8 Biopics That Must Happen

rnb-biopic

Over the past two decades, biopics centered around musicians have become a staple at movie theaters. They serve the purpose of immortalizing the artist we never want to see go, offering fans a final farewell to those who may have passed and, overall, shedding light on the hardships endured by the talented individuals that make them whom we’ve grown to love. Michael Jackson and the Jackson Five, The Temptations, Ray Charles, Diana Ross, Frankie Lymon–though all epic in their existences alone, have had their icon status solidified with compelling silver screen adaptations of their lives. Let’s take a look at eight R&B biopics that have all the highs and lows of a box office blockbuster.

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Aaliyah – “Babygirl”

The story of Aaliyah Haughton is one of the most-anticipated films for R&B fans of the late 90s and early new millennium. Haughton’s iconic style, undeniably angelic voice and down to earth personality gave her an irresistible allure that resonates, to this day. Her crossover appeal earned her movie roles, such as Trish in “Romeo Must Die” and Zee in “The Matrix Reloaded.” At the height of her steady rise to fame, her life was tragically cut short as a result of a devastating plane crash in 2001.

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Top 4 Deep Cuts from Brandy’s ‘Two Eleven’ Album

 

The “Vocal Bible” nickname has been bestowed upon Brandy for her vocal acrobatics and inexplicable natural ability to sing. However, Brandy Norwood is much more than her voice. In fact, her most redeeming quality is her nuanced storytelling as an artist. Every album that has been graced with those hypnotic eyes of hers has been complete from top to bottom, both vocally and thematically.

While some may argue that Never Say Never and Full Moon are artistic perfection, Two Eleven is too, but with a twist. The beauty of Two Eleven is the multi-edge edge sword of sound that it wields. The album is noticeably handled by hip-hop producers, but thanks to its host of R&B writers, the songs on the album are able to catch the spirit of the R&B genre today — a whole five years ahead of schedule.

If you take a listen to “Hardly Breathing,” do you not hear shades of Dawn Richard? Or maybe if you paid close enough attention to the vocal layering on “Wish Your Love Away,” you would hear the same on Tamar’s latest album. You can even compare “Put It Down” to K. Michelle’s “Either Way.” Aside from boasting the same feature, the candor and aggression in the lyrical content is almost uncanny. This album is for the Sabrina Claudio’s just as much as it is for the Sevyn Streeter’s and even the reaches the artistic bubble of a more established artist like Tamia. In short, Two Eleven, as a whole, is THAT album.

Below, we’ve compiled a list of some of the best deep cuts from the five-year-old body of work. Check  it out:

“Paint This House”

Brandy’s smoky vocals take center stage, backed by her airy background vocals and hauntingly pulsing production from Rico Love, Eric Goudy III and Pierre Moody. On the song, Brandy is in the mood for love-making and some “room redecorating” with her new lover. “And I want these stairs, those walls/Kitchen counters, and those chairs/To remind you of how good it feels/And all of these floors and ceilings/And every hallway, yeah/Not and inch will go untouched/Let’s paint this house with our love,” she sings. With lyrics so obviously sexual, Ms. Norwood brings her signature tender tone to song, creating a sensual jam for any bedroom-thumping situation.

“Slower”

Following a similar narrative as “Paint This House,” Brandy decides to take control this time when it comes to the moment of love-making and passion. “My baby got a lot to learn/Come here let mama bring you up to speed/A couple of changes/A couple of things I want to go over/Couple of hours is all I need/So let’s get it started,” she sings. The genius house production from Dave Taylor both compliments and juxtaposes Brandy’s vocals and lyrics extremely well.

“Without You”

Brandy’s voice takes full flight on this apologetic anthem. “Boy somewhere along the line I lost my way/And I made you pay for the mistakes he made/And I’m sorry baby, cause it shouldn’t be that way/Oh Boy, I really need you, I need you in my life/Cause oh boy I’m nothing, oh no I’m nothing without you,” she sings. Seeing the grave error in bringing baggage from the past into a current relationship, Brandy showcases her vocal power and grit to win her man back. And although we’d love just a piano behind her, the kick-snare and cymbal give this almost-but-not-quite-a-single the touch of bounce that it needs.

“Wish Your Love Away”

Brandy is trying to get over the one that should have been the one on this somber ballad. “I wish that there was no more sleepless nights for me/You can look inside my heart and see/How I’m feelin, baby/Or maybe you just don’t give a damn/Could I be foolish to give a damn, baby?/’Cause I’m to the point where I wish/Boy, I wish that I didn’t love you,” she sings. The track is just so sonically vivid-imagine rain softly falling on your windowpane as this song plays in the background-that it didn’t even need her vocals to be impactful. But, that’s not to say that her vocals aren’t appreciated, especially at the end of the song where the music fades out to just her immaculate vocal layering. Brandy’s resonance both in voice and artistry is perfectly encapsulated by this tune, and hints at how this album will undoubtedly stand the test of time.

What’s your favorite song from “Two Eleven?” Let us know in the comment section below.

Chart Check: Tank Scores Top 5 Hit on Urban AC, Tamar Braxton and Trey Songz Pick New Singles

Tank New album tamar new single and album treys songz

Tank New album tamar new single and album treys songz

Welcome back to another edition of Chart Check! Each Friday, Rated R&B provides detailed insight to the weekly chart movements of your favorite R&B artists and R&B songs. In this updated format, we will discuss Billboard’s Adult R&B Songs (Urban AC) and Nielsen’s Mainstream R&B/Hip-Hop National Airplay (Urban) charts extensively. Read below for more information on the week of October 6, 2017:

Single Selections

Trey Songz’s Tremaine the Album era continues with the selection of his second single “Songs Goes Off.” The Atlantic Records signee received 12 adds at R&B radio in the latest tracking week. If the song charts, it will be Trey’s first Urban AC charter since 2015’s “Slow Motion.” Tremaine the Album debuted at No. 1 on the R&B albums chart and No. 3 overall upon its release in March.

If Tamar Braxton was set on going out with a bang, then she is definitely on the right track with her new song “Blind.” Lifted from her latest and last album Bluebird of Happiness, the heartbreaking ballad is serving as the second single behind lead single “My Man,” which currently sits at No. 10 on the Urban AC Chart. “Blind” received 16 adds this week, making it the most added song on urban contemporary  radio. Bluebird of Happiness is available now on all digital platforms.

On The Rise

Sam Smith is back and bigger with his new single “Too Good at Goodbyes.” Thanks to rising popularity and the release of the song’s music video, Smith has shot up the Urban AC chart, rising 22-12 on this week’s chart. The track saw a 255 spin increase since last week, making it the most spin increased song of the week on R&B radio. It also received an additional nine adds on R&B radio formats.

Like little sister, like big sister, and vice versa! Toni Braxton is starting her new era in the right direction with her new single “Deadwood.” The song continues to rise, jumping 30-23 on the Urban AC chart thanks to a 148 spin increase in the latest tracking week. The song also received 12 adds on R&B formats, making her the second most-added R&B song of the week. The first? Her younger sister, Tamar.

Leaps and Bounds

Tank has been building momentum in preparation for his new album Savage which was just released last night, Sept. 29. Lead single “When We” is the shining star of the week, as it rose to the No. 5 spot on the Urban AC Chart this week. The bedroom banger saw an increase of 124 spins on R&B radio station, the fourth-highest increase this week.

Here’s some chart superstition: every time Tank has a song enter the top 5 on this chart, it eventually becomes a No. 1 hit. Tank notched No. 1 songs in 2007 with “Please Don’t Go” and again in 2012 with “Next Breath.” As you can tell, his chart toppers are five years apart, which would continue if “When We” ever reaches the top spot in the year of 2017. Does “When We” have the potential to further this interesting trend? Tank has some stiff competition against the rising force of Khalid’s “Location,” the slight resurgence of Childish Gambino’s “Redbone,” and the staying power of Sevyn Streeter’s breezy jam “Before I Do” which logs a fifth week at No. 1 this week. Competition aside, Tank has a shot, but only time will tell.

SZA has brought the heat this summer and shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon with her latest single “The Weekend.” In the latest tracking week, the song leapt 10 spots, rising 40-30 on the urban radio chart. Fueled by a 249 spin increase, the Ctrl cut was the fifth-most spin increased song of the week. If that wasn’t enough, the song has also received 18 more adds on urban radio formats. If this type of success is any indication, “The Weekend” is on it’s way to becoming a solid radio hit.

R&B Albums Chart Update

Billboard’s R&B album had a couple of notable chart movements in the last week. First up, Musiq Soulchild debuted at No. 16 on the chart this week with her double-disc set Feel the Real. The album is lead by his single “Start Over,” which now sits at No. 15 on the Urban AC chart. A little higher up on the chart sits Beyoncé’s 2016 album Lemonade, which leapt 24-8 in the latest tracking week. Lemonade is Beyoncé’s latest album, which featured singles such as the impactful “Formation,” whimsical “Hold Up,” and Just Blaze-produced “Sorry.” In other Beyoncé news, the songstress has hopped on the remix to J Balvin and Willy William’s latin banger “Mi Gente.” As previously reported, the sales from the song will be donated as relief funds for Puerto Rico, Mexico, and other Caribbean Islands and is already the No. 1 song on iTunes Worldwide. Expect for this track to make a splash in the next couple of weeks.

Quick Notes

And in quick notes: Rising artist Izzy Bizu is getting her first shot at radio success with her song “Diamond.” The song received 10 adds at R&B radio, the fourth-most for the week; Khalid’s “Location” proves to be the hit that just won’t go away. The song, sitting at on the Urban AC chart at the No. 4 spot, saw a 131 spin increase this week. With the decline of Bruno Mars’ “That’s What I Like,” the song is definitely on the trajectory for a top 3 finish within he next couple of weeks; And finally, Jazmine Sullivan and Bryson Tiller’s “Insecure” duet is beginning to find real chart success as it double debuts on both the Urban and Urban AC chart this week. The song sits at No. 30 on Urban AC and No. 37 on the urban radio chart.

What about you? Are you feeling Tamar and Trey Songz’s new singles? Do you think Khalid will go No. 1 on Urban AC? Did you enjoy this week’s Chart Check? Let us know how you feel in the comment section below!

Chart Check: Toni Braxton Makes Strong Debut, SZA Picks Second ‘Ctrl’ Single

Toni Braxton SZA Chart Check

Toni Braxton SZA Chart Check

Welcome back to another edition of Chart Check! Each Friday, Rated R&B provides detailed insight to the weekly chart movements of your favorite R&B artists and R&B songs. In this updated format, we will discuss Billboard’s Adult R&B Songs (Urban AC) and Mainstream R&B/Hip-Hop National Airplay (Urban) charts extensively. Read below for more information on the week of September 30, 2017:

R&B Vets on the Rise

The living legend herself Toni Braxton is back on the R&B scene with her new single “Deadwood.” The bluesy tune received a whopping 26 adds on R&B radio, making it the most added song of the week on R&B formats and the second most added song across all urban radio formats. In an interview with the co-hosts from E!’s Daily Pop, Braxton cites singer and “musical husband” Babyface as the catalyst for “getting her mojo back,” as “Deadwood” is her first solo single release in seven years. This song is the first offering from Braxton’s Sex and Cigarettes album, which will be her eighth solo studio album. The album is set to be released in early 2018.

Speaking of living legends, Mary J. Blige proves to be a consistent hit-maker as her current single “Set Me Free” bumps up 11-10 on the Adult R&B chart in the latest tracking week. This is her 22nd top 10 on the chart, tying R&B legend Gerald Levert for most top 10s on the Adult R&B chart. Her reign began in 1994 with her My Life cut “Be Happy,” which peaked at the No. 8 spot. Blige has already announced that “Glow Up,” featuring Missy Elliott, DJ Khaled, and rapper Quavo, will be the next single from her album Strength of a Woman, which was released in April.

Second Singles: SZA & Childish Gambino

Are you the 9-5, the weekend, or both? SZA has selected fan-favorite “The Weekend” as the official second single from her breakout album Ctrl. SZA has been working hard as of late between her headlining tour, original music for the Insecure soundtrack, and her feature on Maroon 5’s “What Lovers Do.” It’s also been reported that Solange Knowles will be directing the music video for “The Weekend,” which sits at the No. 40 spot on urban radio this week. Her lead single “Love Galore” rose 25-23 on the Urban AC chart, garnering a 40 spin increase in the latest tracking week.

Childish Gambino has finally selected a new single! “Terrified” was sent to R&B radio this week, racking up five adds. This is the second single from his 2016 album Awaken! My Love. Lead single “Redbone” made gains in its 40th week on the urban AC chart, increasing 63 spins since last week’s tally. The song holds at No. 3. Elsewhere, congratulations are in order for Gambino, who is known as Donald Glover professionally, for winning two Emmy awards this past week: the win for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series and for directing a comedy series for FX’s Atlanta, which he created, directs, and stars in.

Quick Notes

And in quick notes: The Weeknd has sent “Die For You” to urban radio, receiving 15 adds in the latest tracking week. The Starboy cut now sits at No. 28 on the Urban AC chart; Will Downing’s collaboration with Avery*Sunshine “I’m Feeling the Love” sits just two slots below the official Urban AC chart this week. It’s the lead single from his brand new album Soul Survivor, which released today; Jhené Aiko’s breezy jam “While We’re Young” has finally landed on the urban charts at No. 39 this week. It’s the lead single for her new, surprise album Trip, which includes features from Brandy, Chris Brown, and more; Chris Brown is riding high on iTunes and on the charts with his new single “Pills and Automobiles.” The song had the biggest increases in spins at urban radio (395) and now sits at No. 23, rising seven spots since last week; Lastly, Rihanna continues to make chart moves as Kendrick Lamar’s “LOYALTY,” which she is featured on, rises 5-4 on the urban radio chart. The song is making unprecedented gains in its 13th week on the chart, and will be looking to overtake DJ Khaled’s “Wild Thoughts” at the No. 3 spot next week.

What about you? Do you like Toni Braxton’s new single? Will you be purchasing Jhené Aiko’s surprise album? Did you enjoy this week’s Chart Check? Leave all of your comments in the designated section below!