REVIEWS

Album Review: Ne-Yo – ‘Non-Fiction’

Ne-Yo Non-Fiction Album

Ne-Yo has long been lauded as one of the industry’s most successful songwriters. Penning female-centric anthems for the likes of Beyoncé (“Irreplaceable”) and Rihanna (“Take A Bow”) the 32-year-old has illustrated his knack for understanding the point of view of the woman. As a solo artist with hit records of his own, the singer has often used the woman as his lyrical muse, whether mourning how she broke his heart (“So Sick”) or celebrating her independence (“Miss Independent”).

With his sixth studio album, Non-Fiction, Ne-Yo continues this musical trend, touring through the highs and lows of being a man with a healthy appetite for chicks. Characterizing the project as a true story inspired by real people and just so happens to be “complete fiction,” Ne-Yo explores the woman, love and sex through various vantage points.

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ThisisRnB Presents: The Top 20 R&B Albums of 2014

Top 20 R&B Albums of 2014

Better late than never right?? 2014 may be over and done, but that doesn’t mean we can’t bask in it a bit more. While the year brought about many disappointments and frustrations, it also brought with it a few blessings in the form of R&B.

Whether you were waiting on your favorite artist to drop another album, or you were introduced to the sounds of someone different, there’s no denying the talent that moved through our ears and speakers last year. From Mary J. Blige’s commendable trip across the pond to K. Michelle’s anticipated sophomore effort to Chris Brown yet again finding favor in the hearts of many for his music, some damn good audible treats surfaced during 2014.

Although the above may be true, unfortunately some artists didn’t receive the shine that they deserved for their obviously noted underrated albums. That however, has never stopped us from giving them their well-deserved props and doing our part to help everyone discover their greatness.

So, even if you preferred to be “Dancing In The Dark” over getting “2 On,” there’s no way that anyone can say that this past year didn’t help with moving R&B back to the top of the charts! Gone are the days of R&B being looked at as “tarnished,” “washed,” or “unappreciated,” because there were truly some classic and timeless pieces of art dropped throughout last year.

So, without further adieu, give yourself one more look back with “The 20 Best R&B Albums of 2014″ below!

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ThisisRnB Presents: Top 10 R&B Mixtapes of 2014

 Top 10 R&B Mixtapes of 2014

Y’all thought we forgot, huh? Although a little time has passed since 2014 ended, we couldn’t leave you without a recap of the year’s finest. Indeed, 2015 has already kicked off to a great start, but last year saw some of R&B’s most talented artists drop great pieces of work. While many of the best mixtapes or EPs came from new and growing artists in the genre, that doesn’t mean they didn’t put out work that parallels the veterans. Some, that we are proud to say, produced better material than artists who delivered full length projects last year.

While 2013 had us screaming the praises of Sevyn Streeter and Jhené Aiko, made us fall in love with Maxine Ashley and Tinashe, and let us know that Adrian Marcel was what the industry had been missing, it was last year that really solidified the fact that the new class of R&B artists are playing no games.

Doing our job to keep you up on the music that deserves to be heard, our “Top 10 R&B Mixtapes of 2014” list will either remind you, intrigue you, or wake you the hell up and let you know how much you’ve slept on some of the most talented emerging artists of the year.

So, moonwalk back to last year and press play on the “Top 10 R&B Mixtapes of 2014″ below!

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Album Review: Jazmine Sullivan – ‘Reality Show’

Jazmine-Sullivan-Reality-Show

Though reality television has procured quite the bad reputation over the years, one can’t deny its ability to mirror some of truths of the human race, no matter how flawed it may be. On any given show you’re sure to recognize recurring themes of vanity, greed and toxic relationships, among other vices. These are just a few of the explored subject matters on Jazmine Sullivan’s third studio album, Reality Show, the first release since her very felt hiatus from the music industry back in 2011.

Four years later, Sullivan takes contemporary television and uses it as her muse in what may be her most ambitious album to date. Proven to have the musical palette of a jukebox, Sullivan is ballsy this time around, going for a more modern sound and lyrical approach. Though at her core, Sullivan is the consummate soul artist, and that shines through and through, on Reality Show she also manifests the grittiness of hip-hop (“Dumb,” “Brand New” and “Silver Lining”), and the heart of jazz (“Stupid Girls”).

Her approach: explicit, unadulterated honesty. But honesty doesn’t always look pretty. Sullivan, the album’s primary songwriter, uses her pen game to paint a critical lens of society’s obsession with money, acceptance and love, and what people will do to achieve or maintain it.

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Exclusive: Recounting the “Crazy, Sexy, Cool” of TLC’s Classic Diamond-Selling Album, 20-Years Later (with Commentary from Chilli!)

crazysexycool-4ee69e78730fe

Nov. 15, 1994 there was a musical explosion. One of the greatest R&B albums of all time was released. That album, was the legendary TLC‘s sophomore effort, CrazySexyCool.

The album was a collaborative work by some of the most profound writers and producers of the time, including Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds, Dallas Austin, Jermaine Dupri, and more.  The LP’s title delivered a relatable identity for fans as Left Eye represented the “Crazy,” Chilli the “Sexy,” and T-Boz the “Cool.”  Laced with sexy and sultry ballads, and some up-tempo flava, the album will live on forever as a staple in the R&B genre. TLC’s pioneering blend of R&B, Hip Hop and Pop music resonated extremely well with mainstream audiences as fans rushed out to buy the Atlanta trio’s sophomore project.

The album stayed on the Billboard 200 chart for more than two years and simultaneously went diamond, making TLC the first girl group to achieve this success. To date, CrazySexyCool has sold over 23 million copies worldwide, becoming the best-selling album by an American girl group, and the second best selling album worldwide behind the Spices Girls’ Spice. All four singles from the album reached the top 5 of the Billboard Hot 100, two of them reaching number one.

As the double-diamond certified album turns 20 this month, it’s only right that we reflect on the amazing Crazy, Sexy, Cool of TLC’s second album!

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Album Review: August Alsina – ‘Testimony’

August-Alsina-Testimony-Album

Everyone loves a good story, and August Alsina has quite one to tell. The singer’s rag-to-riches tale is captivating but, as documented on his debut album, Testimony, he could’ve been just another statistic. Luckily for Alsina, rather than ending up six-feet under or behind bars in the mean streets of New Orleans, he ended up at the top of the charts, now being mentioned in the same breath as Chris Brown and Trey Songz.

But what’s so fascinating about Alsina is not just his story, but the complex duality of his artistry. Musically he sits comfortably in both the R&B and hip-hop genres without abandoning one for the other, while on a personal tip he seems to struggle between his roots in the ‘hood and his new uprising in the music industry.

That binary theme is heavily constant on the appropriately titled Testimony, a 14-track confessional of sorts that wheels into vivid, personal accounts of Alsina’s rocky road to fame and, in true male R&B style, endearing odes to the ladies. But most of all, the 21-year-old newbie is honest and wears his rugged heart on his sleeve.

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Album Review: Candice Glover – Music Speaks

Candice Glover Music Speaks

There’s an unfair stigma that comes along with the American Idol title. Some have managed to eclipse its sugary brand, while others were forgotten as quickly as they shot to fame. There are even fewer successful urban acts, however, to come out of the reality singing competition machine. With the exceptions of Fantasia, Ruben Studdard and the most storied career of Jennifer Hudson, there’s not much of a blueprint for R&B singers in the space of American Idol.

With her debut album Music Speaks, last year’s winner Candice Glover is clearly trying to sketch her name on that short and privileged list of success stories. The small town South Carolina gal with the gigantic range may not be as polarizing as some of her predecessors, but she’s certainly just as talented, if not more. Comparisons to the show and the artists to hit its stage will probably never cease, however, being the first urban and female artist to win the coveted title since 2007 gives the singer a very much-earned spotlight – and thankfully she rises to the occasion.

On Music Speaks, Glover is not only introducing herself to the world, but she has the very tall task of proving she’s no gimmick. Her tactic in doing so seems to rest primarily in her lyrical content, which is surprisingly very mature and quite refreshing, considering most R&B starlets these days seem to drink from the same pool of writers.

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List: The 13 Best R&B Albums of 2013

The-13-Best-R&B-Albums-of-2013

From Love and War to Kisses Down Low it’s been a surprisingly great year for R&B music.  With two of the biggest releases of the year being surprises, and plenty of long overdue projects finally hitting store selves, it seems like unexpected was the trend of the year. Pundits can still argue all they want about the state of R&B in today’s music industry, the numbers don’t lie, it’s still suffering commercially, but musically – quality, substance and entertainment wise – R&B has contributed greatly to the music landscape in 2013, and continues to thrive in the live arena.

Most of the years top urban radio singles were R&B records, or heavily R&B influenced, and a handful of R&B albums topped the Billboard 200 chart this year. Knowing that it’s not going to be an easy task to pick the best albums of the year was a clear sign that the genre is the strongest it’s been in many years. From tremendous blue-eyed soul to classic rhythm & blues, from global superstars opening up like never before, to award winning second chances, from pure baby-making bangers to celebratory anthems, we had it all and more in 2013!

So, without further ado, check out ‘The 13 Best R&B Albums of 2013‘ below!!

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Welcome to the new ThisIsRnB!

Welcome to the new ThisIsRnB theme!

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