5 Reasons We Love Erykah Badu

erykah-badu

Erykah Badu is without a doubt a music legend. From “Window Seat” to “On&On” and beyond, Badu has proven herself to be not only a musical genius but also a powerhouse throughout other aspects of the culture like fashion, healing practices, education and so much more. From the release of her 1997 classic album Baduizm all the way to 2015’s But You Caint Use My Phone, Badu has continued to bring the illest and most soulful vibes while entertaining us in almost every other aspect of her life simultaneously.

“I’m free. I just do what I want, say what I want, say how I feel, and I don’t try to hurt nobody. I just try to make sure that I don’t compromise my art in any kind of way, and I think people respect that” — Erykah Badu

Here are Rated R&B’s five reasons to love Erykah Badu.

Russell Simmons And Steve Rifkind Host ADD52 Live in LA

Musically, she’s more than just a singer.

Badu’s smooth and unique voice has helped her reach great heights in the music business, no doubt, however, her work as a DJ, rapper, producer and songwriter have shown that she is an overall force in more than one part of the music business. One of Badu’s other “personas” of sorts is DJ Lo Down Loretta Brown. She DJs at music festivals, award shows and so much more. Her work as a DJ, as well as a producer, has shown that she can be at both the forefront and the background of music.

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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! 

Top 5 Tracks from Rihanna’s ‘Unapologetic’ Album

Rihanna Unapologetic album

Rihanna has been, is, and will always be a hit maker; There’s a reason why she has fourteen No. 1 singles spanning all the way back to her second album (and just for the record, her debut single “Pon de Replay” peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.) Coming off her Talk That Talk album in 2011, which featured international hits “We Found Love” and “Where Have You Been,” it was time for Rihanna to take it up another notch when it came to her next album. Working with fresh blood in producers Mike-Will-Made-IT and Labyrinth while enlisting pop mainstays David Guetta and Stargate, the result was Unapologetic: an eclectic mix of EDM, trap, dance, R&B, and pop songs that scaled the musical and lyrical landscape. If this album was an avatar, it’d be “The Last Genre-Bender.”

Unapologetic marked two things: Rihanna’s first artistically complete album and first No. 1 album. While Rated R and Talk That Talk had some “woah” moments, this album found Rihanna elevating her musical core to new heights. She’s still Bad Gal RiRi, but with more wisdom, more vocal strength, and with a newfound sense of artistic confidence. It’s no wonder why it won a Grammy award for “Best Urban Contemporary Album.”

Here at Rated R&B, we’ve compiled what we consider as the best tracks from Rihanna’s seventh studio album. Check out the list below:

“Loveeeeeee Song” (feat. Future)

Future always shines when paired with female artists, but his “Loveeeeeee Song” collaboration with Rihanna might be his best duet to date. The Luney Tunez-produced cut finds the two artists flirting with idea commitment, but being temporarily satisfied with the current arrangement of keeping things purely physical. “I don’t wanna give you the wrong impression / I need love and affection / And I hope I’m not sounding too desperate / I need love and affection,” they sing. On this album full of hard-hitting choruses and club-ready bass drops, this smooth late-night thumper stands out in the best way. Rihanna’s verses and Future’s bridge eventually explodes into a lush, beautifully crafted final chorus between the two of them. If you think “Kiss it Better” is Rihanna’s best bedroom banger, then “Loveeeeeee Song” definitely gives it a run for its money.

“Get It Over With”

While the album spotlights an array of emotional lows and insecurities, there’s a silver lining thanks to this instrument-laden track. Written by Ms. Fenty, Brian Kennedy, and the ever-talented James Fauntleroy, “Get It Over With” is the ballad of broken dreams, but also a song of hope. “It’s dark in the day / I’ll say now don’t complain / Look up the sun is just a cloud away / You’re so afraid to cry / But your heart be feeling dry / It’s time to change,” Rihanna sings in the first verse. Fauntleroy is a master of stacking vocals, so it’s no surprise that we find Rihanna’s background vocals more than on point here. Paired with snaps and solemn violins, this song is the perfect mixture of resilience, strength, and sadness, which is why it makes this list.

“What Now”

Rihanna has mastered the art of emoting over the years, and “What Now” is just one flash of brilliance in her extensive discography. Co-written by fellow Bajan Livvi Franc and British producers Nathan Cassells and Parker Ighile, the song explores the dissatisfaction one feels when they’ve settled, whether that be in love, career, or life in general. “Whatever it is/It feels like it’s laughing at me through the glass of a two-sided mirror/Whatever it is/It’s just laughing at me/And I just wanna scream,” she sings. The lyrics cut just as deep as its smashing chorus, but what really elevates this song is its climax where Rihanna repeats the cadence “I don’t know where to go/I don’t know what to feel/I don’t know how to cry/I don’t know, oh-oh, why!” The winding guitar, raw emotion, and pounding bass culminates into one of the best musical moments on the album.

“Nobody’s Business” (feat. Chris Brown)

Although this collaboration didn’t make as much of a splash as their “Birthday Cake” remix, Chris Brown and Rihanna still shocked fans by linking up on this groovy duet. Co-written by Rihanna and long-time collaborator The-Dream, the song finds the ex-lovers proclaiming their love for each other, and telling off nay-sayers in the process. “You’ll always be mine / Sing it to the world / You’ll always be my boy / I’ll always be your girl / Ain’t nobody’s business / Ain’t nobody’s business / Ain’t nobody’s business / But mine and my baby,” they sing. It’s no surprise that this track contains an interpolation from “The Way You Make Me Feel,” because this euro-dance joint feels like a new-age Michael Jackson record. Breezy and Rih trade parts effortlessly; their natural chemistry is apparent. Even five years later, this song feels fresh, yet timeless, which is why it lands on this list.

“Stay” (feat. Mikky Ekko)

There’s always something special about an artist’s voice over a grand piano, which is more than clear on this tender ballad. Written largely in part by featured artist Mikky Ekko, “Stay” is almost like the continuation of “Loveeeeeee Song,” except with more feelings and time invested. “Not really sure how to feel about it / Something in the way you move / Makes me feel like I can’t live without you / And it takes me all the way / I want you to stay,” Rihanna sings. Even though the song is obviously brilliant, the reason it makes this list is because of Rihanna’s vocal showing. While her voice holds the same type of raw emotion as “What Now,” Rih wields it quite differently, drawing the audience in and pulling away with each sharp breath, vocal crack and sustained note. This all lends itself to the push-and-pull of the actual relationship that the song speaks of, which really speaks to her growth artistically and dedication to the edgier, tougher vision for Unapologetic. Major props go to Kuk Harrell, who is the vocal engineer and producer on this song as well as the entire album.

Stream Unapologetic on Spotify below.

What’s your favorite song on Unapologetic? Let us know in the comment section below!

13 Magical R&B Mashups That You Need to Hear

As music fans, we frequently come up with theories and ideas about how some of the industry’s greatest artist would sound if they collaborated. And while some have passed away, the music and messages of those R&B artists live on thanks to the internet’s new obsession: mashups. Within the last few months, SoundCloud, social media and YouTube have been flooded with marvelous musical mashups from our favorite R&B artists, ranging from Bruno Mars all the way back to classic Aaliyah.

Here at Rated R&B, we’ve decided to compile a list of the best thirteen that we’ve come across so far, so that you too can receive these blessings:

Brandy and Monica’s “The Boy is Mine” + Mya’s “Case of the Ex (Whatcha Gonna Do)”

Credit: The “audiosavage” YouTube Channel

Brandy and Monica signature duet is a perfect fit for the production on Mya’s confrontational hit single.

Bruno Mars’s “24K Magic” + Ariana Grande’s “Greedy” + Missy Elliott’s “I’m Really Hot” + Snoop Dogg’s “Signs” + Montell Jordan’s “This Is How We Do It” + Craig David’s “What’s Ya Flava”

Credit: The “Raheem D” YouTube Channel

This sounds like a total disaster, but it works out INCREDIBLY well.

Ariana Grande’s “Into You” + Aaliyah’s “One in a Million”

Credit: The “GrandeKush” YouTube Channel

Ariana and Aaliyah’s vocals float effortlessly over the latter’s legendary production.

Kehlani’s “Distraction” + Destiny Child’s “Say My Name”

Credit: The “oneboredjeu Mashup” YouTube Channel

Kehlani’s swaggy rap-singing style fits like a glove over the beat to the Destiny’s Child hit.

One Direction’s “Steal My Girl” + Beyonce’s “Party”

Credit: The “Raheem D” YouTube Channel

The “Party” beat proves magical on this knockout mashup with One Direction.

Rihanna’s “Sex With Me” + Ginuwine’s “Pony

Credit: The “who tf is amorphous” SoundCloud Account

Sexy gets even sexier when Rihanna’s platinum selling ANTI cut is laid over Ginuwine’s most notable track.

Aaliyah’s “Try Again” + Janet Jackson’s “Dammn Baby”

Credit: The “Raheem D” YouTube Channel

Aaliyah and Janet are flawlessly interwoven on this stellar mashup.

JoJo’s “F*ck Apologies” + 3LW’s “No More (Baby I’mma Do Right)”

Credit: The “oneboredjeu Mashup” YouTube Channel

JoJo’s Mad Love. lead single, featuring Wiz Khalifa, gets an early 2000s redo thanks to the instrumental of 3LW’s debut single.

Ariana Grande’s “Sometimes” + Nelly and Kelly Rowland’s “Dilemma”

Credit: The “oneboredjeu Mashup” YouTube Channel

The Dangerous Woman track’s vocals and lyrics finally get the proper production they deserve thanks to Nelly and Kelly’s Grammy award winning smash hit from the early 2000s.

Mariah Carey’s “Emotions” + Bruno Mars’s “That’s What I Like”

Credit: The “Roan Nair” YouTube Channel

This early 90s Mariah hit gets a modern twist thanks to its pairing with Bruno’s latest hit.

Aaliyah’s “If Your Girl Only Knew” + Brandy’s “Top of the World”

Credit: The “who tf is amorphous” SoundCloud Account

The sultry vocals of Aaliyah’s “If Your Girl Only Knew” get a boost in bass by the instrumental of Brandy and Ma$e’s “Top of the World.”

Ariana Grande’s “Breaking Free” + Ciara’s “Body Party”

Credit: The “oneboredjeu Mashup” YouTube Channel

If we didn’t know how an R&B album from Ariana Grande would sound, maybe this amazing mashup can give us an idea.

Whitney Houston’s “Fine” + Michael Jackson’s “You Rock My World”

Credit: The “audiosavage” YouTube Channel

Legends combine as Whitney’s underrated bass guitar-heavy cut gets a makeover thanks to this Michael Jackson jam.

What about you? Which matchup is your favorite? Let us know in the comment section below!

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