Jaw Jam has created a bit of a cult following by twisting often-obscure R&B songs into newly refurbished bangers – this time he tackles Mya’s forgotten ‘My Love Is Like… Wo’ from ’03. I was never fan of this song, it always irked me and in many ways represented Mya’s decline into the R&B abyss (Mya kinda is the original Ciara) and although it isn’t saved by this bootleg it is made a whole lot more interesting. Jam applies a rotund amount of bass and an intricate weave of vocal loops, basically reconstructing the entire song to the point of it being almost unrecognisable, which in this case is a good thing all round. Listen up.
Sidenote – it’s pretty interesting that unlike Aaliyah and Brandy etc, Mya’s never been a producers favourite to sample. Fear of Flying is an album that still bumps – have folk forgotten that?
It’s no secret by now that Solange has successfully paved her own lane over the past few years. She’s managed to separate her forename from her surname (which wasn’t easy) mainly due to the fact that unlike many other artists she didn’t force or rush anything, she took her time. And after a successful string of stray tracks and a superb new EP, she’s embarked on a world tour and this week hit London’s XOYO. During the show she surprised fans by inviting Oliver xx (from The xx) on stage to perform a cover of one of R&B’s biggest and most underrated / undercover / forgotten gems. The two ingeniously cover Nicole Wray’s 1998 classic ‘Make It Hot’ and paid it a great honour…
Solange knows what she’s doing. Her recent twitter rant about people needing to know about “deep Brandy album cuts” before “they” (she was mainly aiming at music journalists) begin citing R&B’s past, present and future makes (even more) sense now – lets not forget, this girl was touring with Destiny’s Child during the genres peak – she’s not riding a bandwagon with this sh*t.
Our love affair with this Knowles continues…
P.s Nicole Wray’s debut album = Top 10 R&B albums of the 90′s.
Giving Brandy’s classic Best Friend a serious re-working, Smirkface, hailing from the US brings the tune into a new bubbling realm. Some nice click action coupled with tunnelly chords and synths make this a true gem. Currently the only offering from the young man on the interweb, keep eyes peeled for future releases
‘Wildest Dreams’ is the newest single taken off Brandy’s upcoming Two Eleven comeback album. Unlike her Chris Brown featured lead single this demonstrates a more developed sound, but frustratingly still fails to completely commit to the contemporary edge required to ignite real interest in her forthcoming album. At best ‘Wildest Dreams’ sounds like a moderately confident album track but sadly fails as a single. There just isn’t enough for “new fans” to latch onto here and ultimately that’s Brandy’s biggest hurdle – she doesn’t need to convince her loyal following of her talent, she needs to translate that into something relevant for the generation below her.
As London prepares for pum-pum shorts, string vests and whistles it feels only natural that DJ Q would decide to relieve some tension by releasing his new All I Really Want EP. Having liberated a healthy stream of purist UKG over the past 8 months (starting with ‘Brandy & Coke’, followed by ‘Notice Me’ and most recently a remix of Sia’s ‘Little Man’), he regroups with MC Bones for a new 4-track EP that cheekily fondles our beloved school-day senses… ‘All I Really Want’ sounds like a lost single off Licking on Both Sides, a lie?
Paying tribute to a top-five-greatest-ever (you know this) Garage record is the brandy and coke sip specialist DJ Q. Resurrecting original Moschino vibes in the place, as he remakes the original remix from 1999. The bass isn’t as heavy I’d have liked it personally, the original Exemen version feels like pure rohypnol dancefloor menace when it spills, but we’re trying to find any excuse to post this for ole’ school’s sake and to brighten up your day. Free download below and carnival soon come!
Brandy’s much anticipated comeback video has finally arrived, a whole 4 months after it first debuted. Directed by Hype Williams (the man behind her iconic ‘Sittin’ Up In My Room’ video) and choreographed by the guy responsible for Beyonce’s now famous ‘Single Ladies’ routine, it’s clear Brandy isn’t looking to mess about this time ’round.
Although the song, which also features Chris Brown, is far from her best – it has admittedly grown on me over the past few months. Far less edgier than her previous efforts, but still sassy enough to recognise that it’s Brandy behind it, her motives here are obvious: produce a record that will appease (or rather, not offend) the purists, but attract the mainstream (enter chart topper Breezy).
… At least she didn’t go Europop.
But regardless of anything else, Brandy’s voice still sets her eons apart from her nearest competitors – even on this record (I mean those harmonies are still outrageous). But lets hope her upcoming TwoEleven album features more progressive songs as well and not just radio friendly substitutions. And truthfully speaking, at this stage in her career, that balance is critical. Certainly looking forward to hearing that Frank Ocean penned track.
You know when you hear a record that’s been constructed really delicately without losing any of it’s aggressive flair? It seems to be a magic formula for this Chester producer TJPN, who soundcloud tags ‘No You Won’t’ under ‘floaty’ and ‘bounce’. Not a dozen miles removed from the gift we’ve experienced in the likes of Disclosure, Bondax, Ifaan Dafydd, Koreless amongst others, TJPN (Tom Nicol) has that textural-dancefloor tapestry. Like your last ounce of energy in the after-hours, there’s throbby sub, stabs, whispy cut phrases and when those understated snare clips make their off-beat felt, it’s ripe for love. Check out also his extra-floaty, minimal flip of (who else) Brandy’s ‘I Wanna Be Down’ here.
Last night the annual BET Awards took place in Los Angeles. Unlike previous years in recent memory, the show pulled out all the stops and racked in some mega-star names including Kanye West & Jay-Z, Beyonce, Nicki Minaj, Usher and most amazingly, D’Angelo who performed ‘Untitled (How Does It Feel)’ for the first time in America in over 10 years (he also performed ‘Sugar Daddy’, a new song her debuted during his European tour).
The night was also dedicated to those the industry had lost this past year – including Donna Summer (who was honoured by Chante Moore) and of course, Whitney Houston – who’s tribute was lead by Mariah Carey and performed by mother Cissy Houston, her brother Gary, Brandy & Monica and Chaka Khan.
I can’t lie, her recent collaboration with Chris Brown had me worried. Not to say ‘Put It Down’ is all bad, it isn’t – it just isn’t strong enough for Brandy and where she is right now. Combine this with a lack of promotion, the failure to release a video quick enough and the ever growing competitive market Brandy is facing – and well, sh*t could get real.
That said, Miss Norwood has now revealed that August 28th will be the day her much anticipated TwoEleven album will be released. Contrary to her earlier announcement of a June release. However, to ease the concerns of those like minded to me – lets not forget that she also confirmed that she is working with Frank Ocean, Timbaland and Rodney ‘Darkchild’ Jerkins on the new LP.
Frank Ocean has the capability of writing perfectly suited music for Brandy. He understands contemporary R&B better than most artists around at the moment (see: Beyonce’s ‘Miss You’ or his recent ‘Pyramids’) – I just hope Brandy (moreover, her label/team) choose the best song(s) he can offer. Timbaland has produced a number of brilliant tracks on her previous albums – they have an exciting chemistry. However, it’s Darkchild’s involvement that could potentially be most promising – providing they both go back to what works best for them and ignore current trends. Critically Brandy needs to avoid watered down, produced-just-for-radio songs (see: Brandy & Monica – ‘It All Belongs To Me‘)
As much of a commercial success this album needs to be, at this stage in her career – Brandy also crucially needs the critics on her side. For the first time in a long time Brandy is in a position to re-ignite her career and excite both old and new fans – but it rides on her ability to see and harness the current trends in R&B. For better or worse Usher’s ‘Climax’ did that for him (we’ll ignore the fact (or maybe we shouldn’t?) that he cocked it up with the Euro-Pop trash that followed) - with the right direction and the right songs, Brandy could do the same.