R&B Fridays: Episode 94

There’s one simple reason this is late: I forgot. I subsequently considered leaving it for this week, but then realised how many of your lives cling on to the faint glimmer of light and tiny shreds of hope that R&B Friday gives you.

Solid material dropped throughout the week, including a not-to-be-slept-on mixtape from Mateo, Gilbere Forte dropped a superb remix of an Adele track, an interesting piece of retro dance-pop from Holy Ghost!, unusual visuals for Katy Perry and Kanye West’s collaboration, and finally a video for Chipmunk’s latest single with the lovely Keri Hilson.

Click below for this week’s episode, complete with a throwback for good measure.

Jennifer Lopez-I’m Into You ft. Lil’ Wayne

-Having correctly predicted her recent single with Pitbull would be a smash, I can safely suggest that this one won’t have the same impact over here. However, it may be more popular out in the US with its lack of Euro-dance influence, and instead a more hip-hop driven production. J. Lo’s delivery also often blends into the hip-hop style, though her hook is undoubtedly very pop/mainstream friendly. It’s nothing spectacular, but it may achieve success nonetheless.

Ne-Yo-Love Victory
-A slow pop ballad that sounds as though it could be a demo for another artist, this is a solid Ne-Yo effort. A light piano melody makes up the production alongside solid percussion work, enabling the powerful vocals take centre stage on this track, and as a result compounding that ‘power ballad’ feel. Not strictly my thing, but I can appreciate this sort of song when done well, which it is here.

Casely-Doing Time ft. Rico Love
-Big fan of Casely, and wish he’d drop material more often as what he does release tends to be very enjoyable. This is no exception to that, with the contemporary R&B feel driving through this one via a layered production that incorporates elements of a typical slow jam alongside more ‘exciting’ synth and sample work. It makes for a really enjoyable blend of chillout and passion, with both elements also displayed in Casely’s vocals as they adapt to the varying beat appropriately throughout. Very enjoyable jam.

Sean Garrett-In Da Box ft. Rick Ross
-Sadly, this isn’t a dedication to Javier Hernandez. Even worse, it’s another ‘schizophrenic’ Sean Garrett track that can’t decide whether to be hip-hop or R&B. For a man with so much ability when it comes to making R&B tracks, he’s pretty much sabotaging his own career with these hybrid tracks as he simply doesn’t pull it off. On the plus side, this Lex Luger production is actually quite different to his usual style and would have been quite enjoyable for an actual hip-hop artist, which results in Rick Ross’ contribution being the highlight of this particular ditty.

Throwback: Bobby Valentino-Your Smile ft. Lil’ Wayne
-Often when posting Bobby V tracks, I’ll comment on how Tim and Bob are easily the best producers for his style/material. This was the track that really cemented that belief for me, and made for one of my favourite R&B tracks of 2008 (which incidentally, was probably my most ‘R&B-filled’ year of music!). The eastern-infused production makes for highly addictive listening, and Bobby brings his best with relaxed vocals that make the most of this smooth production, with the hook in particular being very catchy.

Porcelain Black-This Is What Rock & Roll Looks Like ft. Lil’ Wayne
-Three Lil’ Wayne features in one episode, with this one being in tandem with the latest Cash Money recruit. As the title may suggest, there’s a slight rock influence on the production, though as the track progresses it descends into a typical dance-pop production. Has a bit of a Lady Gaga vibe about it, which whilst being wholly unoriginal does make for a very catchy track. Can’t complain about her vocal style though, which is a little more original with its rough, gritty delivery. Not the best singer by any means, but different enough to be memorable.

-Very off-beat sort of production, but as ever Ne-Yo manages to make it work. There’s an almost jazz-soul sort of vibe about this one, with a horn-driven production making for a very different backdrop, adding a raw, organic sort of vibe to the track. Ne-Yo’s vocal style is switched up throughout too, as he moves between his melodic style to an almost rapped blend that utilises this diverse production nicely.

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