The-Dream-IV Play (Full Album Stream)

The releases to date have been slightly hit and miss, but they seem to have found a pretty solid mainstream audience, which should stand The-Dream in good stead ahead of this LP’s release in a week’s time on 28th May.

In a rather confident move, he’s allowed the full project to be streamed today, which should help many fans make their purchase decisions ahead of time. The on-again-off-again Beyonce feature has seemingly made the cut, so apparently those sample issues were overcome; good news for many listeners I’m sure, and it’ll be interesting listening to have what should be a complementary set of vocals working alongside one another. I’m a big champion of Dream’s back catalogue (particularly his outstanding debut album), and despite my mixed opinions on the pre-releases singles, I hold hope that this will be another strong addition to his collection. Stream at his Vevo home below.

The-Dream-IV Play (Full Album Stream)

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The-Dream-High Art ft. Jay-Z

high art
Whilst the Beyonce feature originally slated for this album has been dropped due to sample clearance issues, Mr. Carter’s appearance remains intact and is delivered as the latest offering from The-Dream’s IV Play album, set to arrive on 28th May.

Thus far, none of his pre-album releases have provided much to be excited about, and thankfully this effort is a cut above what he’s offered so far. The production has a hip-hop feel to it, combining strong slow-paced percussion with melodies from across the board, and whether its the Asian-influenced elements or the Future adlib samples (I think?), there’s a lot of dynamism and activity on that top layer. It creates much more depth and quality in comparison to the previous releases and suits both artists well, with Dream alternating between a rap delivery and regular singing for the verse and hook respectively, and whilst Jay’s verse isn’t exactly a classic, it’s a fun contribution on a production that suits his cadence extremely well. Better signs from The-Dream ahead of that impending release date.

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The-Dream-Slow It Down ft. Fabolous (Video)

I referred to this single as ‘solid’ in a previous post, and truthfully that stance hasn’t changed. The-Dream’s a great artist, there’s no doubt about that, but thus far his releases from the upcoming IV Play album haven’t inspired confidence. Apparently, I’m not alone either, with the LP’s release being pushed back to 28th May.

In a currently desolate R&B scene, there’s admittedly room for average songs to be heralded as far greater than they are, but even then this track just doesn’t move out of mediocrity. With that said, Dream’s lead singles have rarely been highlights of his albums, so I’ll let this slide (and buy the album anyway), and at least the video is a good watch. Brighter and both more colourful and positive than previous releases, some might find it doesn’t quite suit the slow jam style of the audio, but it’s a fresh and modern take on that track type which helps bring out the more upbeat elements in both the vocals and production. It’s an easy watch and certainly a contender for mainstream favouritism though, and it’s difficult to want much more than that from a lead single.

Plus, the album is rumoured to feature Jay-Z, Beyonce, Big Sean and more, so there’s clearly better to come…

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The-Dream and Mick Boogie-Parental Advisory Mix

the dream
With that IV Play album around the corner, The-Dream hooks up with one of the veterans of the mixtape game in Mick Boogie for a career retrospective, of sorts.

It’s a 50-minute, 14-track mix with arguably some of the best tracks from The-Dream’s previously-released albums, and there are unquestionably some gems on here for those uninitiated with his material. If you’re someone in that group, you’re not quite the R&B fan you think you are, and hence you need to rectify that immediately-enjoy the mixtape stream below, and get accquainted with some of the highlights from The-Dream’s superb back catalogue.

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the dream
Following up his solid, Fabolous-assisted lead single from the upcoming IV Play album, Dream switches track and goes for something more hip-hop oriented for the next release.

Whilst he asserts that ‘I am R&B‘ throughout the chorus, it’s rather ironic that this isn’t anywhere near an R&B style. It’s also a little disappointing that yet another vocalist has thrown aside his lavish gifts as a singer to lay down some raps, and whilst he has some great moments in this (particularly the rapid fire flow around halfway through), it’s hard to avoid feeling like its yet another R&B singer trying to rap. The beat selection is a good one, with thumping percussion and intense synths combining for a speaker rattling beat, and whilst the deep distortion on his voice isn’t hugely original, at least it makes a clear and important division between his rapped work and his singing work. It’s certainly a likeable track if you take it independently of circumstance, but knowing what he’s good at, you’ll be left wanting more. The album lands on 7th May.

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The-Dream-Used To Be (Video)

More new visuals from The-Dream, and with the 1977 re-release set to land next Tuesday, it’s nicely timed to keep that buzz high.

A recurring theme on the original release was the incredibly personal nature of the lyricism. It was the reason he chose to release it under his real name, Terius Nash, and moved away from the more generic (though still very likeable) lyricism of his LPs as The-Dream. This is a great example of the intimacy of the writing, with the raw and often critical lyrics coming across as a biography or character assasination of sorts, though I’m sure there are plenty of relatables in here for those who’ve dealt with a questionable partner. Dream’s delivery is excellently suited to the writing too, as he ditches his harmonies for a near-spoken word style that adds a bluntness to his work, whilst Casha’s inclusion on this new version contrasts with that nicely and gives balance to the lyrical perspective.

The video’s nothing special but offers both artists the chance to add further emotion to the track, with Dream’s fed-up mannerisms representing the song well, whilst Casha gets some mainstream screentime and delivers comfortably. Look out for 1977 next week.

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The-Dream-Wake Me When It’s Over (Video)

Not only was this one of the strongest tracks on the 1977 free album (due for a CD re-release on 18th December), but its easily one of the best in his entire back catalogue. No mean feat given his impressive history, but those unfamiliar with this will require only one listen to be in agreement.

The cold, atmospheric production combines brilliantly with the regret-tinged vocal work and brutally honest lyricism (it’s hard to ignore that this is probably about Christina Milian), and the end product is an introspective, regretful R&B track of the highest order.

One thing that’s possibly let Dream down is his lack of strong visual accompaniment to his better music, and this should go some way to putting that right. His expressions throughout are downbeat and morose, ensuring his delivery of the lyrics remains true to their meaning, whilst the slow pacing and dimly-lit scenes enhance the reflective nature of the song and add a dark mood to the entire package. As a result, the increased speed of clip transitions towards the end really heightens the impact of the scenes’ content, and adds an intensity to what is a rather unexpected twist to close the video. An audiovisual that’s up there with anything in the R&B game over the last few years, be sure to grab Dream’s re-release on the 18th.

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The-Dream-Tender Tendencies

Another of the extra tracks set for the 18th December re-release of 1977, and one more you can expect to give a couple of plays in your R&B playlists, even if its not massively packed with longevity.

There are very few R&B artists who manage to both harmonise and tell a story effectively these days, with most either capable of great vocal performances with little depth, or overkilling the lyrical complexity at the cost of good vocals. The-Dream’s been doing that, and arguably overlooked for doing so, for quite some time now. This is another good example of that, with his style of delivery moving between singing and near-spoken word to fit the gravity of certain lyrical sections, with the songwriting being good enough to keep your attention throughout better than most tracks of this ilk would. Whilst the production’s minimal nature does fit the title and emotion of the song well, it doesn’t quite progress into the climax you’d expect it to and hence ends up falling a little flat, meaning the song’s content becomes a little too monotonous to ensure any consistent replays of the track. It’s a shame as vocally and lyrically it’s enjoyable, but that beat just falls short.

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Having released the excellent 1977 album for free last year, The-Dream is capitalising on the critical success of that with a re-release on CD, set to feature some brand new additional tracks. This lead single is one of those new pieces, and sets things off superbly.

The lyrics are angsty yet boastful, with Dream coming across as an interesting mix of jilted and arrogant in what’s a nice bit of songwriting, whilst his vocal delivery sits in that flexible grey area between rapping and singing. The production which is layered excellently to create the illusion that it’s constantly changing and moving. The sharp yet winding nature of the synths are responsible for a lot of that dynamism, and there are elements which only appear for short bursts, whilst in contrast the percussion is mostly stable and consistent throughout.

Catching the recurring theme? There’s a fantastic attention to detail in Dream’s hybrid workings, and despite all of the diverse elements, the end product is strictly R&B with a coherent structure. Masterful once again, and whilst the song probably won’t have a huge chart impact, it’s a great reminder of The-Dream’s all-round ability.

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Fabolous-Dope Bitch Remix

Fabolous is legendary for his destruction of R&B productions, whether its on features or on the radio singles he’s put out previously, and he’s back doing what he knows best here with a remix of The-Dream’s excellent new single.

Fab strips out almost all of the vocal content for this rework, leaving in Dream’s hook and outro to support his verses. Loso delivers with the replacement work though, bringing his ever-confident, ever-clever raps to the table and throwing out plenty of witty punchlines thrown into a steady, solid flow that rides on the production well. A decent remix that makes for a nice complement and alternative to the original.

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The-Dream-Dope Bitch ft. Pusha T Video

Dream and Pusha seem to have struck up a very effective working relationship, having released Exodus 23:1 and this effort in quick succession back in May. The response to this single from the R&B heads was good, and rightfully Dream’s picked it as his latest single from The Love IV: Diary of a Madman.

It’s an album that’s been in the works for quite some time now, and in truth this was the sort of single it needed. The track is a great blend of upbeat and smoothed-out, hitting that difficult middle ground that Dream seems to find so easily, and the overarching vibe of the song is one that emits plenty of cool. The vocals are as catchy and singalong as ever, praising Dream’s lady of choice, whilst Pusha’s verse is an excellent contribution with plenty of verve, and certainly enhances the track. The video is all kinds of illegal, with plenty of focus on drugs, guns and what I assume to be ill-gotten money, though the clip’s packed in a minimalistic styling that gives it a real slickness.

To my knowledge, this track isn’t available at the usual outlets yet but expect it to hit iTunes at some point soon.

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Sh*t You Forgot About: Episode 3

After a forced hiatus due to various other commitments, we can finally resume the latest weekly series from the OTU brain trust. I must admit, this is fast becoming my personal favourite series in OTU history, purely because it allows both yourselves and I to rediscover tracks that we either once loved or once forgot about, and that’s frankly a lot of fun.

Enough of the self-appreciation.

Click on below for another diversity-laden edition of SYFA, featuring a trio of prominent current mainstream names, alongside a couple of acts that have slipped away somewhat.

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R&B Fridays: Episode 139

A very slow week for R&B/pop music this week (those new Chris Brown/Rihanna collaborations don’t count as music), and as a result it’s a pretty short, and stream-heavy, episode this week.

I’ve made this statement before, but R&B really is in a bad spot at the minute, with a serious lack of both quantity and quality as many of its stars are either inactive or pursuing pop careers. It’s a sad state of affairs, but I retain hope that the likes of The-Dream will be back soon to restore the natural order.

Click below for this week’s relatively diverse edition.
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R&B Fridays: Episode 133

The renaming of this to R&B Sundays is probably long overdue now, eh?

2 posts from 2 upcoming vocalists to recap on from the week gone by, with an enjoyable cover of Frank Ocean’s American Wedding by Yasmin and visuals for Jesse Boykins III’s smoothed-out Zoner.

Without further ado, head below and grab this week’s collection of mainstream goodies.
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The-Dream and Big Sean-Ghetto

It’s still absolutely beyond me how The-Dream is still so horribly overlooked in the R&B genre, but as long as the good music keeps coming, us fans will more than cope. I recall reading he’s ‘retired’ the name The-Dream and will be going by Terius Nash now: confirmation required, but an unnecessary move in my opinion.

One of the more upbeat, club-oriented from his enjoyable 1977 (free) album, Dream displays his versatility by grabbing a relatively atmospheric, slowed-down production and injecting it with an intensity and energy courtesy of catchy vocals, flashes of scathing, personal lyricism and a strong guest spot from Sean, who seems to be racking up these great R&B feature verses. Watch your spot Fabolous.

The video is uncomplicated and fits the song well, fitting teasing scenes with the ladies alongside generic club visuals for a decent representation of all facets of the track. Grab the song on the free album here.

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The-Dream-Long Gone Video

A genuinely fantastic track, and one that’s rarely left my rotation since its release on the free 1977 album.

The sharp guitar plucks make for a superb backdrop, blending together a summery, Latin American feel with a rough edge that creates depth and a slight darkness. Combine that with raw, hard-hitting lyricism from one of R&B’s best songwriters, a clear and effective structure and very catchy vocals, and you’ve got a superbly rounded track that stands out as one of the R&B highlights of recent months.

The video is a great watch, opting for a more character focused video that showcases a noticeably slimmer Dream’s natural charisma with a dedicated and confident performance, whilst the slow unravelling of the leading lady makes for a subtle and likeable change of pace against the more obvious, brash videos usually associated with the genre. Definitely worth a watch, and the audio should be grabbed here (along with the rest of the free album).

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The-Dream-1977 (Free Album)

One of the better (and yet, still criminally overlooked) R&B artists left in the genre, The-Dream drops off a free album for his many fans. If the previous release, Wake Me When It’s Over, is anything to go for, we’re certainly in for a very high standard on this 11-track project.

Surprised to see a few big name features on this one, with Big Sean and Pharrell offering their services on two tracks, whilst Dream also looks to break an artist (with the rather unimaginative name of Cash) with another feature. Not one to miss for the R&B fans, click below to grab the free album from The-Dream’s website. He seems to suspect his label will stop him from distributing this for much longer, so grab it while you can!


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The-Dream-Wake Me When It's Over

Taken from his upcoming free album 1977 (set for release tomorrow), The-Dream warms the fans up with this taster of what’s to come on that project, and the early signs are very good.

With a sound that would have slotted in beautifully on both his superb debut and fantastic third album (let’s be truthful, the second was a disappointment), Wake Me has an atmospheric, drifty production that works wonderfully with Dream’s whispery, ambient vocals for a relaxing yet intense slice of slow R&B. The lyricism is very enjoyable too, with Dream’s more recent penchant for a brutal honesty in his lyrical content being a positive point yet again, whilst its synergy with both his delivery and the production creates a holistic quality that results in an engaging and addictive slice of music. Look out for the 1977 project on here tomorrow.

The-Dream-Wake Me When It’s Over

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The-Dream-Murderer Video

Inspired by the motion picture Colombiana, The-Dream drops off a track expected to be on his upcoming free album/EP/mixtape, 1977. The track is a little heavy on the autotune, but is otherwise enjoyable, with the light yet sharp guitar melodies in particular giving the track a real summery, continental flavour.

The video is made up of clips from the aforementioned film, and acts almost as an extended trailer with the not unattractive Zoe Saldana taking on a complex character that makes for quite interesting viewing, and certainly suggests the film could be a solid watch with a nice blend of espionage, emotion and ‘aesthetically-pleasing’ scenes. It meshes with the audio very well, with the production in particular being versatile enough to suit the diverse scene choices.

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R&B Fridays: Episode 109

He’s not in the episode, but I saw this picture and just had to use it. R. Kelly looks so content there doesn’t he?  You just know he’s not wearing any trousers either.

No recap or unnecessary additional bluster up here today. We’ve got a slightly longer episode this week thanks to a range of solid content, with a decent mix of acts stepping up to the plate.

Click below to have some R&B/pop delivered directly to your home or place of business.
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R&B Fridays: Episode 104

The last 48 hours are a bit of a rapid blur, so to me it’s still Friday. Very solid new material this week, with some of the bigger names in the R&B, pop and even hip-hop world making appearances.

Only the three relevant posts to recap on, with the announcement of the Future Hits Live tour, solid new music from Drake, and a brand new EP from the talented Rocki Evans which is probably going to be worth a listen.

Click, read, download, enjoy.
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R&B Fridays: Episode 103

Better late than never eh? There are genuine reasons, but forget all of that rubbish: it’s here now, and that’s what counts.

No recap this week, so there’ll be none of your time wasted up here, and instead you can get to clicking below and grabbing new music from Akon, Lloyd and more.

To quote the mighty Brick Tamland, ‘OK, let’s go!’.

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R&B Fridays: Episode 102

On we roll with the institution of institutions, and it’s probably fair to say that the highlight of this week’s R&B has already been posted: having finally got around to listening to The Weeknd’s debut project I was incredibly impressed by it, and would wholeheartedly recommend you R&B Friday fans checked it out.

In addition to that, the past week saw visuals for the latest T-Pain and Chris Brown collab, Frank Ocean dropped off some enjoyable visuals for one of his lesser-known tracks, and finally a big collaboration between Lloyd, Trey Songz and Young Jeezy.

Click below to grab what else we’ve got in store this week.
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R&B Fridays: Episode 101

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.

Short recap from the last week: Raheem DeVaughn follows up his enjoyable Jackin’ 4 Beats mixtape with a sequel, Beyonce returned with her latest high-octane video, and a (highly-praised) remix of Mike Posner’s Falling.
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R&B Fridays: Episode 88

A few interesting remixes this week, with over a third of this week’s tracks being of the remix variety. Other great tracks in there too, making this an R&B Friday that you’ll forgive for being a little late to the party.

Unlike recent weeks, there’s a pretty big recap on this week’s notable R&B/pop events: Yasmin previewed her new single, Tank came through with a new video, Timbaland’s #TimboThursdays rolled on, Trey Songz released the Love Faces video,  Miguel and Gilbere Forte combined for a fantastic effort, Diddy’s Dirty Money trio released an official mixtape, last week’s notable Grammy performances, Bruno Mars’ Grenade getting the Lil’ Wayne remix, and finally Erin Christine’s fantastic performance of Naked. All worth checking out, and more worth your time after the click below.

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Jay Electronica, Charlotte Gainsbourg and Jay-Z-Shiny Suit Theory

After announcing Jay Electronica’s deal with Jay-Z Roc Nation label, it was revealed that this track would be their first collaboration and it hasn’t taken long to surface, with Electronica releasing it moments ago on Twitter.

The production has that off-beat, alternative style Elect seems to favour, whilst the raps come with the memorable wordplay that has become synonymous with the Jay Electronica name. Arguably, it’s not one of his strongest verses, but that may be a harsh judgement with such great expectations and from only one listen. Jay-Z’s verse is really enjoyable, continuing his recent vein of form with an attention-grabbing delivery that is garnished with the customary Jay boasting. Gainsbourg is sampled towards the end, though I’m not sure why The-Dream is credited. Maybe slightly underwhelming overall, but we’ll see after a few listens. Interestingly, the album field has the much-anticipated (or excessively delayed) Act 2-Patents of Nobility title: when’s it coming Jay?

Jay Electronica-Shiny Suit Theory ft. Jay-Z, Charlotte Gainsbourg & The-Dream

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R&B Fridays: Episode 67

Lots of things I could pick out in this week’s episode, but probably the most prominent would be the features: there are lots of them! A couple of unexpected ones too, including Asher Roth’s first appearance in R&B Fridays.

Warm yourself up for this episode with some help from Bruno Mars and Nicki Minaj: watch Bruno Mars perform some classics, listen to Bruno collab with Damian Marley, and enjoy a cover version of Just The Way You Are. Then, grab a great Nicki-featured collabo, listen to her next single from Pink Friday,  and finally catch her blended with La Roux and Colin Munroe.

Head below for this week’s instalment of the internet’s favourite R&B series.
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Snoop Dogg and The-Dream-Luv Drunk Video

Another video that’s taken quite a while to come out, given that the track was dropped over 9 months ago.

Whilst you could have had a baby in that period, I’m sure you refrained solely because you want to wait for this video. Or (hopefully) not. The track was decent though, so it’s probably worth at least 1 watch.

Audio is here chumps.

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R&B Fridays: Episode 61

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.

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