R&B Fridays: Episode 90

Genuinely tried to get this out yesterday, but once again we suffered from a lack of material. I’ve managed to half fix that problem, though this is still a shorter episode than you’re probably used to.

However, there’s been lots of pop/R&B posted in the last week that may help fill that void: new Bruno Mars visuals, Willow Smith’s latest single, the announcement of an awesome 90s hip-hop and R&B night in Camden, a strong introduction to UK upcomer CleoSol, J.Lo and Pitbull’s latest collab, and finally some new Timbaland and Brandy.

Click below for the 90th instalment of the longest running weekly episodic ever.

Akon-Love Handles
-Sometimes, you can’t help but think Akon is just testing how far he can go and still make money. You’ve got the typical Guetta (or Guetta style) beat with the pop/dance crossover which ensures this will sell, but the lyrics are certainly a little different as Akon wants the ‘honour of gripping your love handles’. Suppose it’s good to see a celebrity who doesn’t mind a bit of meat: I can almost smell the renewed hope of many of you.

Kelly Rowland-Motivation ft. Lil’ Wayne
-Hmm. It’s an odd thing to say but in isolation, the beat and lyrics aren’t bad. However, they feel like the wrong fit for each other here as the lyrics do work for a slow jam (or even potentially an uptempo beat), but the production is far too busy and hip-hop inspired to apply itself to this bedroom centric lyricism. Hopefully it’ll grow on me as there aren’t really too many faults with it individually, it’s just the blend isn’t quite right for me.

Rico Love-Bi-Winning (On That Charlie Sheen)
-Do you really need me to explain that title? No. You don’t. Not R&B in the slightest, but it is certainly pop/mainstream as Rico (who normally sings) goes with a more Soulja Boy type track. I wouldn’t usually go anywhere near a track of this sort, but if you’re going to sample an all-time great Charlie Sheen interview, you’ve got my attention. Shame he didn’t use the sample to do something smart though.

London-Push Up On It
-As you’ve probably learnt by now, I’m a pretty big fan of this guy. His brand of chilled, mellow R&B is great listening, and he continues his good vein of form with another smoothed out track, delivering a relaxing production alongside some solid vocals that emphasise his lyrics nicely.

Miss Daja-Mean Walk ft. Nicki Minaj
-The first thing that’ll catch you here is the pounding, in-your-face bassline. It pretty much makes up 90% of the production, which is probably going to suit those who would grab this track anyway (because let’s be honest, you’re just after the Minaj feature). Typical Minaj feature, including the customary ‘waste time making a pointless noise’ section.

Miguel-Oh Me Oh My
-Another of my upcoming favourites, Miguel drops off a real vintage sounding jam here. It has an almost live, acoustic vibe to it with the backdrop of claps, clicks and backing vocals and soulful vocals/adlibs throughout. Really offbeat in today’s music scene, and is very enjoyable for the older heads.

Lloyd-Miss That P*ssy ft. Lil’ Wayne
-Unfinished track from King of Hearts (the final will have Andre 3000!), this is yet another winner for Lloyd. Uptempo soul vibes emanate out of this one, with a lively percussion line accompanied by a bouncy mleody on the keys and upbeat synths on the hook. Lloyd’s voice most certainly adapts to the occassion, as his growing vocal maturity allows him to really capitalise on the peaks and troughs of the production. One that’ll certainly get your head nodding and bring some energy out of you!

Lil’ Eddie-Guardian Angel (ft. Ameriie)
-Still not sure why Amerie added an extra ‘i’, but whatever. A solid track though, as Eddie really pours it out with the vocals and delivers a pretty engaging track, particularly in the hook. Production is very pop, with the drive coming from percussion and supplements from light piano and synth work. I assume Ameriie is on backing vocals, as I can’t hear her on a verse.

Jhene Aiko-Hoe ft. Miguel
-I’ve got a lot of time for Jhene, especially after her performance on Schoolboy Q’s recent single. Her smooth, sultry voice is incredibly addictive, and she’s shows here that she also has an ear for a beat/feature as she gets both very right. The production is very relaxing, understated and mellow which brings all the right qualities out of Aiko’s voice, whilst Miguel injects the track with some passion. Not sure why there are sampled Gucci verses in there though, that’s hugely pointless.

Akon-Chasin’ You
-Along with R. Kelly, this guy is one of the best in the business at creating a really atmospheric feel to his tracks. The production doesn’t exactly do a great deal in creating that atmosphere for the most part, and it’s purely down to Akon’s vocals that effect is created. Lyrically, it’s fairly simplistic as you’d expect but if you’re a fan of Akon on his pop game, you’ll really enjoy this.

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