R&B Fridays: Episode 128

An interesting collection of ‘mid-rangers’ this week, as 3 of the 4 included artists are of the sort who regularly release material and frequently collaborate with big name artists, but don’t quite seem to have fully nailed down a spot in their respective lanes. There’s always plenty of talent floating around in that middle ground, and inevitably it’s where we find the next big stars: time will tell if any of these guys are to be that breakout artist.

2 posts to catch up on from the week gone by, with Mike Posner releasing his first project since his debut album, and The Weekend unleashing his first ever music video (I use that term loosely). Click below for this week’s goods.

Tank-Diary of a Madman (Mixtape)

-A full project boasting 10 brand new tracks, the excellent Tank comes through with a mixtape that will really get the R&B/soul fans excited; his material throughout 2010 was exceptional, and as he’s been a little quieter this year, there’s certainly going to be some anticipation for listeners here. A few big names jump on for features, including Kevin McCall and Ace Hood, whilst I’m advised the material shows a ‘darker’ side to Tank.

Emanny-Young and Ready ft. Jadakiss
-An absolutely prime example of a ‘middle ground’ R&B artist, Emanny demonstrates his talents here with a good all-round effort. Strong vocal output from start to finish, bringing plenty of energy and passion to this track, amplified by the slow-to-midtempo production, which also boasts a nice vocal sample. Kiss slots in nicely on the last verse, and this is a nicely-paced R&B effort that makes for a clean, easy listen.

Leonard Friend-Serious Music
-Leonard Friend is the fusing of Brooklyn indie rock roots with his longtime obsession with Michael Jackson, Prince, and hip hop producers like The Neptunes, Pete Rock and RZA. An interesting hybrid, and one that does come off relatively well here. Thrusting an old-school vibe to the forefront with the retro-sounding electronic samples, Friend adds some bouncy vocals to the production for a real vintage effort that will be enjoyed by many of the pop fans.

Mavado-Survivor ft. Akon
-I do enjoy Mavado’s voice, and here he supplements those vocal qualities with a nice dancehall-inspired production. A combination of funk with a little intensity makes for an interesting listen, with the lyrics in particular having a defiant, powerful message that contrasts favourably with the head-nodding percussion. Akon’s contribution is solid, with the switch in flows on his verse making for a good listen. Solid all-rounder.

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