R&B Fridays: Episode 116

Is R&B currently suffering from one of its worst recessions? Outside of a few upcoming stars (Frank Ocean, The Weeknd and others) there hasn’t been much in terms of consistent quality, and outside of the aforementioned two artists, it’s increasingly difficult to see where the recovery will come from.

However, one of the few artists in recent years to really come away with credit recently released a free album, as The-Dream dropped off a new project, and even if R&B is struggling, soul season is underway with debut visuals from John West and the latest single from Goapele.

Click below for this week’s six pack, and see if an R&B comeback is on the cards.

Jason Derulo-Make It Up As We Go ft. Rick Ross
-The latest uptempo jam from Derulo comes courtesy of a Rick Ross assist, and is considerably more bearable than his usual robotic fare. The production has a clunky percussion that adds a bouncy charm, along with drifty synths for the hook that give the track a real early 2000′s feel, whilst Derulo stays off the Autotune for the vocals and brings a nice dose of energy. Whilst the track isn’t exactly a musical spectacular, it’s a solid throwback style that compares favourably to his otherwise-terrible back catalogue.

Cassie-Radio ft. Fabolous
-Taken from the recent Bad Boy: The Preview mixtape (and hence coated in tags), this has Cassie and Loso putting their work in over the classic Shook Ones Part 2 production: not necessarily uncharted territory, but a production of this magnitude is always worth hearing again. Both artists actually do a very good job too, as Loso opens with a solid verse, and Cassie brings forth lyrics with a more personal touch than previously heard from her, and taking the production on nicely. Whilst her vocals are still a little shaky, it’s a good effort and definitely worth a listen.

Boyz II Men-More Than You’ll Ever Know ft. Charlie Wilson
-From their upcoming Twenty album, this collaboration of veterans is a relaxing slow jam with some real quality. Superb vocal work from start to finish, the track feels lifted straight from the early and mid 90′s R&B heyday, with a heavy soul influence brought to the track from all artists involved. Very simple, understated production allows them to project their vocals, and this is one the older heads will enjoy.

Mavado-Emergency ft. Ace Hood
-A crossover track, Mavado blends his reggae/dancehall roots with an R&B/hip-hop style for a very accessible track that could prove quite the hit. Thumping percussion and driving synths, there’s an intensity to the beat that blends nicely with Mavado’s reaching vocals. Ace Hood fits really well onto this too, bringing a very aggressive delivery to enhance that intensity and round the track off well. One for the car!

Jay Sean-The Mistress
-From his upcoming mixtape of the same name (set to drop Tuesday, if I recall correctly), this has Jay returning to a more traditional R&B style and leaving behind the squeaky-clean pop he’s been producing in the last 18 months. A smooth, easygoing production makes for addictive listening, with chillout vibes coarsing through each element, whilst Jay gets his delivery perfect for such a production with a whispery, soft set of vocals that give this track a lovely wintery feel. His best material in a long time, and good signs ahead of that tape.

Kevin Cossom-Make Luv Thru The Speakers
-Both good and bad. Can’t complain about Cossom’s vocal work, and though there’s no obvious distinction between the verses and hook, it’s more the fault of the production than the vocals. Thick bass makes for the only real likeable feature of this Bangladesh production, as the rest of the production feels a little lacklustre with uninventive percussion, very little distinction between hook and verse to really elevate Kevin’s work, and Bang’s desperate hopes to revive A Milli’s success with a hook centered around a poor vocal sample.

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