Chart Check: SZA, Tamar Braxton and Demetria McKinney Score Top 10 Hits

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 August 12, 2017:

Double Duty: SZA and Tamar Braxton

SZA and Tamar Braxton are holding it down for the ladies of R&B on both Urban and Urban AC radio. On the Urban radio chart, SZA scores her first Top 10 as “Love Galore” lifts 11-9. Serving as the lead single for her Ctrl album, the Travis Scott-assisted hit gained 353 spins on urban radio in the latest tracking week. Tamar Braxton also got some love for her single “My Man,” as it received two adds and 387 radio spins this week. The song is No.4 on Urban AC radio.

On the Urban AC chart, “My Man” remains at the No. 5 spot, but gains a 121 spin increase at Adult R&B radio, the second most for the week. Meanwhile, “Love Galore” is gearing up to impact the Urban AC radio format with six radio adds this week. 

Chart Update: “Set Me Free” and “Wild Thoughts”

 

Mary J. Blige poses for a portrait to promote the film, “Mudbound”, at the Music Lodge during the Sundance Film Festival on Saturday, Jan. 21, 2017, in Park City, Utah. (Photo by Taylor Jewell/Invision/AP)

Mary J. Blige continues to find success from her latest album, Strength of a Woman, as “Set Me Free” soars on the Adult R&B chart. The rising single had the most increase in radio spins and was the second most added song on Adult R&B radio in the latest tracking week. Billboard deemed it the “Greatest Gainer” on this week’s chart.

On the mainstream side, DJ Khaled’s “Wild Thoughts” is officially the No. 1 song on Urban radio as it rises 3-1 this week. The saucy single, which features hitmaker Rihanna and leading R&B artist Bryson Tiller, is up 532 spins on urban radio, and hold an audience of almost 33 million people. It remains at the No. 2 spot on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart.

New Developments: Demetria McKinney and After 7

Demetria McKinney Album Cover

After weeks of flirting with the Top 10 spot the past few weeks, Demetria McKinney finally earns her first Urban AC Top 10 this week as “Easy” rises 12-10. The slow-burning single saw a 56 spin increase at Adult R&B radio this week. McKinney also unveiled the cover art and details to her upcoming debut album Officially Yours this week, which is slated for an Oct. 6 release.

After 7 is also on the move this week; they’ve selected “Too Late” as their new single from their latest album Timeless. The song got 12 adds on Urban AC radio, which is tied for most adds this week. Their current single “Runnin’ Out” firmly holds at the No. 4 spot this week.

Quick Notes: Will Downing, Le’Andria Johnson, and Vivian Green

In quick notes: Will Downing has released his new single “I’m Feeling the Love” featuring Avery*Sunshine. Receiving 4 adds on Urban AC radio, It will serve as the lead single for his upcoming 20th studio album Soul Survivor, due on September 22. LeAndria Johnson is all set to land onto the Adult R&B chart next week with her inspirational tune “All I Got,” as it sits at No. 31 this week. The single is lifted from the gospel singer’s newly released album Bigger Than Me, which was executively produced by R&B heavyweights and dynamic production duo Chuck Harmony and Claude Kelly. Vivian Green is back on the R&B scene with her new single “I Don’t Know.” The first offering from her upcoming sixth studio album, the track gained 12 adds at adult R&B radio this week.

Enjoyed this week’s Chart Check? How well do you think Tamar’s “My Man” will do on Urban radio? What’s new R&B singles are on your playlists? Any R&B specific questions? Let us know in the comment section below.

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Chart Check: Lyrica Anderson and A1 Heat Up Urban Radio, K. Michelle Lands on Urban AC

Lyrica Anderson A1 Bentley K. Michelle

Welcome back to another edition of Chart Check! Each week, Rated R&B provides detailed insight to the 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 November 25, 2017:

Urban Radio

Cassie has officially returned with her new single “Love a Loser.” The song, which features rapper G-Eazy, received 14 adds on urban radio formats in the latest tracking week. This is Cassie’s first single since “The Boys” with Nicki Minaj, which was released in 2012.

Married musicians and Love and Hip Hop: Hollywood” stars Lyrica Anderson and Floyd “A1” Bentley have been working behind the scenes writing and producing songs for other artists for years, but 2017 is looking to be the year for their own work to finally take off. This week, A1’s SWV-sampled single “Always” landed on the official urban radio chart at No. 40. The song, which features Chris Brown and Ty Dolla $ign, gained a 213 spin increase since last week. Meanwhile, Lyrica is floating four spots under with her tune “Don’t Take it Personal,” which is the lead single from her recently released album Adia. The song was spun 496 times and picked up one add at urban radio in the latest tracking week.

N.E.R.D. and Rihanna are two of the music industry’s most elusive acts, but they may have a hit on their hands with their new collaboration “Lemon.” After being released just a few short weeks ago, the bouncy banger has officially landed on the Urban radio chart at No. 39. The song garnered a whopping 420 spin increase at urban formats, the third-most in the latest tracking week.

Urban AC Radio

dvsn is ready to multiply their recent success by sending their first single to radio. That’s right: “Mood” has been selected as the first radio single from their latest album Morning After, which was released on Oct. 13. The single received eight adds on R&B radio formats, which is the most for the latest tracking week.

MAJOR. has returned to the R&B scene with his new single “Honest,” which leapt onto the Urban AC chart at No. 17 last week. The momentum continues this week as the piano driven ballad skips 17-16, garnering a 60 spin increase since last week. The song also received six more adds at R&B radio formats.

With her first charting single, K. Michelle’s new era has officially begun! This week, “Make This Song Cry” landed at No. 27 on Billboard’s Adult R&B chart, thanks to a 51 spin increase since last week. This is the first radio single from the Memphis-bred singer’s upcoming fourth studio album Kimberly: The People I Used to Know, which is set for a Dec. 8 release date.

Quick Notes

And in quick notes: Miguel’s War & Leisure lead single “Sky Walker” is picking up speed as it rises 16-14 on this week’s Urban radio chart. The single received a 282 spin increase and has crossed the 10 million mark in urban radio audience; Rapper DeJ Loaf and singer Jacquees’ new single “At The Club” continues to rise on urban radio, sitting just 3 spots below the official chart. The song received four adds in the latest tracking week; John Legend’s newest Darkness & Light single “Penthouse Floor” debuts at No. 26 on this week’s Urban AC chart. The song, which features Chance the Rapper, was the highest debut of the week; and finally, Kenny Lattimore has finally made a “Push” right onto the Urban AC chart, as he is the last of the three debuts this week. His new single, from his new album Vulnerable, landed at No. 28 with a total of 211 spins at R&B radio and formats.

What about you? Are you feeling Lyrica and A1’s new singles? How well do you think Cassie’s new song will do? Did you enjoy this week’s Chart Check? Let us know how you feel in the comment section 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!

SZA’s Debut Album ‘Ctrl’ Goes Gold

SZA’s first full-length project, Ctrl, is now certified gold by the Recording Industry of America Association (RIAA). The singer went on Instagram to share her excitement about her career milestone.

“Dis feel like really big jewelry ..THANK U FOR CHANGING MY LIFE IN WAYS I NEVER IMAGINED,” she wrote. “Thank each of you for connecting [with] this album and making me feel less lonely.. less inadequate. Thank u for Building this family with me .Thank u for a relationship I couldn’t buy or explain …Thanks for Giving this raggedy Ann sumn to smile about . I LOVE YOU.”

Ctrl was released in June and features her platinum-selling single “Love Galore” featuring Travis Scott.

SZA is currently on her Ctrl Tour, which concludes on December 12 in St. Louis, Mo.