R&B Fridays: Episode 142

It’s a little late this week, but with good reason as R&B Fridays is on a 2-week hiatus after this episode, due to ‘international commitments’ of the team.

Thankfully, it’s an episode to savour with two brand new contributions from series favourite Frank Ocean, in addition to a couple of other noteworthy artists getting involved. Three to catch up on from the week gone by, with Novel dropping off a bumper 19-track project, Teyana Taylor also getting in the mixtape hunt with her newest effort, and the second episode of our other weekly series, Sh*t You Forgot About. Head below.

Frank Ocean-White

-Taken from the freshly-released Odd Future Tape Vol. 2, this marks Frank’s only solo contribution to the collection (though he’s featured on a couple of other tracks). It’s a minimal, typically leftfield effort that makes every effort to highlight the natural captivating quality his voice has, reducing the production to little more than the odd melody here and there, until the beat bursts into the life towards the end courtesy of a little bass, synth and horns. As with most tracks of this nature, there’s a clear focus on the vocals and lyricism and with Frank, they’re two areas he always delivers with, and this is no exception. Probably not his most replayable effort, but a good track nonetheless.

Timbaland-Break Ya Back ft. Dev

-Apparently, this is taken from Shock Value III. Why is he still using that title? The first one was great and did have some shock value, but the second (and probably this one) are just pop throwaways with only one shocking factor: they’re still being released. Credit where its due though, as this production is one of his better in recent years, and having been a shadow of his former self over the last couple of years, the depth and bounce of this beat makes for a welcome return to form. The vocal and lyrical work is simple and a little boring in truth, though Dev’s lazy, laidback style does on occasion blend well with the production, particularly on the bassy bridge.

Mike Posner-Chameleon

-Produced by the ever-enjoyable Diplo, Posner’s given a pop-dance production with a likeable liveliness and takes to it well. Diplo blends a nice range of styles here, going for a retro-inspired electronic style in the verses, which also boasts an incredibly addictive percussion line, followed by a switchinto a more melodic alt-pop vibe for the hook. The combination works well, and feeds off Posner’s own versatility as he mixes it up with a few different deliveries throughout the track, keeping things nice and dynamic and ensuring he’s not overwhelmed by the beat. A solid effort that could end up being a bit of a hit.

Frank Ocean-Whip Appeal

-What is it about this guy? Any other artist and this song just wouldn’t work, but it most definitely does for Frank. A midtempo production, the frenetic percussion works nicely with atmospheric synth work for ‘something to drive, or jog to’, according to Frank. His slightly offbeat, almost spoken-word delivery in the first verse combines with simple yet descriptive lyricism for a great setup to the track, and you’re almost unexpectedly hit with a surprisingly harmonic hook to accompany the track, a factor that rubs off on the verses that follow, as he drops the spoken word style for a more regular vocal delivery. It’s a good blend of deliveries and each section retains that intangible Frank Ocean factor that makes his music so enjoyable, and this one that I’ll be giving many plays this summer.

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