I got a hypochondriac flow that get real ill, get nauseous to the beat, I spit sick at will.

Flashback: Black Men United, ‘U Will Know’

 

There are so many small pleasures in this song that grab me. The first time the hook comes in and you hear these amazing voices in harmony. The depth and power of Gerald Levert and Christopher Williams ("it _taint_easayyyy"). The stunning clear tones of Joe and Brian McKnight. The absolutely devastingly beautiful performance of R. Kelly, who takes that moment – "woo hoo" – to let the message sink in.

But it's Raphael Saadiq and McKnight who choke me up every single time:

And then I got stronger
And tired of the pain
That’s when I picked up the pieces
And I regained my name

I love the vulnerability of the couplet- "That's when I picked up the pieces/And I regained my name." It's the heart of the song for me. It's the moment that the song reveals itself to be more than an anthem. It's empathy for black male brokenness makes the whole thing work so that when you hear "you must act like a man" it doesn't feel like judgment. It's recognition. And I regained my name.

The song is hopeful of course, but that undercurrent of profound sadness actually makes its anthemic qualities resonate more deeply. It's literally the struggle to be a whole, healthy black man in song.



Posted on August 11th, 2012 - Filed under Hot Videos,Music
Tags :: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

R. Kelly’s Joyous Sound

I hadn’t been able to articulate why R. Kelly’s two-album retro excursion, which has culminated in the just-released (and very lovely) Write Me Back, is superior in every. single. way. to Raphael Saadiq’s similar two-album experiment.

Until I saw the video for R.’s latest single, “Feelin Single.”

 

 



Posted on July 16th, 2012 - Filed under Hot Videos,Music
Tags :: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

R&B Dudes I’m Feelin – Luke James and Antoine Dunn

Since Tank is mired in adult contemporary schlock, Ginuwine has lost his verve, and Usher is determined to be a Europop dance king and chase the millennials' dollars, I've been paying particular attention to young brothas who are doing R&B hoping to find someone that could feel that void that those three brothas have left behind.

Here are the two I'm watching:



Posted on June 4th, 2012 - Filed under Hot Videos,Music

Nas – ‘Daughters’

I am endlessly fascinated with the way the record-buying public views Nas with a mixture of amusement and indifference. Unlike Kweli or Mos or Common or Tip, something about Nas's overtly political and heartfelt messages doesn't connect even though he's a better emcee by half. 

I say this because as usual people don't really like Nas' new song.

 

 

These people are crazy.



Posted on May 29th, 2012 - Filed under Hot Videos,Music
Tags :: , , , , , , ,

Teedra Moses – ‘Another Luvr (featuring Wale)’

I often rant and rave about millennial R&B and pop's aversion to music composition. So much of what is popular right now is all rhythm, no blues. No melody. No harmony. No music.

Teedra Moses – like an oasis in the desert – effortlessly it seems makes music that is both melodic and current.  That shouldn't be unique, but it really is.

 



Video by Singersroom.com | More on Teedra Moses

 

I have said this a lot, but it bears repeating: Teedra Moses is the hottest chick in the R&B game. She's the one taking all of black musical history and updating it for the new millennium in a fresh and totally interesting way. No one else in her lane even comes close and y'all keep sleepin on her.

Trust, whoever else you are listening to, Teedra is better.



Posted on February 16th, 2012 - Filed under Hot Videos,Music
Tags :: , , , , , ,