Face it, man – you’re not getting any younger. Seasons change; mad things rearrange. You wince when you hear the word “motherfucker” spoken in the vicinity of children or old ladies. You secretly wonder if metal things are appropriate tools for settling things. You spend more time in pursuit of commitment and equity than blunts and forties. You keep your eyes open for sales on porkpie hats and fancy socks, you relish your after-dinner cognac, and you’re saving up the loot to take wifey on a surprise getaway to a cozily romantic B&B for some well-deserved R&R. But for that you’ll need some R&B.
Fortunately for you, while you frittered away your youth by obsessing over authenticity, R&B artists continued to collaborate with hip hop producers and rappers to make joints and jams that your older self would eventually grow to appreciate. Tekitha‘s rousing “Walking Through The Darkness” was later reincarnated as a Ghostface song that banished her to the hook but you need this original version in your life. Joi‘s first single “Sunshine & Rain” is brooding yet sultry, somber and yet impassioned like all memorable soul music. Leschea‘s “3 to 5” flips a Wu-Tang classic justly, while D’Angelo sounds right at home crooning alongside AZ’s refined flows over a punchy head-nodder of a beat.
The usually saccharine Boyz II Men are play their position in a cipher featuring Treach, Craig Mack, and Busta, reminding us that rap owes a debt to doo-wop. Rae and Ghost rip Jodeci’s bawdy “Freekin U” like it was just another cut off the purple tape. Rae shines again on Davina’s similarly styled “So Good.” Jay-Z adapts himself to whatever track is thrown at him, coming off smooth but not slick on remixes of The Braxtons “So Many Ways” and SWV’s “You’re The One.” Yvette Michelle combines Mary J. Blige‘s unexpectedly sexy Noo Yawk accent and combines it with the cool yet determined sensibility of Sade on the stalkerish “Everyday Everynight.” Lord Jamar and Sadat X lend their flows to a funkier version of Groove Theory‘s acid-jazz anthem “Tell Me,” and Zhane‘s annoying party-starter is given a much needed harder-edged facelift.
You can’t go wrong with this compilation – it works too well for mixed company and diverse occasions. Which is good because you’ll probably still front about your reasons for including it in your iPod. No need for that, though, this shit bangs. Expect many, many more volumes – the thread is on and poppin’ at the T.R.O.Y. Forum so add your requests and recommendations. Oh and thanks to Lyrical Gymnastics, Spartan, Drizzle, Mark 563, thebridgeisover, kevin beacham, vaporized, and Dred Scott for contributing tracks to this volume, as well as everyone else who uploaded songs and suggested titles.
Tekitha “Walking Through The Darkness”
Joi “Sunshine & Rain”
Leschea “3 To 5”
Adriana Evans “Seein’ Is Believing” (Remix)
D’Angelo ft. AZ “Lady” (Remix)
Neneh Cherry ft. Notorious B.I.G. “Buddy X” (Remix)
Boyz II Men ft. Treach, Craig Mack, Busta Rhymes “Vibin'” (Remix)
Jodeci ft. Ghostface & Raekwon “Freekin U” (Wu Tang Clan Remix)
Davina ft. Raekwon “So Good”
The Braxtons ft. Jay-Z “So Many Way Ways”
Yvette Michelle “Everyday Everynight” (Cross Bronx Expressway
SWV ft. Jay-z “You Are The One” (Clark Kent Remix)
Groove Theory ft. Brand Nubian “Tell Me” (Karat Hip Hop Mix)
Zhane “Hey DJ” (Remix)