Tuesday, February 15, 2005

R&B roundup

John Legend f/ Kanye West - "Do What I Gotta Do"
I heard this on a mixtape like a year ago, and didn't think about it for a while until I realized that for some reason it isn't on Get Lifted, which is surprising because it's really good. Maybe they couldn't get the Biggie and/or Aretha samples cleared.

Faith Evans - "Again"
Check for that 2nd verse that starts with "in ATL I caught a case". OK, by the end of the verse she gets into some shrill Britney anti-media shit, but still that's some real talk, especially considering that post-Mary J "autobiographical" R&B is usually so vague and anonymous when it gets down to dirty details and naming names (Usher more than anyone benefitted from this and the premise that if you've been through a public breakup/rehab/whatever, any song you release that obliquely hints at it will be interpreted as "opening up"). But Faith really takes it there, it's just too bad the song itself comes up short. Like, literally, it's too short, and just as it's fading out you're ready for the big emotional bridge that breaks it all down and makes you feel it. OK, maybe there's some things Faith can learn from Mary.

Mario - "How Could You"
Baltimore's baby boy fresh off a huge across the board #1 hit, ready to follow it up with the ballad and really become the super Mario brother of this R&B shit. But it's sub-Omarion at best, when he needs to be staying ahead of the pack here. He hits some of those velvety high notes, but I dunno if it'll take him past the 106 & Park countdown again.

Ashanti f/ Cam'ron, Juelz Santana, Ja Rule and Black Child - "Only You" remix
Dipset and the Inc., two dynasties in corporate crisis (one without a label and the other with the label heads getting picked up by the FBI) teaming up on a beat that was too hard to just be singing on anyway. Cam and Juelz up first trading back and forth a few bars at a time, not embarrassing themselves to much (unless you count "eyes look like iPod"), but the Ja/Black Child verse is tight just for the way they chop in words from Shanti's verses on the original ("crazy", "bout the" etc) and rhyme with them.

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