I can honestly say that since this track’s release last week, it hasn’t left my rotation. Put aside any hesitance you might have when you see Eddie and Snoop Lion/Dogg listed together on a track, and you’ll probably find yourself having a little nod-along to it too.
The video doesn’t really do anything major in terms of enhancing the audio, though it does show Eddie’s taking this music thing pretty seriously- aside from his du-rag, there’s no comedy shenanigans or playing around. Instead, it’s a pretty standard music video from start to end, interweaving performances from Eddie, Snoop and their band with a light story of a young girl witnessing all sorts of negativity (arguments, random assault, arrests and such), with the latter working well enough with Eddie’s conscientious lyricism. There’s nothing here you haven’t seen before, but it’s a good fit for the vibe of the track, blending real issues with a touch of corny positivity for a family-friendly listen, and one that will hang around my playlist for a little while longer yet. It’s a shame this didn’t land earlier this summer as it would have been a great fit on those sunny day playlists, but nonetheless it’s here now and it’s enjoyable. Available on iTunes now.
There’s a significant portion of our readership that a) doesn’t know Eddie Murphy ever actually released music, and b) weren’t alive when he was Hollywood’s premiere comedy actor. Creepy.
Most outlets have shunned this as something to be laughed at or just plain odd, but I’m quite opposed to that- this is actually a pretty smooth reggae jam. It’s lighthearted and fun in places, conscientous in others, and generally just packed with solid melodies and an easygoing vibe that makes it irrelevant who the named artist is on the artwork. Eddie delivers a surprisingly good performance in the reggae mould, adding a new string to his bow with a convincingly-authentic performance that you’d easily believe was from an actual Carribean-dwelling act. That applies to both the vocals and lyrics, with the latter throwing forth a little social commentary that shows off Eddie’s more reflective side, though that ‘seriousness’ is balanced with the mellow delivery and the tropical vibes of the production. The beat is a very enjoyable backdrop too, combining gentle percussion with heavy doses of guitars, both acoustic and funk-driven, and brings a great deal of positivity and feelgood quality to proceedings, also ensuring Eddie’s lyricism doesn’t come across as too preachy. Snoop reassumes his Lion persona here, delivering a few short bursts through the final third of the track to add a little tonal diversity, and finishes off what is in truth a pretty likeable track. Many won’t go for it, but it’ll find a home in my iTunes on its release.
For the most part, I’ve avoided the releases from this project as it’s hard to take it seriously. However, with the features and the Major Lazer production credit, this one has a little too many likeable factors to ignore.
The right decision is made in terms of Snoop’s exposure here-it’s minimal, and Mavado and Major Lazer seem to really dominate this one. The ML production is excellent, combining classic reggae elements such as the slow, rolling percussion and mellow yet chunky guitar work with horns and a livelier percussion in the hook, giving the beat a vintage feel in the verses and a modern-day quality for the hook. Snoop’s verse is backed by Mavado’s own vocals, whilst the latter also grabs a verse and does most of the work for the hook, with Popcaan’s low tones closing the verses off. It’s a surprisingly enjoyable jam that’s probably released at the wrong time of year (this would be an excellent summer track), but credit to Snoop for knowing when to sit back and let the others take the lead.
I think Sterling Simms has finally got one. After years of plugging away in the R&B scene, it looks like he’s picked up a track here that could really gain some traction in mainstream circles.
Anyone with even a slight familiarity with Simms’ very R&B-focused style will be surprised with this. For all intents and purposes it’s a reggae track, with the minimal, bouncy production of the genre and Sterling’s vocal style on the track adapting to infuse the reggae style into it. His innate R&B sensibilities give this one a little gloss too, making it slightly more polished from a vocal perspective, which is either a good or a bad thing depending on your preference (mine being the rougher, more natural reggae style), and hence giving it a more mainstream appeal. Meek Mill coming along for the assist certainly doesn’t hurt, and his verse is surprisingly excellent, opening with an incredible rapid fire delivery that we’ve not seen from him, before settling into a slower flow with a hint of Caribbean style of his own.
Snoop Dogg isn’t the only one going reggae it seems. The genre’s on for a comeback!
This guy will try anything. He’s now changed his name to Snoop Lion (temporarily at least) as part of a reggae side project he plans to drop off at some point this year.
He’s recruited the ubiquitous Diplo (under the Major Lazer guise) for the production, a pretty textbook old school reggae affair with plenty of cool and a relaxing quality which is difficult to dislike. With that said, Snoop’s West Indian accent is a pretty strange listen and its almost difficult to take it seriously at times, although at others it does seem to work well enough, in particular the duet vocals on the hook are listenable enough. Let’s see what else comes of this, and who knows-maybe hearing more will make it a little more believable as music.
To take the positives out of the situation, it does mean that the choices for this week’s episode sort of fall into my lap, based on old-school tracks I’ve found myself inexplicably listening to recently. The diversity you’ve come to expect (or at least did 2 months ago) from this series is still there, with 4 tracks in 4 different styles, and a nice mix of genres thrown in.
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.
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.
Break out your parachute pants and turtleneck jumpers, you’re about to go back to 1992. A vague recollection of early-mid 90s music is all that’s needed to become enamoured with the latest single from the lovely Yasmin.
The production boasts a wonderfully retro combination of early 90s jungle and reggae with mid 90s/00s garage, fusing speedy drums with thick bass and sharp melodies and resulting in an addictive throwback production. Solid vocal work from Yasmin too, who comes on a drifty, lightweight style that blends nicely with the eclectic production to retain that old-school flavour, and also act as another sign of her musical versatility. Three singles from Yasmin thus far, and whilst each has been very different from the last, there’s a consistency in the quality that suggests her debut album should be one to look forward to.
Not to be confused with George Orwell’s somewhat more macabre view of the number 101, we roll on past the magical 100 with this week’s episode. Be sure to catch up with my top 30 from episodes 1-100 if you haven’t already.
Probably my favourite track from Bruno’s album, and one that’s still very listenable today. The simplicity of the video is very fitting here, ensuring the easygoing, relaxing reggae vibe of the track isn’t tainted by excessive storyline work.
The cinematography is an understated highlight (oxymoron?) too, with various retro-esque effects, filters and wipes used throughout that enhance that nostalgic, old-school summer day feel of the track.
It’s actually quite refreshing to see Bruno on this chilled out tip too, with his previous videos being pretty emotional, passionate efforts. Say what you want about him (and it seems many people will moan about him just because he’s now popular), but his talents are undeniable and he’s by far the most bearable mainstream pop artist right now by virtue of being a talented singer-songwriter, and with the diversity level that this track shows. I must admit I feel a certain level of personal pride having (helped) uncover his talent towards the end of 2009, and frankly he deserves his success.
New video from one of the best releases of last year, probably one of my favourite tracks from Nas & Damian Marley’s collaboration album too. The visuals for this have been shot superbly and we’re given some great effects which really capture the mood and essence of this sombre and thought-provoking song.
No recap this week thanks to a temperamental hard drive, but R&B Fridays actually makes it out on a Friday for the second consecutive week, which is a pretty big victory.
Lots of remixes and rappers popping up this week, with some huge names coming through with some very unexpected pop and R&B remixes. More than enough original material too though, making this a very diverse episode that’ll satisfy the vast majority of you grubby little folk.
Click on and let me be the Snoop to your Cameron, though R&B/pop probably isn’t the same as marijuana…probably. → Continue Reading
“The new track ‘Some Boy’, taken from the Kray Twinz’ forthcoming album, sees Island Records recording artist Stush lock her lyrical flow and toasting over a hypnotic snake charming Indian-meets-dancehall vibe. Lady Stush, known for her features on club hits with Groove Armada and Sticky, delivers over a hypnotic beat with ease and a lyrical dexterity, which is second to none.
The boys have been busy with production duties for Twista’s latest US album ‘The Perfect Storm’, which has been receiving great reviews. The Twinz have also produced the single ‘IT AIN’T OVER’ for Thriller Live lead singer solo artist Jag who is set for a big launch this year.”
This is a track that’s already #1 on the Brit Asia Video Charts and also a video that receives airtime on popular UK urban Channel AKA.
It’s always great to hear this Bob Marley classic, but when it’s performed by the brilliant but elusive Lauryn Hill, there’s a whole new experience to enjoy.
As you’d rightfully expect, Lauryn stamps her authority on the track with a great performance, making it sound as if it was written for her in the first place. Ably backed by The Roots, this is a performance that’s well worth watching.
Fingers crossed, this week’s R&B Friday will actually reach you on time!
A really diverse episode awaits you this week, with both an interesting mixture of tracks and a range of well-known artists making the cut this week. Plenty of content with over 20 tracks making up this instalment, you should have enough to see you through the next week.
Hit that red line below and eat as much as you like. Go on, go crazy. No-one’s watching.
I do really like this track, and it’s certainly been one of my sounds of the summer thus far. My laptop actually let me watch this video, which does a job with a pretty simple Caribbean party scene. Nothing complicated, works well enough and doesn’t ruin the song.
Minaj looks great as ever. Underrated Nicki Minaj feature: her smile. I’m well aware of her other assets, don’t worry, but she genuinely does have a really nice smile. Add it to the list of Minaj’s qualities!
So, this is my last post for quite some time. As I’m off to South Africa, it seems only right to leave on a related note-what better way to go than with a song about the infamous vuvuzela?!
Background: Serocee was actually born just around the corner from me in Birmingham, and grew up in Jamaica. The song: a catchy reggae joint that samples the vuvuzela to memorable effect. One to perk up your summer and get you back in the World Cup mood after England’s dismal performance last night! Preview and download below. See you in a few weeks!
Here it is: my last R&B Friday for around a month. Don’t you worry though, we’ve got plenty planned to keep you supplied and satisfied.
This week has material from a really wide range of artists and styles, from established artists like Timbaland to newcomers such as Sammie. Good stuff to keep you going until the surprises in store for you next week, be sure to click on and enjoy some R&B.
Reggae/dancehall artist Gyptian goes for the most ambitious remix of Drake’s popular track to date. Completely throwing out the original beat, he replaces it with a summery, dancehall vibe that is very easy on the ear.
The original beat was one of the strongest parts of the original so this is a very risky move, but this adds a slightly different take on the track and unquestionably makes it easier to listen to as a chillout track. A very good effort, and as opposed to directly replacing the original, offers a more complimentary effect that adds versatility to the track.