R&B Fridays: Episode 93

Another short episode in terms of new tracks, but that’s the price we pay for me being forced (Murray’s been begging me) to deliver this on time. However, I’ve opted to use this ‘free space’ to throw in something a little different: I’ve included a couple of throwback tracks that you may be unfamiliar with, but are certainly worthy of attention. Would love to hear some feedback on them too, as I’d like to incorporate throwbacks more often!

This week’s recap is Chris Brown heavy, with a feature on both Keri Hilson’s latest video and Big Sean’s first video from his debut album, as well as a brand new video of his own from F.A.M.E. There’s also a new video from Lloyd, and a great track that didn’t make Frank Ocean’s brilliant mixtape.

Done? Good. Click below for R&B Fridays: The 93rd edition.

Bei Maejor-Heavenly Beautiful
-This guy is pretty quickfire with his projects! This is from his upcoming mixtape, and is a cover/remix of James Blunt’s You’re Beautiful. Whilst some folk swear by that track, I have to say I genuinely think I prefer this version: the vocals are infinitely more likeable, and the thicker, more layered production adds real depth without sacrificing the charm of the key guitar melody. Bei’s really on point here with both vocals and lyrics, and this is an undeniably superb take on the track.

Throwback: Amerie-Rolling Down My Face
-From her 2005 album Touch, this is undoubtedly one of the best songs in Amerie’s back catalogue. Sampling Roy Ayers’ classic Searchin’, the production is one of the first that alerted me to Amerie’s ability to fuse a hip-hop production with R&B-style vocals, and the resulting successful sound. The jazz sample works brilliantly with the pounding percussion to create a head-nodding percussion, and Amerie doesn’t skimp on the emotion with her vocals. Says it all that 6 years later, this doesn’t sound outdated in the slightest.

Rotimi-Bottles ft. Gucci Mane
-Shouts to GWHH for the hook-up here. It’s a feel-good club collab as the boys rightfully pointed out, and Rotimi makes the most of his vocals with a soaring performance that switches up for the hook admirably, matching the pr. Never been/will be the biggest Gucci fan, but he doesn’t interfere with the flow of the song here and suits the beat fairly well. Big fan of this hook, definitely the highlight.

Bobby Valentino-Words Remix ft. R. Kelly
-Nice coming together of two slow jam experts from two seperate generations. The original version dropped 23 episodes back in October, and Kels does a great job in refreshing and revitalising the original. The beat is suited well to them both, and they don’t disappoint with mellow lyrics layered alongside more overt, passionate deliveries that offer a nice contrast. Solid R&B jam.

John Legend-Rolling In The Deep (Adele cover)
-Hot DAMN! If anyone was to tackle Adele’s huge hit, John Legend is one of a very small minority that could do it justice, and he most certainly does. I’ve never been able to really get into Adele for some reason (I don’t doubt her ability at all, I just don’t gravitate towards her music), so this cover is great for me personally as there’s no denying the qualities of this song, and having one of my favourite vocalists deliver the emotional lyrics is great. He doesn’t disappoint either, and comes through with an acapella version that highlights the power of his vocals, and emphasises the lyricism by sacrificing the production. Great cover.

Throwback: Chris Brown-Final Destination (Flying Solo) ft. Dre
-Not Dr. Dre, but Dre of Cool & Dre fame (Will a sentence ever use the word Dre more?). In 2008, he seemed to be considering a solo career and a pile of demos (often with a Chris Brown assist) appeared, including this one that stands up as one of the best. Chris really delivers on the emotional vocals here, and whilst Dre is far from an accomplished vocals, he offers a more relaxed style that offers a vocal contrast to Chris’ style. Big winner here is the production though, which utilises an atmospheric percussion-keys combination well, and steps up for the hook superbly thanks to some powerful synth work. Shame these demos have dried up in recent years.

John West-Lovely ft. Pusha T
-Looks like this guy will be a big deal. He’s basically Robin Thicke in terms of musical and vocal style, and seems to have the same major label/major artist backing that Robin enjoyed upon his emergence. Can’t complain though, as his vocals are very relaxing, and the classically-inspired production is extremely addictive, with the lashing of guitars, violins, keys and much more making for a mellow yet intriguing backdrop. Hopefully, he keeps this standard up.

Bei Maejor-Speakin’ In French ft. Chief Stockton
-Another one from Bei, and another extremely smooth track. Really nothing to criticise here, with a fantastically diverse production that weaves smooth guitar strums with solid percussion and the odd synth hit that maakes for a relaxing and memorable beat. Vocals are absolutely on point too, with the hook being a great example of exactly how to deliver a catchy melody without sacrificing quality. Stockton comes through with some impressive verses that are ably delivered, doing justice to both the production and the hook, and rounding this track off as one of the better R&B jams in recent weeks.

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3 comments to R&B Fridays: Episode 93

  • James Carter

    Just off topic a lil, but may I ask why it is that you have Kid Ink as the picture when he is not featured :)

  • I’ll be honest: I searched for Bei Maejor, and despite half-suspecting that wasn’t him, I liked the picture so went with it.

  • James Carter

    haha fair enough, kid ink has some tunes too, just dropped his mixtape with no dj shouts on it today, you should check it out.

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