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.