Erm. What?! Having been unaware that they once performed on stage together, R. Kelly popping up on a remix of French band Phoenix’s excellent single was beyond unexpected. A massive surprise, but it’s always fun to hear acts of such distant genres come together in this format, and in this case it actually ends up working quite well.
The original is one of my favourite alternative/alt pop tracks in recent times, and as hard as you might try, it’s one of those songs that so inescapably positive you’ll rarely be able to skip it. Throw that bubbly production under R. Kelly’s refined vocal output, and you’ve got a layer of smoothness and warm familiarity to add to that liveliness, rounding the track off rather nicely. It’s difficult to imagine if you’re well-accquainted with the original, but Kels’ vocals legitimately blend in so well here, as he takes over on hook duty and also lends a verse to proceedings; the impact is so effective that admittedly, part of me wanted to hear him take over on vocals for the entire track. That’s pretty greedy though, as this is a superb little refresh of an already-enjoyable track, and one that might just push it toward the kind of mainstream spotlight that this sort of track would thrive underneath. A strong original, a fun video, a likeable dance remix, and now a big name official rework. That, my friends, is how you roll out a single. Hit iTunes for the download.
Talk about label craziness. ABN representative and Grand Hustle-affiliated Trae Tha Truth drops a brand new tape for the hip-hop heads, hosted by Maybach Music Group’s DJ Scream. Any other labels want in here?
Clearly, everyone wants to be associated with Trae. It’s easy to spot why as his very unique delivery makes him instantly stand out from the crowd, and clearly Kendrick Lamar, J. Cole, T.I., Young Jeezy, R. Kelly and many more agree given that they all makes appearances on the tape. Almost every track has a big name attached to it, and here’s to hoping Trae can hold his own and prove he belongs up with those names. Grab the enormous 20-track mixtape for free below.
Centenaries are a rare thing in many walks of life, so I speak for both past and present, writing and non-writing members of the OTU team when I thank you sincerely for your dedication to our online presence. Whilst various weekly serials have come and gone, this has stood strong for 100 weeks, so we genuinely thank you for your support here in R&B Fridays. Having been introduced in our very first week, this also marks our 100th week online, so thanks again for all of your support in getting us this far.
As it’s a milestone episode, it felt like the right decision to award Frank Ocean the honour of representing this occasion. I can hear your outrage: ‘why not a staple of the episodes, like Lloyd or Usher?’. Well, we like to look forward, and frankly (sorry) I feel he’s really going to dominate this series for the next 100 episodes, and deservedly so.
Click below for your regular weekly instalment: two days late, in keeping with tradition! I’ve also got a little extra something to celebrate the occasion coming shortly after this… → Continue Reading
Nearly four minutes of absolute brilliance from R. Kelly here, performing his 2010 single When A Woman Loves, live on the Later with Jools Holland show. R. Kelly is clearly in his zone, as the simple setting and live band give him the opportunity to show off his prowess as a performer, with his powerful and celestial vocals stealing the show. Channeling the spirits of soul singers from the past, R. Kelly evokes nostalgia and goosebumps as he keeps it in our conscious he is a master of his craft.
Another short episode in terms of new tracks, but that’s the price we pay for me being forced (Murray’s been begging me) to deliver this on time. However, I’ve opted to use this ‘free space’ to throw in something a little different: I’ve included a couple of throwback tracks that you may be unfamiliar with, but are certainly worthy of attention. Would love to hear some feedback on them too, as I’d like to incorporate throwbacks more often!
Genuine reason on the delay this week: I wasn’t happy with the amount of good quality material as of yesterday afternoon, but the R&B/pop world has delivered in the last 24 hours or so to make sure that situation has improved.
To me, the early hours of ‘Saturday’ count as Friday, so welcome to the first on-time R&B Friday in a few weeks!
Not a great deal to recap on this week, with the only notables being another official remix to Lloyd’s Lay It Down, and an all-British collaboration from Alesha Dixon and Jay Sean. However, it’s more than made up for with this week’s episode: with almost 20 tracks from the likes of Trey Songz, Pitbull and many more, there’s lots to enjoy and keep you going until next week.
Ajay posted the original remix here a few weeks back, and Lloyd now brings Young Jeezy and R. Kelly onto the joint, and in my opinion they move the track to another level.
R. Kelly really takes to the track comfortably and pretty much makes it his own, which was inevitable based on his recent form. His verse also raised a smile, and from the sounds of it he pretty much laid it down freestyle. Jeezy’s flow is perfect for a joint like this and he’s always going to be a welcome addition, whilst Lloyd’s new verse really helps to freshen the song up.
Yep, the Michael Jackson song. You may or may not know that R. Kelly was the man behind the lyrics, as Kelly penned it back on the back of some personal issues. The rest is history.
Interestingly, Kelly’s released his own version of the track, 15 years later, as a bonus addition to his hugely-anticipated Love Letter album (which you can stream). It’s a fantastic effort that does justice to the original version, though that was unlikely to ever be in question with the vocal power of Kelly. Definitely worth a listen.
Another nice musical piece from Jimmy Fallon’s show, as Kelly and The Roots hook up for web-exclusive performances of Ignition and Step In The Name of Love. Both are enjoyable performances of his early-00 hits, and ably backed as ever by The Legendary Roots Crew.
Also, be sure to click here and view the performance from the actual show, with the song of choice being Number One Hit from his upcoming Love Letter album. It’s another top track from the album, and another very enjoyable performance with some fantastic vocal work.
Really looking forward to hearing this album. The tracks we’ve heard so far have been nothing short of superb, and there’s a growing feeling that Kelly is really back to his best on this album.
Shouts to Jared on the heads-up here, as R. Kelly has made the album available for stream 2 weeks before it’s actual release date. I always find that when artists do that, it’s a pretty strong sign of confidence in the material, and hence would recommend giving this a listen. Click here to listen to the stream, and look out for the album on December 14th.
Whilst the rest of the music world seems to have taken a much-needed breather this week (album releases aside), there’s been no shortage of new and/or unreleased R&B and pop material in the 76th instalment of R&B Fridays.
A more digestable episode this week, which makes a nice change for us all having had a few extended instalments in recent weeks.
Outside of this episode, it’s been a fairly quiet week for R&B, with just the three notables: a video for Rihanna and Drake’s collaboration, new music from UK upcomer Talay Riley, and the latest drop from Trey Songz’s upcoming mixtape.
Click below for the 75th instalment of R&B’s favourite weekly episodical.
Stacked episode this week, with some huge mainstream singles alongside great material from underappreciated artists. Quality wise, it’s one of the strongest R&B Fridays of recent months for sure: one of those where you could easily grab everything on offer.
I’m very proud of this episode. I’m pretty happy with almost every track, and as a result it’s reduced down to around 15 tracks. Very digestable, and hence easy for you to give most of it a shot. Click on and agree with me, all of you. Thanks.
19 tracks from 19 different artists this week tells you that this episode is stacked with variety. Mostly established names too (at least in the R&B Fridays series!), so this is definitely one to be getting involved with.
Plenty of stuff there, and plenty of stuff below. This has to go down as one of the strongest R&B Fridays in recent memory too, there’s nothing I wouldn’t recommend from this week’s batch. Entrance below.
Another one to warm you up for tonight’s imminent R&B Friday, this is also a very good track that I’m sure will be liked by many of you. Produced by Bangladesh (who produced Lil’ Wayne’s A Milli hit), Ludacris provides a show stealing verse.
Right, seeing as today has been pretty slow – I’ll let loose the tracks that didn’t make it in Friday’s jam-packed episode. I won’t bother putting much (any) analysis into these tracks, as most of them aren’t really my thing. By which I mean that a lot these songs are mostly of the slow type of R&B, which I’m sure a lot of you will like…loads. Click on for the goods.
Consistency is the key, and like last week there are 18 tracks for you to check out. Pretty much full of names you should be familiar with by now, giving everything a go this week is made a lot easier in that respect.
Savour these episodes-next week could be my last R&B Friday for a few weeks as I’m going away. What/who will substitute for them you ask? Wait and see. Still one more to go after this one though!
49 episodes in, and the fantastic material still keeps coming. The common theme of recent weeks has been a frightening consistency in the quality, as we’ve seen some superb R&B tracks being let loose in anticipation of the summer. Whereas previous R&B Fridays have been a bit of a struggle to fill/review, the past few weeks have certainly made my (busy) life a lot easier!
This week is no different, and you’ve got some very good stuff to look forward to in your immediate future from the likes of Justin Timberlake, Bruno Mars, Amerie and many more. Not as many lesser-known names as there usually are, instead we’ve got the more established names looking to make their mark. Click on to let them know if they got it right.
Edit: This is my 1000th post on this site, on the eve of my final University exam. Celebrations aplenty!