Archive for the ‘-R&B’ Category

Good morning? Best morning.


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When your child asks you where babies come from, you can simply direct them to this song.

But definitely not to that soundcloud picture…

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Daneil Caesar – a member of Toronto music group/record label, VLI./IXXI – released this cover of James Blake’s “Wilhelm Scream”,  back in 2013.  Although doing a cover of a James Blake track is no small task, Caeser executes it beautifully in this acoustic and effect free rendition.  The definition of relaxing, give “Scream” a listen and you’ll fall asleep where you stand.  Enjoy.

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SPZRKT has made an impression on us at Beatspill, so I’m sorry to write up another post about the artist, as I really don’t want to beat this tape to death.  Alas, I feel like I must.

“The Feel II”, featuring a guest verse by John Givez and production by Maj0r, is another gem on his last project, Lucid Dream, that one just can’t afford to overlook.  The beat has a groove and sense of funk reminiscent of old school rap, and the artists don’t disappoint.  SPZRKT’s smooth hook will spark your interest, and John Givez makes sure he never gives it back.  From start to finish, “The Feel II” is a rhythmic track great for sunny days and chillin with the homies.  Enjoy.

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A few months ago, I posted about some up-and-coming artist from San Antonio, SPZRKT.  While clearly influenced by the likes of The Weeknd and Frank Ocean, SPZRKT has his own, unique sound, and as I hear more of his music, he seems determined to only further differentiate himself.  “Middle of Things, Beautiful Wife”, is a beautiful track that reminds me of Ocean’s “Lost” but with some more edge.  Produced by dope beat-maker, Sango and remixed by Stwo, the beat is incredibly dynamic and driven.  This track is unreal, as it combines a talented voice with an already beautiful beat, and remixes it all into one masterpiece.  Enjoy.

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This song is perfectly perfect. After umpteen listens, I cannot find a single thing wrong with it. Everything is on point.

I’ve been digging into Erykah Badu‘s discography since returning for Winter Break and I can’t stop listening. I’m obsessed to the extent that it’s hard to listen to anything else without itching to return to the smooth, absorbing music that describes Badu’s essence. She has such a grasping voice and a vibe you can’t refuse. With J Dilla producing a beat for her, nothing could be better. Dilla takes a more modest, less experimental, jazzy approach when working with Badu. I’ve come to appreciate more and more Dilla’s ability and willingness to adapt to the style of music the artist he is working with employs.

Erykah Badu delivers some incredibly interesting inside information about what it was like to create with Jay Dee. If you’re a Dilla fan this monologue, as she talks about “Didn’t Cha Know“, will be fairly fascinating:

I went to Detroit to work with this cat that I heard a few tracks from that drove me crazy. Common took me over there, we went down to the basement, Common left and Dilla and I sat and talked. He had records wall to wall like it was a public library and he goes, “OK, I want you to look for a record.” I’m looking through these organized, tightly packed crates, and I just pulled out one record and the artist was Tarika Blue. I liked that name. I put on the first track [“Dreamflower”] and I fell in love with the song and I kept playing it over and over again and I said, “I want this.” He showed me how to loop a small part of the bassline, he was very generous in teaching you and letting you be hands on. Then I left the room and when I came back he had looped some drums to a small sample of the song and I started to write to it. I came up with the Ooooh, heeeey melody. I wrote for a few days and then the song came to be. I’d hike down to his house in mittens and a scarf. I just kind of stayed down there and worked until we got the things the way that I liked.

My songs sound different from everyone else’s Dilla songs. The sound is a little bit more bass heavy and the frequencies are definitely different than most of the songs he does, because it’s his world. But when he allowed me to come into his world, it became another kind of world. I think he allowed everybody that kind of space and that kind of freedom because he was so super creative that he would go onto something else while we learned the first part. He was ultraviolet, cosmic, dark. He went to aeronautics school so of course he was a mad scientist mathematician. I don’t know, you can’t really dissect what he was.”

You can read more Dilla stories at The Fader

If this track is particularly familiar to you but not because you know this song, it is likely because J. Cole heavily sampled it in his song “Too Deep For The Intro” from his mixtape Friday Night LightsUntil I made the fairly obvious connection between the two, I had never considered what a J. Cole – J Dilla collaboration would sound like, but “Too Deep For The Intro” is a great song and that is with Cole using one of Dilla’s chiller beats. J. Cole can handle much more upbeat vibes. I’d imagine they could come up with a creative duo name like Cilla Js, or something, too.

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I wrote about Johnny Rain back in February, and have been waiting eagerly for another release ever since.  As just another example of how R&B has been subject to a renaissance in the past few years, Johnny Rain’s passion, heartbreak, and unfiltered thoughts portray him as the new lost romantic.  What amazes me about Rain, is the fact that he has a voice like Frank Ocean, a fascinating and deep perspective like The Weeknd, but he also produces his own beats.  The fact that he produces his own beats is absurd, as he could easily make a name for himself solely by production, let alone singing.

Download his entire album on Soundcloud, it’s dope stuff

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This is the smoothest song I’ve heard in the longest while. The loudest of shouts goes to Mister Cee, who’s Hot 97 Dilla Mix empowered me though one golden hour of my workday. The highlight, by and far, of the songs featured that I had not been familiar with, is “Got ‘Til It’s Gone”. This is a four way intersection of artists contributing to what I feel to be a shining example of American artistic collaboration. Joni Mitchell granted permission to Janet Jackson after requesting the use of her renowned song, “Big Yellow Taxi”, which was then sampled by GPOAT J Dilla and laid down in true Ummah neo-soul fashion.  Janet then shared the instrumental real estate with fellow vocalist of a different breed, Q-Tip. The recipe looks good on paper, but if you are simply reading this without listening for context, I envy you for the opportunity to listen to this song for the first time, and urge you to listen.

I will note, for further reading, that there was some controversy regarding credit given. I’m not really about the negativity so I’ll nutshell this to protect the vibe, if you can dig that. Essentially, the Ummah went uncredited initially until speaking up about the matter. The result was J Dilla’s “Revenge Remix”, which was his way of turning water into wine.

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So yesterday started off solemnly. Paul Peirce has officially left the Celtics. The end of an era. My favorite athlete since I was five years old. However, I find that grim times offer an opportunity to truly highlight the good things in life, many of which I have, one of which is Backdraft‘s continuation of his The Lost Soulquarian project. I had been thinking recently that my Erykah Badu collection is certainly lacking. Next thing I know I find a best of both worlds occasion lying at my feet. Backdraft remixes her first ever single “On & On” from her debut Baduizm album, which won a Grammy in ’98. If you’ve been enjoying The Lost Soulquarian project so far, Backdraft offer good news:

“I decided to make this project an “Open-Ended Project,” meaning the tracks you see now will be available and as the future tracks come, they will be added to the collection. I feel it’s fitting, because as someone influenced by these artists/producers I can’t hold a candle to them musically so leaving it as an ongoing project shows there’s always room for advancement on my part.”

See his previous installments here

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You might recognize this as “Track 18” from J Dilla‘s beat tape numero uno. Steve Spacek, a man from London, Earth, wished to work with Dilla and this is the beat that he desired. I don’t blame him. He went over the Jay Dee beat in 2005 for his album Spaceshift. I draw upon a facinating piece from the Stones Throw site for the following Spacek quote:

“I was recording my solo project in Hollywood, just around the corner from where Dee and Common lived. We met up at his place, rolled a blunt end got straight down to it. It was quite surreal, actually. Myself, [manager] Mr French and Leon Were were rolling together that afternoon. I had met Jay briefly a few times before in London, but had never really hung out in a chilled environment. So I say to him, “Jay man, just bless me with something for my album.” And he’s like, “Yo, Spacek, I don’t know if I have anything ready for you now,” picking up the remote control for his DAT machine. So he’s flicking through this tape, then he stops, pulls out the DAT and exchanges it for another and resumes flicking through. Not even a couple of minutes have passed when he lands on the Billy Paul thing, looks up at me and just lets it roll. As soon as I hear it, what with the “yeh-yeh-yeh” vocal going through, I knew that it was the one. We hung out for a little longer, smoked a bit more, then I heeded back to French’s gaff to start writing. A few verses and a hook later, along with a couple of chops/edits on the two track, and “Dollar” was done. That afternoon was the last I saw of Jay.”

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