential: it’s brainless pop music, and hence works perfectly well as an uptempo track to get some attention in clubs. It’s pretty much the standard formula: pop-dance production, Pitbull verse and catchy hook. Less likeable for me personally than the J. Lo track above, but purely because I prefer her voice to Jay Sean’s.

B.B.O.D-Dummy ft. Juelz Santana

-If you like that minimal R&B/hip-hop crossover style that dominates mainstream urban airplay, you’ll enjoy this. I hate this sort of stuff, so I’m just gonna leave it there.

Jackie Boyz-Getcha Number
-Very pleased that these guys are coming through more consistently these days, as their material is usually of a high standard. No exception here, as this midtempo effort delivers fairly well all-round. Nice little details and progression in the production, with soft piano melodies and stuttered synths interchanging in places, and decent work on the vocals as per usual. Solid all-rounder.

Raheem DeVaughn-Fall For Your Type ft. Dee Boy
-Raheem’s back jacking other artists’ beats, kicking off with a very enjoyable remake of Jamie Foxx and Drake’s Fall For Your Type. His delivery on the verses isn’t as ‘chillout’ as Jamie Foxx’s, but he brings the necessary emotion with his powerful vocals, though Foxx’s smoother delivery probably edges it in comparison. Top marks go to Radio Raheem for the hook though, going with an incredibly smooth delivery that is every bit as good as the original. Very good remix, and one that will be tough to top.

Lee Carr-Searching
-Strong effort from Lee Carr, coming on a much higher tempo than last week’s effort without losing the natural emotion his voice possesses. Lots of diversity in those vocals too, as he goes from high to low throughout, and when coupled with a head-nodding production you’ve got a pretty strong effort that could quietly rack up some plays on your playlists.

Ke$ha-Sleazy (Remix) ft. Andre 3000
-Of all the songs for 3 Stacks to drop a rare verse on, he picks this one? I probably set myself up for a fall here by calling this ‘pseudo hip-hop’ back when the original dropped, and Andre takes that a step further with a verse to open things up. Naturally, that’s the highlight of Hollaback Girl part 2 as this track should be called, as the track is the same as the original otherwise. Am I the only one who thinks Ke$ha looks like she probably smells a bit?

Mya-Fabolous Life
-Quite like this happy little number. It’s very poppy, and you’d probably associate the production/lyrics more with someone like Katy Perry, but Mya keeps it much more tolerable with her vocals and comes through with a really positive piece of bubble-pop that’ll be a new guilty pleasure for many. There’s a very retro feel about the production, giving it a very mid-90s feel that makes for fairly easy listening in comparison to the dance-heavy pop of today’s other productions.

Chris Brown-Beautiful People
-Sounds a tiny bit unfinished but it’s an interesting insight into the direction of Chris’ upcoming album, as he goes with a very electro-heavy production for this track, giving it a very European flavour. Bit of a shame he’s resorted to Autotune, but the production covers it up enough to keep it bearable. On first listen, it’s easy to mistake this for a Paul Oakenfold/David Guetta track, such is the anthemic feel of the production, and I suspect the finished version of this will be a huge hit.

Rocki Evans-I Tried

-Another very good track from upcomer Rocki Evans, and one that once again draws on a very diverse range of influences to put together a very captivating instrumental. The verses boasts light licks of guitar work, with a real acoustic vibe emanating as a result, whilst the hook delivers atmospheric piano work that Coldplay would be proud of. It’s given consistency by solid vocal work from Rocki throughout, and this is definitely one of the week’s highlights.

Jennifer Lopez-Good Hit
-Not too sure what to make of this. There are flashes of quality, but amongst a very Black Eyed Peas-esque track that makes me think otherwise. It’s a solid pop anthem and will go down really well with the mainstream fans (as well as the younger crowd), but it’s certainly not for me. Can’t fault the production, which has a driving energy about it, but it’s too close to BEP for me as an all-round entity.

Rihanna-S&M Remix ft. J. Cole
-As the title suggests, this probably isn’t one for the kids. The original was an uptempo effort with no real standout aspects, but J. Cole certainly changes that with a show-stealing verse that really displays his versatility. It’s a quick beat to ride, and he does so with consumate ease, changing up his lyrical content appropriately for his short verse to further enhance his credentials.

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