THISISRNB EXCLUSIVES

ThisisRnB Presents: ’30 Years of Def Jam R&B’

ThisisRnB Def Jam R&B

When it comes to hip hop, there’s perhaps no other label that can serve as the almanac of the culture like Def Jam Records. From its doors opening 30 years ago, to the thriving, sustaining business it is today, the label has served as the cornerstone of hip hop culture providing us with an abundance of acts including from it’s inaugural era in the ’80s, (LL Cool J, Beastie Boys, Public Enemy, Slick Rick) to the 90-00s golden era of hip hop (DMX, Jay Z, Foxy Brown, Ludacris, Scarface) to even it’s current era (Kanye West, Jeezy, Rick Ross, Nas, Big Sean). Def Jam continues to set the benchmark for the genre and their contributions have certainly made a noticeable dent in the framework of the culture over the last 30 years.

Alongside their thriving rock-hard raps, Def Jam Recordings is also recognized for their contributions to R&B music. From their first R&B release in 1986 with Oran “Juice” Jones, Def Jam has made their mark in R&B. Over the past three decades they’ve incorporated spin-off labels like Def Soul Recordings, created subsidiary imprints like OBR Records, merged with Island Records to create ‘Island Def Jam’ all the while introducing the world to acts like Ashanti, Ne-Yo, Musiq Soulchild, The-Dream, Frank Ocean, Rihanna and making them into superstars. Coinciding with the 30th anniversary of Def Jam Records, we are celebrating their R&B contributions by counting down the Top 30 Def Jam R&B Hits.

Get into the Def list below!

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Exclusive: Rico Love Reflects on Usher’s ‘Confessions’ Album, 10 Years Later

Rico Love may be new to some as an artist, but the platinum songwriter began his career as a rapper, and was originally signed to Usher in the early 2000s.  As a way to supplement extra income for Rico, Usher suggested that he write some songs for his upcoming album at the time, which became the legendary ‘Confessions‘ album.  The very first R&B song that Rico ever wrote was “Throwback,” produced by Just Blaze, which went on to become a fan favorite off the album.

We recently caught up with Rico for an interview and we asked him to reflect on the making of the album, and his feelings about it as they celebrate it’s 10 year anniversary.

Explaining what makes the album so special, and why it is still the best R&B album of the past 10 years, Rico also shared with us the story of when he and Usher first heard the song “Yeah!,” and why Usher hated it, and refused to perform the song before it became a hit.

Check out the interview clip above, and stay tuned for more from the interview coming soon.


Exclusive: August Alsina Shares Words for His Father, Brother and Helping to Raise His Nieces

August Alsina has become known for his honest and always forthright lyrics and realness.  At times blunt, August just speaks his mind, but he will be the first to tell you that he is learning about himself and how to be a man everyday.

During our recent interview with the rising star, we asked him to share with us what he thinks he would say to his father if he was alive today.  Not surprising, August reveals the things he had to learn on his own, and what he feels he’s missed out on by not having a positive male figure.  We also asked him to share some words for his older brother, who was killed in 2010, and was Alsina’s biggest motivation. More than anything he says he just thanks him.

When his brother passed he left behind three young daughters, who August now helps care for and raise. He speaks about the joy and struggle of that responsibility being a young man who is still just finding his own way.  Additionally, with his debut album Testimony finally in stores, we ask him about his plans to celebrate the release and his hopes for it’s impact.

Check out the clip above, and to see more of our interview click here.


Exclusive: August Alsina Reflects on Early Releases, Brothers Passing, Single Success, Meeting Jay Z & Beyoncé and “Kissin On My Tattoos”

August Alsina made his debut right here back in August of 2011 with his acoustic remake of Lil Wayne’s “How To Love,” and following acoustic covers mixtape.  Followed by his first official project ‘The Product‘ exactly 2 years ago, and his successful follow-up The Product 2.   Reaching the top of the charts with his break-out debut single “I Luv This Sh*t,” the New Orleans native has been on an incredible climb, and it all culminated with the release of his first album Testimony, which hit stores on April 15.

ThisisRnB TV caught up with August while in NYC days before the LP’s release for a new interview.  In the clip above we take him back to his first releases, getting him to reflect on his goals and the early grind.  August talks about how his brothers passing pushed him to go all the way with his music and never look back.  He reveals that while working so hard he misses out on certain moments and loses memories.  But, the success of his debut single “I Luv This Sh*t” stuck with him because of how many people doubted it being a hit, and it was the song he knew had to be his official introduction.

After the jump, August tells the story of how Jeezy introduced him to Jay Z and what that moment was like, and at the same time how he accidentally ran into Beyoncé, plus the advice they gave to him.  Additionally he speaks about his next single “Kissin On My Tattoos,” which was a different style for him, but has already become a fan favorite.

Check out the other clips below:

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August Alsina Brings K. Michelle On Stage at Album Release Show

August Alsina packed out SOB’s in NYC on Monday night for his sold-out Testimony album release show.  Not only was it an excellent performance and highlight of his rising career, but the young singer had plenty of special guests supporting him in the building, including Fabolous, Wale, DJ Khaled, Sebastian Mikael, Luke James and more.  As the crowd was as loud and ratchet as we’ve seen in the venue it was fitting that he invite the amazing K. Michelle on stage to voice her support.

Stepping to the mic like a comedian, K had everyone hanging on her every word while she explained why August deserves this success and support from all of his fans.  But, it wouldn’t be the real K. Michelle if she didn’t take some shots at some of the shady dudes in the game and of course she let everyone know the deal.  As DJ Era dropped her hit single “V.S.O.P.” August convinced the songstress to stay on stage and sing the club favorite for the screaming audience who loved every moment!

Check out the clip above, and pick up August Alsina’s debut album Testimony in stores now!


ThisisRnB TV: Catching Up with Dondria, Talks Womanhood, New Single “Coat Tail,” Upcoming EP & More

Six years ago we were all introduced to the burgeoning young Princess of So So Def, Dondria.  While she found mild success from her debut album Dondria Vs. Phatfffat, the Texas native struggled to build notoriety in the ever-changing music industry. The singer kept her close fans covered with the release of three mixtapes, but mostly remained out of the public eye as she continued to hone her craft.

Making her return earlier this year with the female empowering single “Coat Tail,” the young queen, as she likes to call herself now, is poised to make that deserving impact. Currently prepping for the release of her new EP, which is due out this summer, ThisisRnB TV caught up with Dondria Nicole while on a recent trip to NYC to perform at SOB’s.

Speaking candidly with us, Dondria opened up about her career to date, becoming a woman while following her dreams and learning to be confident. What her new single means to her and the story behind recording it. The lessons she constantly learns from producer Jermaine Dupri, and what fans should expect from her forthcoming EP and sophomore album.

Check out the interview clip above and stay tuned!


Exclusive: Tank – Albums That Changed My Life

Tank is back with new solo music and currently readying the release of his forthcoming album ‘Stronger,” due out this summer.  The R&B singer/songwriter’s sixth studio effort has been lead by the soulful and celebratory single “You’re My Star” (see Tank talking about the song and album here), and will be a step in a new direction for him sonically.

While talking about the upcoming release in our recent sit-down with him in NYC, we asked Tank to take us back and reflect on some of the albums or songs that really changed his life.

Being raised in the church and on mostly Gospel music during his youth it was of course the more clean cut R&B of the late ’80s that affected him, primarily the New Edition Heartbreak album, and Babyface’s Tender Lover.  That was until R. Kelly released “Down Low,” off his 1995 self-titled album, and made Tank a diehard fan!

Check out the interview clip above to hear Tank’s hilarious reflections on his early influences!


Exclusive: Tank Shares Inspiration and Advice from Justin Timberlake

Tank recently told us that he will be celebrating women and life with some tempo on his new album ‘Stronger,” which is due out this June.  In between touring with TGT and working on his own solo material, the R&B heartthrob spent a good amount of time traveling with his good friend who was on Justin Timberlake’s “The 20/20 Experience Tour.”

During our recent sit-down with the singer/songwriter he talked to us about his admiration for the whole show and Justin’s own showmanship, and how it truly inspired him to create a full band style experience for his own new music.  Tank didn’t only receive inspiration from Justin, but also some pretty deep words of advice.  While playing him his new tracks, Justin dropped some words of encouragement to him which surprised all of us.

Check out the clip above, and if you haven’t watched it out, click here to see our new piece where Tank talks about the creation of his new single “You’re My Star” and the sound of his forthcoming album.