R&B Fridays: Episode 132


After a brief hiatus due to the busy festive period, we’re back to open the new year with a brand new edition of the internet’s R&B cornerstone.

The Weeknd and Frank Ocean feature in the recap, with the former’s releasing his latest mixtape just under a fortnight ago, and the latter letting loose of a new track last week, whilst the impact of both on R&B has been discussed as part of our 2011′s defining moment’s list. Don’t miss out on Lloyd’s latest visuals either, for his excellent Be The One single, and after that you’re cleared to click below for this week’s episode.

Bei Maejor-Trouble (Remix) ft. J. Cole, T-Pain, Trey Songz & Wale
-Not familiar with the original, but with a lineup like this on the remix, it’s difficult to ignore. The production is simple and very enjoyable here, with a thudding bassline met by an atmospheric, slightly ominous synth and some short electronic hits, and the combination gives the track a real depth. Bei’s catchy and effective with the hook, and T-Pain aside, the features are strong throughout with Trey’s rap-sing hybrid in particular being a highlight. Definitely one most R&B heads will appreciate.

Elle Varner-Soundproof Room
-Soulful vibes engulf this one, with a real vintage-styled production blending excellently with Elle’s raw vocals for a very enjoyable song. A more upbeat, lively take on ‘bedroom music’, the bouncy piano work meshes magnificently with the funky bass to provide Elle with a very entertaining backdrop, who delivers a confident, skilled performance with passionate, energetic vocals. Strong effort from Elle, and I’m looking forward to Perfectly Imperfect.

Ne-Yo-Gemini
-Another soul-inspired effort, there’s a mellow vibe about this one that makes it an easy listen. The production on the verses is a little thin, but the vivid and powerful production work on the hook is an enjoyable listen, and as expected Ne-Yo’s vocals are suitably tailored to the progression of the beat. Catchy hook as you’d expect, and whilst nothing world-beating, it’s a solid effort that’s a worthy addition to the library of any Ne-Yo fan.

Jared Evan-Traffic Light
-We were treated to new Jared recently, and it looks like that’s a sign of more regular material, as he drops off this enjoyable hybrid effort. Opening with some memorable vocals, Jared displays his versatility by sprinkling some short raps in amongst his vocals on the second verse: what’s notable is his ability to know when to stop rapping to prevent overkill, and he rightfully puts the brakes on at exactly the right points with each short section. A pounding, edgy production does a good job of backing him up, and it’s an enjoyable effort from start to finish. I like this kid, and I hope that more material is coming from him.

Teyana Taylor-Make Your Move ft. Wale
-The talented Teyana hooks up with Wale for this funky effort, and it’s an upbeat effort that will win over many. Wale opens with what has to be considered one of his best verses in a long time, bringing his vastly underused high-paced flow to this bouncy beat, before Teyana jumps in with some smooth, captivating vocal work that doesn’t extend too far into the ‘emotional’ category, but at the same time has a nice injection of energy and passion. Solid effort.

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