INTERVIEW: Tank Talks ‘Sex, Love & Pain 2’ Album, Collab With Chris Brown & Why His First Three Albums Aren’t On iTunes

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Tank is one hard working man. Just a year after releasing his Stronger album, the DMV native is gearing up to drop his new album Sex, Love & Pain 2 in December. The album serves as the sequel to Tank’s critically-acclaimed 2007 LP Sex, Love & Pain, which included his breakthrough single “Please Don’t Go.”

That’s not all, though. In between preparing for his new project, Tank is also getting ready to work on season two of TV One’s hit show Born Again Virgin. After earning impressive ratings throughout the first season, it was quickly renewed for a follow-up.

In a candid interview with Rated R&B, Tank talks about Born Again Virgin’s success, Sex, Love & Pain 2, his new record label and why his first three albums aren’t available on iTunes.

RATED R&B: Congrats on Born Again Virgin for getting renewed for a second season. How does it feel?

TANK: I love it! I think it’s a testimony to the fact that we have something good and something that people want to see. I’m excited. We had our highest rating show last week. The audience is growing. We’ll be back with a second season to give them more. The second season is pretty hysterical.

RATED R&B: Your new single “You Don’t Know” is out now and we love it! Tell us more about the record and what made you choose to enlist Wale?

TANK: Well, Eric Bellinger brought me a few records – I always call him when I’m making a new album. I said “Ooh, wee! That is something right there.” So, I recorded it and as I’m recording it I’m thinking somehow we’ve got to collab with somebody and make this a cool event. For me, the only person that made sense in terms of just how much nostalgic value the record has and how its speaking to the ladies. Wale was just an easy choice for that. It’s an opportunity for two hometown heroes – us being from the DMV – to finally connect and bring together something real cool.

RATED R&B: We hear you have a new record with Chris Brown on the album.

TANK: Me and CB always do something cool. I think this collaboration is probably our best one yet. It’s called “Birthday” and I have Siyah on the record, as well as Problem. It was just one of those things where it was like we started singing this birthday hook and it was kinda like, “This would be kind of cool – a birthday song. There hasn’t been a birthday song in a while – an R&B one and a cool one — let’s just roll with it.” We wrote the verse and I said “You know what, CB will kill the hook.” So I go over to the studio, play it for him and he was like “I love it! I need to sing the second verse too” [laughs]. We worked it out. We mixed it. We have Problem rapping. We Have Siyah rapping. It’s going to be our single to the DJ’s and to all the mix shows and all that stuff. It’s going to be out at the top of next month.

RATED R&B: Sex, Love & Pain 2 is the sequel to your 2007. Why do you believe a sequel was needed?

TANK: I feel like it was two people that did it. Of course, the fans they were screaming for it — “Aye! You need to do another Sex Love & Pain.” A lot of people feel like that was my best album. It was the first album that got me nominated for a Grammy. It was a great work. I think I needed to get back to that space of Sex Love & Pain because of the process of how we made that album. We just wanted to make some cool music. There was no pressure on us. There was no deadline. There was nothing. We made music on the edge of that line – that R&B line. We pushed the limits of R&B at that moment. This is that album. I wanted to get back to that energy, get back to that edge of R&B and getting back to pushing that line. I feel like it’s time.

RATED R&B: Did you work with the same producers on this album?

TANK: No. I kind of switched it up. I produced a lot of that album. I [also] worked with Brandon Hines out of Atlanta. He really set the tone of the tankalbum. He just brought me music that I felt like was the 2016 version of R&B music. Once he gave me those tracks, I knew where I wanted to go from there. I built around that. So we got him, I did about three or four songs and two more producers on there and that’s it. Most of the album is just me and [Brandon]. We locked in and found some magic.

RATED R&B: With all the success you had with SLP, do you feel pressured to outdo it this time around?

TANK: No, no pressure at all. Like I said when I made that album, I was just having fun. I’m just having fun making this album too. Hopefully, the people will respond to it. But for me, I’m just having a good time doing music. This is the music I want to sing. This is the music that I want to put out there. This is the energy I’m trying to get out there and let people know there’s Tank. Hopefully, they’ll receive it. I think they’ll feel good about it.

RATED R&B: We hear you launched a label called RnB Money. Is this true?

TANK: Yes, that’s the name of my label. My album will be the first offering off of that label.

RATED R&B: So, we noticed SLP isn’t on iTunes or any other digital retailer. What happened?

TANK: You would have to call Blackground Records and ask them why they don’t want to release any of my first three albums and why they don’t want to make any money and why they won’t let me make any money. That’s a conversation for them. They own the first three albums so it’s not really a lot I can do about that. That’s on them. They’ve got some good music that’s just sitting there collecting dust, which could be making a lot of money for them as well as myself. I got to keep moving on. There’s nothing I can do about that. Hence, we have SLP2. I’m able to continue to create the content and live on.

RATED R&B: Is there anything else you have coming up?

TANK: Yes, we’re going to start a promo tour in the middle of next month. We’re going to go everywhere we can go. We’re going to get back out there and run for president. That’s what that campaign looks like. We’re going city to city. We’re going to do listening parties, hosting, shows, radio, in-stores, everything. We’re going to take it back to the old school and hit these streets and really grind it out.

Make sure you follow Tank on Twitter/Instagram at @TheRealTank. Also, buy his new single “You Don’t Know” featuring Wale on iTunes.

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Tank Recruits Trey Songz and Ty Dolla Sign for ‘When We’ Remix

Tank’s gold-selling single “When We” continues to evolve.The R&B General teams up with his label mates Trey Songz and Ty Dolla $ign for the official remix.

Hoping to add spice to Valentine’s Day playlists, the three R&B crooners update the sex-driven track with their own bedroom escapades.

Trigga opens up the track with his seductive verse, where he tells his woman he wants to take his time making sweet love to her. “I love the way you fuck me / But you don’t understand it’s way more than fucking when I fuck you / I would cross the ocean for you / Stroking through the ocean for you,” he sings.

Dolla Sign follows up with a braggadocio verse about his lovemaking skills. “Ride me like a pony / These niggas so phony / Treat you like a trophy / You know I pick up when the phone rings / You know I go deep until I make you scream,” he sings.

The original version of “When We” appears on Tank’s latest album, Savage, which released last fall. The song has over 17 million streams on Spotify alone.

Listen to Tank’s “When We (Remix)” below.

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Top 10 R&B Albums of 2017

2017 started off kind of slow with R&B releases but quickly picked up as the year progressed. There were a good amount of newcomers like SZA and Daniel Caesar who made an impact on their debut projects. We also saw comebacks from R&B vets like Bell Biv DeVoe and Xscape. The Rated R&B editorial team has compiled a list of the top 10 albums of 2017.

Check it out below (please note: these are in no particular order).

Chante Moore – The Rise of the Phoenix

Chante Moore has taken “50 and Fabulous” to another level with her seventh solo studio album The Rise of the Phoenix. Her artistry has aged well over the course of her 25-year career, as she sounds “Moore” confident than ever. While the LP covers the entire spectrum of love, the album’s upbeat, feel-good tracks stand out the most for their radio appeal and contemporary sound. The album’s current sound doesn’t come at the cost of Ms. Moore’s vocals, as she showcases her range (including whistle tones!) on her most tender ballads of regret and vulnerability. Even the interludes deserve a playback! Chante Moore simply delivered, and if you just can’t get enough of this album, then her latest Christmas album should carry you through every holiday season to come. — Nathan

Standout Selections: “Something to Remember,” “Offa-U,” “Saving Grace,” “Pray,” “I’d Be a Fool”

Daley – The Spectrum

Daley is probably one of the most underrated R&B acts out now. Known for his spacey R&B sound, the British singer adds a little color to his sophomore effort, The Spectrum. Feel-good songs like “Sympathy” and “Slow Burn” will have you dancing to the rhythmic production. But don’t let that fool you, though. There are vulnerable moments of heartbreak (“Until the Pain is Gone”) and self-reflection (“True”). — Keithan

Standout selections: “Until the Pain is Gone” feat. Jill Scott, “On Fire,” “Sympathy” and “Second to None”

SZA – Ctrl

Insecurities, fear, and doubt may permeate the lyrical content of this body of work, but SZA is more artistically reassured than ever on her breakout record Ctrl. Sonically gorgeous, the album not only sounds better with each listens, but it feels better with each listen as well. Over time, you’ll find yourself liking songs you didn’t like before and loving the ones you initially did even more. It’s evident that SZA is still adjusting to the overwhelming response of praise for her debut effort, but as the only female R&B artist to find major urban mainstream success this year, it’s simply par for the course of success. If she continues to ride in her own lane, there’s no telling what destinations she will reach by the end of her musical journey. — Nathan

Standout Selections: “Broken Clocks,” “Garden (Say it Like Dat),” “Wavy (Interlude) [feat. James Fauntleroy)” and “Go Gina”

Daniel Caesar – Freudian 

A product of the black church, the Toronto-born R&B singer’s debut album, Freudian, is very much rooted in gospel influences — from the piano-driven sound to solid backing vocals from a full choir. While there is much celebration of love on this album, there are also songs of regret and sorrow, as if Caesar is grappling with his own personal struggles with religion and theology as it relates to a past love. Perhaps, this is why he chose to name his album Freudian. — Nathan 

Standout selections: “Get You,” “Best Part,” “Blessed” and “Hold Me Down”

K. Michelle – Kimberly: The People I Used to Know

K. Michelle has never been one to hold anything back, but on Kimberly: The People I Used to Know, she unveils every inch of herself in an unprecedented unapologetic fashion. The album kicks off with her rapping obscenities and concludes with one of her most soulful records to date – and in between lies an ode to James Brown, a timely Debarge sample-led criticism of mainstream media’s treatment of black women, a jazzy dose of shade to Kirk Frost (and his three or four earrings), and back-to-back country ballads. While this may sound musically sporadic, the flow of the album is quite natural and effortless. Her heart may lie in country music, but she knows how to make a solid R&B record; This is certainly her first album with multiple viable radio singles.The People I Used to Know is less about switching musical lanes and more about shifting artistic gears as the album progresses — leading the Memphis-bred songstress down the road to one of the most complete R&B works of the year. — Nathan

Standout Selections: “Takes Two” feat. Jeremih, “Crazy Like You,” “Giving Up on Love,” “God, Love, Sex, and Drugs”

Mary J. Blige – Strength of a Woman

Capitalizing on her divorce news and cringe-worthy moments that logged the past five years of her personal and professional existence, Mary J. Blige wore her troubled emotions heavily on sleeves of Strength of a Woman. Beginning with a powerful opening track that revisits Blige’s hip-hop soul roots and yields her first-ever music union with Yeezy, Strength scales between claiming back the power she regretfully hid behind the love for her estranged husband-manager to now recognizing how resilient she is well beyond her celebrity status. Blige even found time to be the right amount of petty and unleash a high dose of saltiness topped with sweet revenge over trapsoul instrumentations ushered in by a new school of hungry music tasters like Camper and Prince Charlez who wanted to see her win again. — Antwane

Standout selections: “U + Me (Love Lesson),”  “Set Me Free” “Survivor” and “Telling the Truth” featuring Kaytranada

Ledisi – Let Love Rule

Shining a fully charged flashlight of hope, Ledisi tunnels her way through all love’s madness on Let Love Rule. Even though the New Orléans native has the voice of an angel, Rule doesn’t digest well on the first or second listen. I say this not bash or discredit Ledisi’s musical abilities but to say, if you’re a frequent radio listener, this album won’t impress you. This record isn’t chasing the minute, ready to serve sounds of R&B. It’s an album that increasingly ages after each playback. With Let Love Rule, Ledisi uses this collection of ballads and melodic compositions to educate hearers about social injustices, how to present in your relationship and the power of waiting for the stars to align in your favor. She doesn’t do half bad either. — Antwane

Standout selections: “Here,” “All the Way,” “High” and “Us 4 Ever” featuring BJ the Chicago Kid

Tamar Braxton – Bluebird of Happiness

Bluebird of Happiness may universally signify prosperity, joy, and delight but Tamar Braxton’s album version has a far deeper meaning. Absorbed by samples from the yesteryears of R&B, the youngest Braxton sister uses her definition of Bluebird to share the private wounds from her dissolving marriage from Vincent Herbert. Balancing the dark and light colors of musical tones, this solid recording not only hears Braxton harping on the foulness of love but finding moments to celebrate its presence and all its other glorious wonders. While being fully against Braxton calling it quits as a solo artist, Bluebird of Happiness definitely leaves a lasting impression in the hearts and minds of her loyal Tamartian fans – for now. — Antwane

Standout selections: “The Makings of You,” “My Forever,” “My Man,” and “Wanna Love Me Boy”

Tank – Savage

Serving as the follow-up to 2016’s Sex Pain & Love II, Tank takes an aggressive approach on Savage. He instantly hooks listeners with the title track before taking them on a musical journey through the bedroom with songs like “When We” and “F It Up.” The album isn’t just about sex, though. There are moments when he’s just singing about love, whether it’s the good times or trying to rekindle an old flame. — Keithan

Standout selections: “When We,” “Good Thing,” “Do For Me” and “Nothing On”

Jhene Aiko – Trip

After making a false start with her 2016 single “Maniac,” Jhene Aiko made a strong recovery with her second studio album, Trip. Released with no prior announcement, the 22-track LP is Aiko’s open diary that uncovers some of her most vulnerable moments. From dealing with the death of her brother to breakups, Aiko takes her listeners on an emotional rollercoaster through love, pain, depression, and happiness. Trip may be her most raw and honest project to date. — Keithan

Standout selections: “Sativa” featuring Swae Lee, “While We’re Young,” “New Balance” and “OLLA” featuring Big Sean

Sabrina Claudio – About Time
**honorary mention**

OK, About Time may technically be a mixtape but Sabrina Claudio certainly made it feel like an album. Laced with angelic harmonies and mesmerizing lyrics, About Time finds Claudio singing about…time (literally). “During the process of writing these songs, I was worried about time for some reason,” she said. “And it didn’t have to do with a relationship — maybe just career-wise I was worried about time and it translated through my music.” — Keithan

Standout selections: “Belong to You,” “Frozen,” “Natural” and “Stand Still”

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Interview: Tamar Braxton Talks Happiness, Lesson Learned This Year and Holiday Favorites

Tamar Braxton is an open book, especially in her music. From songs like “Raise the Bar” and “White Candle” to “Broken Record” and “King,” the Grammy-nominated singer knows how to pen the ups and downs of love.

In late September, the Maryland native released her fourth and last album, Bluebird of Happiness. The 11-track set unfolded the private love stories with her estranged husband and former manager, Vincent Herbert.

As a special guest on The Great Xscape Tour, Braxton soothes her wounded love scars by addressing her true feelings on stage. With profound performances of “Blind” and “My Man,” her fans get to witness her being vulnerable, yet buoyant during her healing process.

Rated R&B caught up with Braxton backstage after her 45-minute set at the Colonial Life Arena in Columbia, SC to talk about her last album, happiness, her holiday favorites and more.

Check out the interview below.

RATED R&B: You’re currently on The Great Xscape Tour. What’s been your favorite or most memorable moment so far?

TAMAR: I think the most memorable moment was when Kandi and Tiny were in my dressing room in North Carolina while the Alabama game was going on. Of course everyone in the city was gone to that game but we managed to still sell out. We were like, “Oh my God, can you believe that we are here? We really made it. We really did it.” Tiny and I always said we wanted to do this since we were younger. We just didn’t know it would be like this.

RATED R&B: “Blind” is moving up on the urban AC radio chart. Can we expect a visual for the song in the near future?

TAMAR: Well, that’s a long story but I’m going to say yes. There were a lot of obstacles when we put out Bluebird of Happiness that we didn’t expect to happen, but they did and we had to put it out anyway. There was a movie attached to this album but it got detoured. We’re trying to fix it now. We’re playing the waiting game.

RATED R&B: Is there another single choice in mind if the video for “Blind” doesn’t come out?

TAMAR: I don’t know. I always wanted either the Yo Gotti record “Hol’ Up” or “The Makings of You” to be singles. We’ll see.

RATED R&B: Speaking of “The Makings of You,” that record along with “Pick Me Up,” are just some of the many songs on Bluebird of Happiness with incredible samples or interpolations of timeless R&B records. Which record took the longest to get cleared?

TAMAR: I honestly did not have any pushback at all. In the past it does take a long time. I think producers went into this record prepared themselves for it [laughs]. It’s so funny the Gladys Knight record came up though. I’ve been knowing her for a very long time. Her son wanted to take me to the prom back in the day [laughs]. I explained to her what the song meant to me and how Claudine is one of my favorite movies. She was like “Of course, darling.” Curtis Mayfield’s estate was so generous too.

RATED R&B: What makes Tamar Braxton happy?

TAMAR: What makes me happy is being around good people, laughing and smiling — not having any drama because I don’t have time for it. During our show prayer today, I was saying, “God thank you so much for such a great group people” because we have absolutely no drama. Also, being a good mother to my son Logan. I believe co-parenting with Vince and getting along with him to make sure Logan has a stable family environment is important in making me happy.

RATED R&B: On each album, your sound matures and your writing abilities continue to become more superb. How has your evolution as an artist helped you evolve personally and professionally?

TAMAR: I’ve always been a stickler on professionalism [laughs]. But personally, I think I am more honest about my feelings and how I truly feel. I have no problem telling you how I truly feel. It’s something about telling the truth that is liberating. I know now that there’s a way to deliver it [laughs]. The only time you find the truth to be offensive is when you’re not ready for it. You have to be ready for it. You have to be ready for evolving. Honesty is what helps us evolve. That’s what works for me.

RATED R&B: You are very active on social media. With you having such a huge following, how do you deal with any negativity that comes your way?

TAMAR: I take it as an opinion. I don’t know you, so I’m not going to feed into you. The only time that you have real negativity is when you feed into it. Most of the time these people don’t know what they’re talking about. But like I said on stage tonight, “People are always going to have something to say. You just might as well live your best life to the way you want to live it because everyone is going to have a comment.” So however you feel, God bless you but this is what works for me [laughs].

RATED R&B: With 2017 coming to an end, what’s one lesson you’ve learned this year?

TAMAR: For me, not to put yourself down. Don’t beat up on yourself. I remember when I use to beat up on myself constantly. Instead of looking at the things that I did achieve, I looked at the things I didn’t. It took away from the overall pure happiness that I wanted to achieve. I couldn’t get there if I constantly beat myself up. It’s almost like I was my own hater [laughs]. I already have people on social media saying negative things about me, why do I need to add to it? So you have to be your biggest cheerleader and believe in yourself. You have to get to a point where you don’t care and just do you.

RATED R&B: So the holidays are here. I know that you’re a foodie. What’s your favorite holiday dish?

TAMAR: Chitlins [laughs]. My mom pulls the membrane out so the house isn’t stinking. I haven’t had it this year because I haven’t had a Thanksgiving dinner yet.

RATED R&B: Favorite holiday song?

TAMAR: I would have to say “The Christmas Song.” It doesn’t get any better than Nat King Cole, my sister [Toni Braxton’s], Mariah [Carey’s] and Whitney [Houston’s] versions.

RATED R&B: Favorite holiday movie?

TAMAR: Right now it’s Caillou’s Holiday Movie. I’ve seen it a 150,000 times thanks to Logan [laughs].

RATED R&B: Favorite childhood Christmas gift?

TAMAR: The Nintendo Power Pad. It was when Nintendo first came out and they had these little blocks that you could run on and jump over. It was the bomb [laughs]. Everybody is missing out now [laughs].

Make Tamar Braxton’s final album, Bluebird of Happiness, a holiday stocking stuffer this season. The new album is available everywhere.

Follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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