R&B Fridays: Episode 117

A shorter episode than usual, but still packed full of big names in the current R&B/pop/hip-hop scene, including a couple of unexpected collaborations. Similarly, only a small recap is required from this week’s posts, with the official relese of Skylar Grey’s second set of solo visuals, and a very promising new mixtape from Jay Sean.

Click below for this week’s injection of harmonic, overly-emotional goodness.

T-Pain-5 O’Clock ft. Wiz Khalifa and Lily Allen
-The Wiz and T-Pain collaboration is a new one, but it’s surely the Lily Allen inclusion that will turn some heads. It’s not a ‘new’ feature as such, rather sampling vocals from Who’d Have Known, though the track is anchored around the sample and hence it’s probably worth classifying this as a feature. An enjoyable track too, with a melancholy production that utilises Lily’s hushed vocals superbly, whilst T-Pain scales back the Autotune ever so slightly and becomes relatively bearable, though he shouldn’t have gone all karaoke on the hook by singing over Lily’s vocals. Wiz’s contribution is solid too, coming through with a solid verse that fits in well with the rest of the track. Good effort all-round.

Mario-The Walls ft. Fabolous
-One of Mario’s finest efforts to date. An soft, wintery production creates a great atmosphere, whilst the overall slow jam sensibility keeps that atmosphere perfectly sized for the bedroom. Decent vocal work from start to finish, and crucially he appears to have really managed to create more distinguishability between his hook and verse work, a criticism often levelled at Mario. A cool, classy slow jam.

Kevin McCall-Hard To Get ft. Chris Brown
-Chris’ singing and rapping sidekick Kevin McCall comes through with a solid uptempo track for his own catalogue, boasting a high-tempo production with a strong pop influence, and will really appeal to the mainstream crowd. Lots of energy and passion in the vocals match that lively production, and with the help of the very catchy hook, this could be a popular track with pop fans in the coming months.

Frank Ocean-Dying For Your Love ft. James Fauntleroy
-Originally found on The Lonny Breaux Collection, this is a longer and apparently ‘finished’ version of the same track, and also credits Frank Ocean as the lead artist rather than James: make of that what you will. Frank was compared to the talented Fauntleroy by Chris Brown a little while back, and though that sparked some ill feeling between them (presumably relating to James’ inability to break out as a solo artist?), they’ve worked together here to good effect. The vocals are memorable throughout, whilst dramatic strings work well alongside pulsating synths in the production, giving this a nice rounded feel that makes for solid R&B listening.

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