Tag Archives: R&B

R&B King Que

So yesterday morning, I saw a video from Jacquees, claiming he’s, “the King of R&B, right now, for this generation.”, I didn’t think much of it, and went on with my day, by the end of the night however, I logged back into the matrix, to find the shit trending, and everyone discussing who the King of R&B was, with the obvious names such as R. Kelly thrown in, plus the typical people desperate for validation, mentioning whichever names had not been said thus far, with Carl Thomas and Donell Jones amongst them.


See this is exactly why I did not think much of the video when I saw it, because Jacquees, who is prepping for the follow up to his 4275 album, knew everyone would latch at the bait and they damn sure did. It reminded me of the time when T.I. jumped out the gate claiming to be, “King of the South”, and people were outraged, until the South basically confirmed it. If you’ve followed me for a while, you’ll know how highly I rate Que, while the majority may have only been introduced to him through the ‘Trip’ controversy, the young crooner has lead a resurgence of R&B today, amidst the Hip-Hop wave. While he may appear to be reaching, having only released his debut album this year, he’s not entirely wrong.

If he said Prince of R&B, nobody would have disagreed as much, unless you’re one of those people that just loves to argue anything. However, the miscommunication is when he says, “this generation”. (Aside of the controversy), R. Kelly is undoubtedly the King of R&B, many had heralded Trey Songz as the successor, as he stood alone in modern music, as someone that could actually sing. You also have Jeremih, or the phenom Chris Brown, who has the accolades to back it, but because they’ve been around for so long, they could be considered veterans, almost not of this generation, which brings us to the new crop.

In the past five years, Hip-Hop has continued it’s ascension (albeit backed by club anthems), while R&B has glimmered through rap’s melodic phase, with Drake leading charge, and while a case could be made for The Weeknd, he’s also transitioned into that popstar realm, which would see him out of the conversation. so then you have the likes of Ye Ali, TyUs, Brent Faiyaz, Daniel Caesar and Jacquees, while the first couple names are still relatively unknown on a mainstream level, just under Brent Faiyaz, the three have yet to make that commercial leap, where as Canada’s Daniel Caesar has had a great run of late, but has just been praised for his soulful music, beyond the genre, which leaves us with none other than, Jacquees.

I’ll even throw Tory Lanez in the mix, but he would be more so under that Drake umbrella of both Rapping and singing, unless he decides to challenge this and sing his way into contention, which by now, nobody would be surprised, because he is skilled in both sets, but it makes sense to consider sole R&B acts for this.

As much as I would like to cement that statement, especially with the unnecessary outrage, there are at least three other names who have really carried the torch for R&B in recent times, one being Miguel, who has given us consistent R&B with hints of experimentation and strong vocals. Ty Dolla $ign, who has provided soul throughout the charts, from production, songwriting, to even crooning adlibs for some of the biggest records of the year. Last but not least, PartyNextDoor. The latter can really be credited for the recent rise of R&B, from his contribution to Drake’s projects, his choice of samples, to penning the biggest hits for the biggest artists, but even through his own catalogue, it’s been modern day R&B with classic essences.

I’ve felt like PND was the new King of R&B, before I even heard Jacquees, and there is still some debate, with Jacquees being one of the more natural vocalists. If there was ever to be a sing off, Lamborghini Que would be a tough opponent, and with Party somewhat MIA at the moment, it would appear justified for Jacquees to feel like he is the King of R&B, right now, for this generation.

There is also room for the understanding that Jacquees is of a darker complexion to most of the recent ‘stars’, he isn’t the tallest and there are no other tricks or gimmicks (unless you count his statement as one) other than his ability to sing. You also have to consider the recent Soul Train awards, where you had the legendary Jon B and Donell Jones perform, yet Jacquees might have got the better reception for his performance. I enjoyed his album, and look forward to the next, but while he rides high off his recent success, the many talented and respected R&B acts who have struggled to make/maintain the impact he has had of late are unlikely to champion him, and so he most definitely has to deliver as such. Also a lot of the names being mentioned, like Donell Jones (who is on his album), have clearly passed the torch/encouraged him enough to feel this way.


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XX17 Spotify Playlist

With us closer to the end of the year, I’ve curated another playlist, this time a selection of some of the best and underrated Hip-Hop, Grime, Alternative and R&B tracks of the year, thus far. The playlist hosts American, British and French tracks, that varies in tempo and style, featuring the likes of Giggs, PartyNextDoor, Post Malone, Wale, Sampha, Toro Y Moi & many more..

[Click the image]




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Aaliyah (Jan 16, 1979 – Aug 25, 2001)

Today makes it 8 years since the passing away of Aaliyah, despite new artists coming through, her loss is still just as evident, heres to someone who was truely beautiful, someone who will live on forever in our hearts and memories through her music. I remember the day I found out, as if it was yesterday, a little me was awake at night listening to Trevor Nelson’s R&B show, I had heard the ‘rumour’ earlier, but when Trevor Nelson confirmed it, I was shocked, I did not know her personally, yet the soul and emotion she poured into her music, her voice, her presence, you just could not help but to feel like you had some connection, Death is never a good thing, however it is a big part of life, so rather than morn her absence, we celebrate her life and legacy.

RIP Aaliyah, truely One in a Million…

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OneFáris Throwback Track!!

Today’s throwback track is a personal favourite, you know those songs that you just know word for word? this is one of them for me!

BabyfaceThere She Goes featuring Pharrell Williams

Featuring a pre-N*E*R*D Pharrell Williams, There She Goes is taken from the Babyface’s album Face2Face (Released 2001), this track represented the album as it was a more experimental effort from the soul singer, The Neptunes contributed with another track ‘Stressed Out‘ providing the album with it’s overall direction.

It is a rare sound from Babyface which is why it had such an impact, however, some embraced and others were not sure what to say, it was so unexpected, Pharrell at the time was not the Superstar he is today and so it was a brave move, but in the name of music they pulled it off well. Compiled of multiple synths layered onto the signature Neptunes’ beat, the beat really holds the tempo as the assorted sounds help add some variation and really brings the track out. Babyface who had not approached such a track before, really croons over the edgy synth with ease, his voice helps balance Pharrell’s raw falsetto which as a whole helps give the track plenty depth.

There She Goes still sounds as good as it did 8 years ago, as Pharrell (and Chad Hugo) continued to re-define the sound of hip-hop, Babyface reached out to them, the link up with such a highly regarded Grammy winning artist allowed The Neptunes to dominate R&B with their breakthrough sound.

Fáris Rating:

Babyface - Face2Face album cover artwork

Babyface - Face2Face album cover artwork

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Musiq Soulchild – SoBeautiful

One of the most gifted artists of our time, Musiq Soulchild is back with the third single from his fifth album ‘OnMyRadio’, the track ‘SoBeautiful’ reminds me of earlier Musiq material such as ‘Aimewitue’ and ‘You Be Alright’, which were considered classics from his debut album ‘Aijuswanaseing’. SoBeautiful has Soulchild raising the falsetto to let his lady know just how much he feels for her,
“Girl don’t You know your so beautiful
I wanna give all my love to you girl
Not just tonight but the rest of your life
I wanna be always here by your side”
that chorus says it all, it is simple in terms of word play, which lately I feel is the best approach for real meaningful soul songs, they appeal to such a wide range of people, many can relate and the song feels so much more honest in comparison to the generated R&B tracks we hear today. The simplicity of the song is furthermore boosted with the production itself, I use the word simple in regards to the heavy-synths and complicated drum pattern combinations that we’re exposed to with most tracks, SoBeautiful offers easy listening with its melody driven tempo, the piano intro starts it off and then the drum kicks in to emphasise Musiq Soulchild’s voice as he starts,
Your my baby
My lover, my lady
All night you make me
Want you it drives me crazy
I feel like you
Were made just for me babe
Tell me if you
Feel the same way”
the snare added and all in all it fits perfectly as Musiq’s voice carries the song to the chorus where more instruments are introduced, these instruments are introduced again, leading towards to the end the song, where it becomes far more emphatic and really delivers the feeling across to the listener, ‘SoBeautiful’ is one of many classic Neo-Soul tracks to come from Musiq Soulchild who never disappoints his audience and I recommend this song to anyone that likes real music.

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J. Holiday – Run Into My Arms

At one point in time R&B seemed to be suffering, gone were the classic days of BoyzIIMen, R. Kelly appeared to be spending more time in court than in the studio and the likes of acts such as the great Musiq Soulchild were categorized as neo-soul and distanced away from the mainstream. 2008 saw a revival thanks to artists such as The Dream and mainly I would say Ne-Yo(nobody has been so influential in modern R&B since R. Kelly, well..until that incident with his weak bladder and the underage girl). Now following this revival of R&B and the success of his debut is J. Holiday, with his new album ‘Round 2’. In particular, one track which has stood out for me is ‘Run Into My Arms‘, the production, the lyrics, the arrangement, it all fits as one of those classic old school feeling love songs.

I just think that the song possesses the no frills treatment that most songs today lack, there is no guest feature to promote sales, it is carefully created and where i feel that the song could be even better, i also believe that it stands out by far among many of today’s R&B hits.

Lyrically the song is so basic yet honest, no really clever wordplay is needed to express the feeling, a plus point even as it portrays the message far easier and clearer this way.

To me this is like his previous hit ‘Suffocate’, it has that honest and realistic feel to it, many can relate and understand the concept itself. Production wise it is not as finely executed but i feel that it gives it a more raw and soulful element, it adds to the feeling the song offers.

I’m looking forward to hearing the rest of the album and will no doubt review another track by him soon, until then..enjoy!!

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Johnta Austin – If I Was (Your Boyfriend)

I’m a big fan of Johnta Austin, so I was glad to hear this:

In today’s over saturated industry it is always good to hear something fresh or something classic, Johnta delivers both with this one. A singer and songwriter, Johnta Austin is more famed for his songwriting capabilities (having penned the hit Sweet Lady for Tyrese as well as more recently writing two Grammy award winning tracks in the form of Mariah Carey’s We Belong Together and Be Without You for Mary J. Blige).

‘If I Was (Your Boyfriend)’ has the feel of a classic R&B single (think more Jagged Edge, makes sense as he works closely with Jermaine Dupri). The song has Johnta letting the girl know that she is with the wrong guy (like Trey Songz – Can’t Help But Wait..which funnily enough was written by Johnta Austin), but not just the wrong guy, more so that she doesn’t know what love is unless she got with him (Johnta).

It’s not confirmed if this will become an official single for not, or even if he will keep it for himself, either way it is a nice track and shows the consistency that he delivers which is why Johnta Austin is so sought after in the R&B world.

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