R&B Fridays: Episode 95

5 weeks away from the 100th episode, and the ‘new format’ rolls on with another easy-to-digest and concise edition. Not too much to catch up on in terms of different posts, but I’m sure anyone with even a sprinkling of good taste will be interested in grabbing 64 Frank Ocean tracks.

An interesting blend of mainstream stuff and more refined soul-oriented material this week, as well as chucking in the now customary throwback R&B track of the week. Click below to be happy.

Marsha Ambrosius-Far Away Remix ft. Busta Rhymes
-Huge, huge fan of the original and upon seeing Busta’s name on the remix, I’ll admit I felt fairly trepadatious. However, Busta does a shockingly-enjoyable job of toning down his usual energy and breakneck speed into a sombre, more emotional opening verse. His lyrics are on point and in context with the rest of the track, and this undeniably serves to remind everyone that he isn’t a one-trick pony. Rest of the song is the same as the original, bar the extended instrumental breakdown at the end.

2008 Throwback: Casely-I’m Done
-Getting the throwback in early this week. I was singing this guy’s praises in last week’s episode, so it felt right to come through with one of his stronger efforts from the year in which he sprung to my attention. You’ll immediately be hooked by the use of live drums in this one, which adds an edgy, organic quality to the otherwise synth-driven production, making for a nice blend of styles that will definitely entertain the casual R&B fans. Casely’s vocals are suited nicely to this beat, and the fact they’re a little raw plays off this sharp production nicely to emphasise the emotion in his voice.

Chris Brown-Talk Ya Ear Off
-A bonus track from his recent F.A.M.E. album, Breezy grabs Timbaland to serve him a decent production. It’s one of those that would challenge most artists in terms of delivery, and Chris takes it on well with a slightly offbeat style that works to seperate this from the usual R&B/pop fare. Nothing new about the lyrics, but a solid all-round jam that could do an OK job on the club scene.

Musiq Soulchild-Yes
-Another very solid jam from Musiq’s upcoming album. His smooth voice is never boring, and he’s got his beat selecction spot on here with an equally velvety production that combines a classic soul sensibility with a modern infusion to compliment the vocals very well. Lyrically, it follows suit with his recent material in being very mature and positive, and crucially feels based around monogamy which makes any song far easier to respect and appreciate. Really excited for this album now, don’t sleep on this.

Mya-Full Service ft. Trae the Truth
-Never know what’s happening with Mya in terms of projects, but maybe this will be the start of something. It’s a laidback track, with Mya using the slow, winding production well to deliver a sultry performance. Of all the artists to hop on a feature with Mya, I certainly didn’t expect Trae given is relatively gritty and dark stylings, though he slots in well here, using his husky delivery to good effect and rounding off the track well.

David Guetta-Where Dem Girls At ft. Nicki Minaj and Flo Rida
-If Minaj’s status as an artist ever needed clarification, here it is. Those of you proclaiming her to be the ‘best female rapper’ can now shutup (ever heard of Jean Grae? Thought not), as she’s sharing billing with Flo Rida. This is your typical Guetta and/or Flo track, with a mainstream-satisfying dance-pop beat that makes this instantly ready for the clubs, and Minaj and Flo Rida come through with basic, catchy raps to give this the singalong feel. Inevitably, this will get ridiculously overplayed: be warned.

Sade-Still In Love With You
-Another one from The Ultimate Collection (go here for the showpiece track from the album), this is your typical smoothed-out, beautifully mellow Sade track. Her vocals are unquestioned for their quality, offering both emotion and relaxation in one buttery package that leaves a nice taste in your mouth, and she’s backed by a soothing guitar-laced production that is engrossing in its own right. Superb all-rounder, one of the soul tracks of the year.

John Legend-Rolling In The Deep (Error Operator Remix)
-It was inevitable that someone would mix John Legend’s brilliant version some kind of actual production, and Error Operator has done just that. Really can’t fault this, as the production has a progression and diversity that matches the same qualities in John voice, and makes the emotion of his vocals that little bit more poignant. Great effort.

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