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!

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Mary J. Blige Talks ‘Mudbound’ Film with Tracee Ellis Ross

Mary J. Blige visited Jimmy Kimmel Live on Tuesday night to promote her role in the Netflix film, Mudbound.

The 46-year-old singer shared tons of laughs with guest host Tracee Ellis Ross, as she answered random questions on whether she prefers a window seat or aisle seat on flights, if she ever Googles herself and her favorite superhero.

Following the icebreakers, Blige switched gears and discussed her role in Mudbound. “It’s really a powerful film and there is a happy ending,” she said. “It’s a very relative story to today as well because a lot of people don’t seem to get the memo that we are free. We’re all free. All nationalities. We’re free.”

Blige also talked about the 25th anniversary of her debut album What’s the 411? She recalled her early memories of coming to Hollywood that era. “Then I came back to shoot the “I’m Going Down” video for the My Life album,” said Blige.

Watch the hilarious interview below.

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! 

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!

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