Top 5 R&B Albums We’re Anticipating So Far in 2014

Colourful 2014 in fiery sparklers

From Tamar Braxton’s phenomenal “Love and War” to John Legend’s romantic “Love in the Future,” 2013 was a year of R&B career comebacks. We  were introduced to some of the industry’s freshest up and coming talents such as K. Michelle, Sevyn Streeter and August Alsina.

Overall, 2013 served as a great year for R&B in both mainstream and independent industries. Now as a new year begins, we can not wait to hear what new music awaits our ears.

So far, 2014 looks to be another year of great R&B comebacks as some of our classic faves have announced new projects as well.

Here are some of the albums we are anticipating to hear and love in 2014.

T-Pain

t_pain

T-Pain broke out of his musical hiatus in 2013. He returned on the music scene with his B.o.B assisted club banger “Up Down” the sexy “She Said” record  and a fresh new cut.

Pain has taken over the R&B and Hip-Hop industry since his 2005 breakout hit “I’m Sprung”-  which is when we first heard his creative auto-tune infusions. Since then, he has never disappointed, giving us unique productions, collaborations and hit songs.

In an October 2013 interview, the “rapper turned singer” told VIBE that his new album “Stoicville: The Phoenix,” represents his “happy place.”

“Everybody needs that one place where they can go,” Pain told VIBE. “I think they can relate because it’s so free in Stoicville. You can do whatever you want to do and this is what I want to do, this is the music that I want to do. It’s not the label, it’s not my management, it’s not my friends, this is me. A lot of people are saying this is the best music I’ve made in years.”

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5 R&B Artists Who Should’ve Been Nominated for a 2018 Grammy

Nominations for the 60th Grammy Awards were announced on Tuesday morning, and as predicted Bruno Mars led the R&B pack with six nods including Best R&B Album for 24k Magic. Childish Gambino, Khalid and SZA followed with five nominations each.

As artists thanked the Recording Academy for their consideration, some fans and critics called out the Academy for snubbing certain artists. Many fans were in shock when artists like Mary J. Blige and Tamar Braxton did not receive any nominations.

Although nothing can be changed at this point, here are five artists who should’ve been nominated for a 2018 Grammy.

Best R&B Performance
(For new vocal or instrumental R&B recordings.)

“Before I Do” — Sevyn Streeter

It is safe to say the Recording Academy missed the mark by not nominating “Before I Do” by Sevyn Streeter. Lifted from her long-overdue debut album, Girl Disrupted, the guitar-led tune helped Sevyn claim her first No. 1 single on the Billboard Adult R&B Songs chart. The slow jam had the singer-songwriter proclaiming her readiness for love. Feeling considered that her man of interest is already taken, she asked valid questions before she made a decision with her heart. Along with daunting lyrics, Streeter’s silky voice meshed well behind the elements of “At Your Best (You Are Love)” by the Isley Brothers and covered by the late Aaliyah.

Best Traditional R&B Performance
(For new vocal or instrumental traditional R&B recordings.)

“Blind” by Tamar Braxton

It is obvious that Tamar Braxton’s team and other music industry leaders overlooked the Bluebird of Happiness ballad “Blind” for this ideal category. Containing an interpolation of “I’d Rather Go Blind” by Etta James, the emotionally charged song includes the needed qualities – instrumental traditional R&B recordings – to justify a worthy nomination.

Best R&B Song
(A Songwriter(s) Award. A song is eligible if it was first released or if it first achieved prominence during the Eligibility Year. (Artist names appear in parentheses.) Singles or Tracks only.)

“U + Me (Love Lesson)” — Brandon “B.A.M.” Hodge, Charles “Prince Charlez” Hinshaw and David D. Brown & Mary J. Blige, songwriters (Mary J. Blige)

Even though Mary J. Blige’s “Thick of It” remained atop the Billboard Adult R&B Songs chart for 16 weeks, it was her follow-up single “U + Me (Love Lesson)” that caused a frenzy. Co-written by Blige, Brandon “B.A.M.” Hodge, Charles “Prince Charlez” Hinshaw and David D. Brown, the honest tune is arguably one of the most underrated R&B songs of the year. The well-composed jam recounts Blige’s gut feelings after filing for divorce from her manager-husband of 12 years. Must’ve been crazy to think that you loved me / I saw all the signs but I just couldn’t say nothing,” she sings.

Best Urban Contemporary Album
(For albums containing at least 51% playing time of newly recorded contemporary vocal tracks derivative of R&B.)

Savage — Tank

Tank’s music deserves more love from the Grammys – especially his newly released album, Savage. With eight solo projects – dating back to 2001’s Force of Nature – under his belt, it is a shame that his 2007 Sex, Love & Pain release is his only full-length project nominated for Grammy. Tank’s latest single “When We” is currently commanding urban adult contemporary radio. It also cracked the Billboard Hot 100 chart at No. 92 this week, making him one of the first solo R&B artists to achieve this feat this year.

Best R&B Album
(For albums containing at least 51% playing time of new R&B recordings.)

Back 2 Life — LeToya Luckett

After a six-year hiatus from music, LeToya Luckett made a comeback with her third album, Back 2 Life.The singer-actress blessed fans with a 13-track LP filled with fresh quality material. From the album’s introductory track “I’m Ready” to its lead single “B2L,” which reached No. 6 on urban adult contemporary radio, the modern release warranted more RESPECK.

The 60th Grammy Awards will air live from New York City’s Madison Square Garden on January 28, 2018 on CBS.

Tell us your thoughts on the Grammy nominations below! 

Ledisi Releases Video for ‘Add To Me’

Ledisi is quite the party host in her video for “Add To Me.”

Directed by Ron T. Young, the jazzy vocalist invites friends to an underground tavern for a night of dancing and laughter. After making her rounds to greet partygoers, Ledisi falls into the arms of a male guest, played by Queen Sugar actor Timon Kyle Durrett.

Family Matters star Darius McCrary gets his swerve on in the video too.

The New Orleans native is up for three Grammy nominations, including Best R&B Album for Let Love Rule. She shared her appreciation to The Recording Academy in an Instagram post. “Wow, what a way to wake up,” she captioned. “Smh… Speechless…THANK YOU. @recordingacademy (a proper thank U later.).”

Watch Ledisi’s “Add To Me” video below.

Concert Review: Keyshia Cole Pulls a Lauryn Hill at The Fillmore Charlotte

As people waited in long lines to flood their favorite retailers for Black Friday sales, I traveled from Columbia, SC to Charlotte, NC to see Keyshia Cole at The Fillmore Charlotte.

I arrived to the AvidXchange Music Factory venue at 6:27 p.m. Unlike lines at retailers Friday, where the wait is unavoidable and uncomfortable, I was perfectly at ease being the 20th concert-goer in line.

Ten minutes later, more attendees followed behind to patiently wait for doors to open at 7 p.m.

Undressed and shivering in 37 degree weather, I struck up conversation about ticket cost with Keyshia Cole admirers. “We won our tickets off Streetz 103.3,” one couple said.

Another fan said, “I bought mine off Groupon for $39. I love you Keyshia but I wasn’t spending more than $50.” I agreed since I got my ticket at the same deal.

Doors opened three minutes after 7 p.m. After getting patted down and having my ticket scanned by The Fillmore door staff, I bypassed other fans and jetted to the front of the stage to wait for the show.

Some fans claimed their spot at the head of the stage barricade too. Other fans found empty floor space to stand comfortably before those at the bar filled in the gaps.

At 7:17 p.m., MMG’s DJ MC got settled with his laptop and other stereo equipment on the smoky stage. He came fully equipped to have the crowd lit with his mega mix and fly DJing skills.

As fog occupied the stage, nostalgia filled rest of the room. DJ MC had fans right where he wanted them – in a carefree zone. Music lovers used their outside voice to recite explicit lyrics and sing classic R&B and hip-hop songs including “I Get Money” by 50 Cent, UCB’s “Sexy Lady” and “Nice and Slow” by Usher.

The VIP clique didn’t let their lack of essential amenities (i.e. chairs or tables) get in the away of their party. The wall worked perfectly for grinding.

DJ MC had help getting the crowd excited from 92.7 The Block hosts Chewy Torres and Sunshine Anderson – yes, “Heard it All Before” Sunshine Anderson, too.

By 9:02 p.m., fans were chanting, “We want Keyshia.”

Ten minutes later, DJ MC was breaking down his equipment to make room for GO DJ HI C, Keyshia’s official DJ.

I don’t know if the crowd was aggravated and ready for Keyshia but the energy shifted downward when he got on stage.

It felt like we changed the radio dial to a new station but got the same syndicated countdown – just with a harder thumb. GO DJ HI C’s blaring speaker bass creeped into my torso as if I had just painfully swallowed it.

A few recycled songs in, GO DJ HI C announced at 9:24 p.m., “I just got a text. My boss is about to hit the stage.”

Eager to record Keyshia’s opening note, I pulled out my iPhone to capture every minute. With 69 percent battery life, I tapped on the Facebook icon to start a live stream.

With no background singers in sight or any Fillmore staff prepping the stage for Keyshia’s arrival, it was evident GO DJ HI C’s receipt had no validity.

“This is ridiculous,” mumbled a female patron behind me. “I hope she shows up because she bailed before.”

As the DJ played more music and strolled through his cellphone, another female fan offered commentary. “If I wanted to listen to music for two hours I would have went to a club.”

It was 9:40 p.m. and the crowd began to get restless. Four-letter words started to be heard in the now tight quarters — most were directed to GO DJ HI C.

He attempted to ease the last nerve of fans. “Ya’ll chill,” he roared in the mic. “I wouldn’t be here if she wasn’t coming out. She’s not coming out until she can hear you guys in her dressing room.”

GO DJ HI C also tried to hype the crowd for Keyshia’s entrance. “I need the left side to say ‘Keyshia’ and the right to say ‘Cole,’” as he pointed to each side of the room.

Some were interested in crowd participation but others weren’t. I was apart of the latter group.

The DJ returned to the mic at 9:43 p.m., and began an introduction for a Grammy nominated artist.

Cell phones brighten the dark venue momentarily but quickly dimmed when attendees realized it wasn’t the headliner gracing the stage — it was Sunshine Anderson.

Used to distract fans from Keyshia’s CP time, the singer-turned radio personality tipped on stage in open-toe heels, donning a simple black top with un-curve friendly black tights.

With support of a backtrack, the North Carolina native noticeably lipped the lyrics to “Lunch or Dinner” from her 2001 debut, Your Woman.

Sunshine bought Keyshia more time to hit the stage as she started to actually sing her signature song “Heard It All Before.” It was obvious she didn’t warm up her voice. Her vocal execution reflected especially towards the collapsed bridge.

Despite Sunshine not possessing vocal conviction, she had the heart to fight through it.

The unimpressed concert-goers softly clapped to see Sunshine off the stage.

Two minutes before 10 p.m. a gentleman rocking a pink backpack sashayed on stage. Before exiting, he left two styrofoam cups on a stage podium.

“When you see him, that means Keyshia’s on her way,” shouted GO DJ HI C across the room.

Exactly seven minutes after 10 p.m., GO DJ HI C took the mic again and finally grabbed the audience’s attention. “Ladies and gentlemen, Keyshia Cole.”

With help from her security, the woman of the last two hours, walked up the side steps of the stage.

Dressed in a suede trench coat with matching heeled boots and ripped jeans, the Just Like You songstress kicked off the delayed show singing “I Should Have Cheated” off her first album, The Way It Is.

Keyshia quickly asked the audio engineer to adjust her inner ear before capping the song with an extended high note.

Joined by her three male dancers, the Oakland-bred singer moved swiftly through her medley of hits including “Enough of No Love,” “Shoulda Let You Go,” “I Changed My Mind” and “You.”

After wrapping up her remix to Chris Brown’s “Loyal,” Keyshia took off her winter coat to show off her shimmering silk shirt. Without officially apologizing for her tardiness, she mentioned being thankful for her fans as a means for damage control.

It didn’t seem to work, and she knew it. “Okay. Let’s go into the next song then,” she told GO DJ HI C.

She belted her biggest hits “I Remember,” and “Love” before she engaged in personal conversation with the crowd.

From requesting the crowds opinion on if she should back to Love and Hip-Hop: Hollywood to explaining why she opted to skip Thanksgiving dinner with her newly found dad, Virgil Hunter, Keyshia sincerely asked for fans to send her a prayer up the main line.

Thirty minutes into her set, Keyshia wanted fans to tell her what to perform next. Most songs fans mentioned like “Vault” and “Emotional” from her 11: 11 Reset album were off limits.

“This isn’t the tour guys,” she replied with a smile. “The tour doesn’t start until next year. But I cannot wait to perform those songs though.”

While she didn’t perform demanded cuts from her new album, she gave us “Incapable” along with a similar dance routine from the single’s accompanying visual.

Following three more songs, Keyshia ended the 45-minute set with her Grammy nominated record, “Let It Go.”

Before leaving the stage, she directed fans to meet her at Stats Restaurant and Bar for the official after-party.

Honestly, I feel like I wasted a trip to Charlotte. I didn’t leave with a wow experience. I expected her to sing more material from her silently released album. Yet, my wish didn’t come to fruition.

Keyshia treated her Fillmore performance like an afterthought. It appeared to me that she got a calendar reminder while she caught Black Friday sales on Fashion Nova’s website. After realizing her spot date, she called her style team and caught a red-eye flight to Charlotte Douglas International Airport.

Keyshia’s lateness was inexcusable and warranted a more sincere apology. Instead she rushed through her sloppy set list to get to the after-party.

Her running behind schedule wouldn’t have been terribly bad if she had a legit special guest. And I’m sorry, Sunshine Anderson doesn’t count.

Collectively, the two hours of DJing, the talent show performance from Sunshine Anderson and Keyshia Cole’s tardiness calls for a total refund. But I’m sure Live Nation is incapable of issuing it to us.

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