Our favorite S-Curl Box Model, turned Singer, Bobby Valentino is back with his 3rd release, "The Rebirth," his first release since parting ways with Ludacris & Disturbing the Peace.
I usually enjoy the fresh swaggerlistic country boy, but this time I am sitting on the sidelines looking for something more interesting to do with my time, instead of listening to him sing about some girl that he stepped out on, now he's trying to fix it. So typical. It's 2009 do something different. But not to say that the material is complete trash, but this CD would be perfect material if my 7 year old sister were 16. I don't know where Bobby was going with this CD but, the mature sound that is always apparent on his albums has been replaced with the 106 & Park jam "Beep," which I like - if I were into clubs and dancing and all of that.
I enjoyed his first two cd's while they provided well written, timeless hits that can be played 20 years from now. Although he worked with some of the same producers as his previous CD's, something was obviously missing. What really annoyed me, is he had the nerve to re-do the Tony, Toni, Tone classic, "Just Me & You" and butchered it all up. I enjoyed his rendition of "Soon As I get Home," the Babyface classic on his previous effort "Special Occasion."
Bobby stayed consistent, not touching his formula that makes him the artist that he is - but I think is definitely time to change it up a little bit just so his records won't sound the same. Unfortunately this CD will be overlooked and hopefully not reduced to it's single, "Beep."
Mother earth child, India.Arie is back with her latest effort, "Testimony: Vol 2. Love & Politics" upon first listen, I almost felt like I was listening to a soundtrack produced by Akon for the Herbal Essence commercials. I just felt like I wanted to strip down and run through a field of fresh sunflowers, while flowing with the brisk winter wind.
Honestly, you have to be into India.Arie to fully appreciate what she brings. Apparently I misinterpreted this memo, because I am not getting it. She is another artist who needs to tweak her formula, because she has gone to one too many countries and somehow lost her dirty backpack that made her the cool earthy E. Badu alternative when she got too weird.
India, is the modern day Tracy Chapman with a soft fem twist. While her music has always been a rhythmic blend of acoustic, folk, jazz & R&B, the heavy R&B soul influence is missing - while leaning towards a more "alternative" R&B sound, more guitars but the influence of Stevie Wonder is heavy and still very apparent.
The CD, solid, not really to my liking, I think i was more fascinated with the odd duets/pairings that are on the CD (aside from music) Primarily, Terrell Carter who contributes background vocals & ad-libs (yawn) to my favorite track on the disk, "Yellow" a light refreshing fuse of jazz, funk and that adult contemporary sound that I need in my life right now.
This is a CD that I'll probably revisit in a few months - just to see what it sounds like. If you're a fan get it, if not - Voyage to India will hold you over until the next coming.
Standout Tracks: Pearls, Psalms 23, Yellow & River Rise
The winner of this week's R&B release is without a doubt, hands down, my new favorite person, Ryan Leslie. (who reminds me of Clay Cane) Ryan is a multi-faceted, uberly talented producer, Harvard University protege Alumni, EuroStar, Credit Guru and Fashion Icon in motion. His debut self-titled CD is an instant R&B Classic. This dude is not to be fucked with.
In the year 2009, it is unheard of that any artist, produces, writes and arranges an entire album - we haven't since this since the days of do I dare say...Prince, in which his influence is present. Ryan immediately reminded me of Van Hunt musically, who is another genius in his own right - but the R&B edge that Ryan brings is refreshing, right on time and down right sickening.
Last year his banger of single "Diamond Girl" in which I appreciate Bet-J for playing the hell out of, didn't make much of an impact (only because people sleep on real music) - but if you're a music head and were paying attention, it didn't slip through the radar. For years Ryan has produced several tracks for Beyonce, New Edition, JoJo & Danity Kane - and has remained low on the radar, which I think adds to his eclectic personality and extraordinary producing abilities.
His style crosses the lines of underground hip-hop, R&B, R0ck & Funk with a bass line that always seem to standout among anything else. What makes his music so relaxing, catchy and amazing his the fact that he mixes old and new. He takes advantage of the new age technological advances of music while having a strong foundation in real, live instruments that most artists fail to incorporate in their repertoire.
Lyrically Ryan is speaking to what people are feeling, musically he is giving us a relief of the T-Pain Effect, out of control mediocrily talented stars who soak up attention harder than a lush on a midnight bar binge and worst of all, the manufactured stars who have the unmitigated gall to call what they do talent. I haven't had a relief like this since Lalah's "Self Portrait" cd was released last year.
This was a complete feel good CD from start to finish. Although, I am not feeling the current single, "Addiction."
Ryan Leslie, is definitely a CD to be purchased. He is an artist to be watched, for he is apart of the new change that is going on in R&B. Music is returning back to that point where it actually had a feeling...a good feeling. Remember the 90's?
Someone please slip Ryan's A&R rep a note and tell them to release I-R-I-N-A or Out Of The Blue as the next single (Valentine for the summer...). Shouldn't have to wait is a solid choice, but in order for people to catch the Ryan Leslie vapors it needs to be one of the two.
Standout Tracks: I-R-I-N-A, Out of The Blue, Valentine, Gibberish, Shouldn't Have To Wait.
This is the Best CD of 09' so far...if you need more proof, check out the videos: