Instagram Photos Of The Week: Fantasia, Miguel, Janelle Monae, Usher, more

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Our latest installment of Instagram Photos Of The Week finds R&B singers at the gym, in the studio, with family, backstage at a show and much more. Be sure to follow us on Instagram (@ratedrnb)!

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Keithan is the founder/editor-in-chief of Rated R&B

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15 Times Missy Elliott Brought ‘FIYAH’ To R&B Music

Let’s be clear, Missy Elliott is and will always be universally relevant in the world of music.

Misdemeanor Elliott has been an unstoppable force since establishing herself as a trailblazer for R&B and hip-hop music and its culture in the early 90s. Some people, such as myself, may say they first heard Elliott and her iconic “hee-hee-hee-hee-how” line on Gina Thompson’s hit “The Things I Do.” Others may remember Elliott’s artistic expression in a large black trash bag from her 1997 video “The Rain.”

What remains consistent with those possible introductions to Ms. Elliott is R&B has been the meeting place. For instance, the chorus on “The Rain” samples “I Can’t Stand the Rain” by ‘70s soul diva Ann Peebles. Missy Elliott not only lent her rap talents to the remix of Thompson’s lead single – she co-penned the track too, which is one of the reasons why we’re here.

For the past few months, Elliott has been on Twitter sharing memories of writing and producing R&B songs for past and present artists. Rated R&B has compiled a list of Elliott’s top 15 R&B hits that she either produced, wrote or was featured on, along with a reason why they are absolute FIYAH (as Elliott would say).

Aaliyah – “One in a Million”

Written by: Melissa “Missy” Elliott & Timothy “Timbaland” Mosley
Produced by: Timbaland

“One in a Million” is FIYAH because it helped shift the direction of R&B and way we heard it with its advanced melting pot of melody and rhythmic. From Kanye West and BJ the Chicago Kid to Jay Z and Tink, the cultural impact of this record is undeniable. The song spent six weeks at No.1 on Billboard’s R&B/Hip-Hop Airplay chart.

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A Decade Later: 5 Love Lessons From Usher’s ‘Here I Stand’ Album

“A lot of what I plan to offer with this album is kinda standing in this spot. … The king’s back. I ain’t gonna say ‘back,’ I never left,” proclaimed Usher in an MTV interview in 2007. Six months after making this bold statement, the R&B crooner released Here I Stand, his first album since 2004’s multi-platinum Confessions.

A lot happened in Usher’s personal life since his Confessions era. From ending his relationship with singer Chili and parting ways with his mother as manager to losing his father and becoming a father and husband, Usher wanted his life experiences to reflect in the records on Here I Stand.

Although he recorded some of Here I Stand before the birth of his first son and his marriage to then-wife Tameka Foster, his new music direction was already in the works. “It was a deliberate choice to make music with substance, not just about the things that we’re accustomed to—music about being the celebrity, the player, or having the car, the girl and the bling,” he told ESSENCE in 2008.

Led by Polow da Don-produced single “Love in the Club” featuring Jeezy, Usher’s fifth LP was released on May 13, 2008. It spawned four other moderately successful singles (“Love in the Club Part. II,” “Moving Mountains,” “Trading Places” and title track) and eventually became certified platinum by the RIAA.

To celebrate its 10th anniversary, here are five love lessons from Here I Stand.

“Trading Places”

Lesson 1: Roleplay is healthy.

Sometimes we get comfortable sticking to societal norms (i.e. a man pays for movie and dinner, women cooks and clean). But who said we have to follow those exhausting rules? Whatever keeps your relationship thriving, do it.

“His Mistakes”

Lesson 2: The past is the past for a reason.

Give your ex’s successor a chance to make their spot in your heart their own. While your former love may have treated you wrong, that baggage shouldn’t be carried into your next relationship. Share those hurtful moments to your next mate the beginning, and just give them an opportunity to prove himself until they show you otherwise.

“Love You Gently”

Lesson 3: Slow down baby, the loving ain’t going nowhere.

There’s nothing wrong with a quicky every now and then but it can’t be the norm in the bedroom. You can’t just get yours and forget about them. Your significant other deserves a pleasurable loving making experience, too.

“Moving Mountains”

Lesson 4: If you’re not happy, just leave.

Unless your lover practices sorcery, they probably can’t read your mind. Walking around with an attitude and being distance won’t rebuild a broken relationship. If they can’t get through to you, how can a bond be mended? Here’s some advice: talk up. You can either love them or leave them alone. It’s that simple.

“Something Special”

Lesson 5: Show love any time, any place.

If you love your mate, then let them (and the world) know it’s real. Not to say you put your relationship on display all the time. But there’s nothing wrong with cute little reminders, especially if it’s a solid connection.

Revisit Here I Stand in its entirety below.

Raheem DeVaughn Shares New Song ‘Don’t Come Easy’

In honor of his 43rd birthday (May 5), Raheem Devaughn released a new single titled “Don’t Come Easy.”

On the futuristic love track, produced by Kid Class, The Love King is prepared to give his lady all his love and affection. “Love, don’t come that easy / You gotta sacrifice every day / You gotta make sure you’re willing to change,” he sings.

“Don’t Come Easy” is the first single from Devaughn’s forthcoming album, which will serve as the follow-up to 2015’s Love Sex Passion. The LP debuted at No. 1 on Billboard’s R&B Albums chart after selling 14,595 copies during its first week of sales.

Listen to “Don’t Come Easy” below.

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