Cuffing Season: 10 R&B Songs To Dedicate To Your New Boo

Ah, summer! Hot weather, buzzing beaches, sizzling summer parties and no time for serious love. Now, summer is slowly, but surely, passing away as fall quickly approaches. As the weather changes, those relationship statuses on Facebook tend to change from “single” or “it’s complicated” to “in a relationship” and everyone starts to tweet about their new boo.  Yes, I believe it is cuffing season.

Whether you’ve already snagged your boo  or  you’re in the process of drafting a potential partner for this year’s cuff season, we have a range of R&B songs to dedicate to that special person (even if they’re just seasonal).

“The Way” – Ariana Grande

Once you have made the first move to begin anew with your fall love interest, Ariana Grande’s s summer jam, “The Way,” is the perfect song to describe the feelings you are experiencing with new love. In “The Way,” Grande sings of how her man swept her off her feet (“You got my heart, don’t know how you did it”) and now she is loving the way he makes her feel.

Show your partner you’re genuinely feeling them by reciting Ariana: “Be your lover, your friend, you’ll find it all in me/Stay by your side, I’ll never leave you/And I ain’t going nowhere ’cause you’re a keeper.”

“The One” – Tamar Braxton

Maybe you’ve gained a bad rep for dating multiple people at once, and now your new love interest is worried you will carry that bad habit into your relationship. Allow Tamar Braxton to assure your new boo that they are the one for you (at the moment). Maybe you heard your new sweetie was the habitual two-timer in their past relationships, but the past is in the past, right? Show your new love that whatever they have done in their past hook-ups and relationships does not matter to the new love you are developing together (“And you’ve had a few, boy one too many/But I’m the only one to wake you up”).

Assure your love, and tell them: “You know very well, you’re a star/Cause I don’t go that far, look where we are/And ain’t none like you, one in a million/But I’m the only one to count.”

“It Won’t Stop” – Sevyn Streeter

Breakout artist Sevyn Streeter heated up the summer with her blazing single “It Won’t Stop,” but it’s not too late to dedicate this song to your first round draft pick for cuffing season. Does your new boo bring you take-out, looking as good as the Chinese fave he/she ordered for you? Well, Sevyn Streeter begins the sexy song with this relatable scenario (“I love when you pulling up in your jeep/Bumpin all your beats/Js on/With your shades on/Just to bring me something to eat”), making the lyrics very personal.

Or maybe you have a boss boo who does his/her thing (whether running things in the streets or in their work), but takes gentle care of your heart. Sevyn hits that scenario as well as she sings,  “You the man up in these streets/But when it comes to my heart/That don’t mean a thing.”

Sevyn, being the great lyricist she is, sings of love, admiration for her man and her favorite things they do together, like relaxing on the beach, making “It Won’t Stop” a beautiful song for your new mate.

While you’re riding around with your boo, turn the music up when Sevyn sings, “Everyday/I cant breathe/You take my breath/Away from me/Here’s my heart/You got the key/Put that on eternity/I love you til infinity.”

“DUI” – Ciara

Although fall is approaching, Ciara’s sensual “DUI” record will turn up the heat with your fall boo. Ciara sings about being so intoxicated with her man’s love and his tempting touch while driving, that she will surely be pulled over and receive a DUI.

This song allows you to appreciate the sexiness of your partner and stroke their ego, which is a good thing to do sometimes. As her man continues to tease her while she’s driving, Ciara’s lyrics become even more passionate, allowing your boo to feel your passion for them through her steamy lyrics.

Spice things up by lip syncing this part of the song: “And it’s so hard to steer/Put your lips to my ear/But I’m giving you the right of way/Do what you want to me baby/Lipstick all over your neck/These seats are dripping with sweat/Here’s a night we won’t forget.”

http://youtu.be/XE3Eis0VbWc

“Why I Love You So Much” – Monica

Allow Monica’s 1996 classic hit, “Why I Love You So Much,” to help you explain to your lover some of the reasons why you care for them so much. From showing you love in front of their friends to taking their time in moving to the next level, Monica sings of how she appreciates the things her man does to show his love.

Score points with your baby with this line: “Since I’ve been your girl/Oh my whole life has been much better than ever before/You got a tender sweet love, yes you do/That weakens me and takes over me whenever we touch.”

“Love on Top” – Beyoncé

This person was pretty hard to snag as your boo. You endured hard times, accompanied by tears and heartbreak, but finally they decided to take the step to be fully committed to a relationship with you. Beyoncé’s “Love on Top” is the perfect to describe your new love triumph.

Beyoncé helps you celebrate your new love as she sings, “Now everybody asks me why I’m smiling out from ear to ear (They say love hurts)/But I know (It’s gonna take a little work)/Nothing’s perfect, but it’s worth it after fighting through my tears/And finally you put me first.”

“Sure Thing” – Miguel

Guys, take note. Miguel’s “Sure Thing” is a now classic love song, where he uses several metaphors to promise to love his girl in so many ways. If your chosen one is someone you intend to be with unconditionally, this song is the right one to dedicate to them.

Tell your boo, to never sweat these words: “Even when the sky comes falling/Even when the sun don’t shine/I got faith in you and I/So put your pretty little hand in mine.”

“Promise” – Ciara

You were searching for that one person to call your own, and now that you’ve found him/her, dedicate “Promise” to them. The song is another sexy Ciara jam that helps the ladies promise true love and dedication to their partner through sweet words (“There’s nothing I won’t do/To spend my life with you/I’ll give my all to you/I promise that I will never lie to you boy”). You could even learn the video’s choreography and perform it for your boo to add points.

Whisper these sweet nothings to your baby: “This mood is so right/It feels so right/You can be my prince, my knight/You can be my superman/Save me here I am.”

http://youtu.be/gULhDYVtMjk

“Differences” – Ginuwine 

Is your boo someone who has changed your life for the better? Take it back to the 90’s with Ginuwine’s classic love jam, “Differences.” The singer passionately sings of his appreciation for the woman in his life and how she has changed him into a better man. This classic song is not only the perfect slow jam to cuddle up with your boo, but serves as a way of showing gratitude for their support and love.

Tell them how they’ve changed you, by reciting: “Girl, you open me, I’m wide open/And I’m doing things I never do
But I feel so good, I feel so good/Why it takes so long for me finding you.”

“At Your Best (You Are Love)” – Aaliyah 

Aaliyah served up a classic R&B joint that creates the perfect love vibe with “At Your Best (You Are Love).” New relationships are still susceptible to minor altercations and communication flaws. Need to remind your boo why you adore them or help them understand why you have such a tough time communicating your feelings? Dedicating this song to your significant other will ignite the necessary sparks in any relationship.

Just sit back, and play this record with them, hinting at this part: “But at your best you are love/You’re a positive motivating force within my life/Should you ever feel the need to wonder why/Let me know.”

From sensual songs to devoting records, we have compiled a perfect array of songs to dedicate to your fall boo for this year’s cuffing season. Who knows, with these songs, you may keep this boo season after season.

Photo credit: MyBrownBaby.com

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Ciara Returns with Upbeat Single ‘Level Up’

Ciara is back! The 32-year-old singer has released her new single titled “Level Up,” which samples DJ Telly Tell’s “Fuck It Up Challenge.” Produced by J.R. Rotem, the uptempo record is about knowing your worth and never settling for less.

“I just keep elevating, no losses, just upgrading / My lessons, made blessings, I turned that into money / Thank God I never settled, this view is so much better / I’m chilling, I’m winning, like on another level,” Ciara sings in the first verse.

Along with her new song release, Ciara also premiered the official video. In the dance-heavy clip, choreographed by Parris Goebel, Ciara and her dancers (The Official Royal Family) bring their A-game as they perform intricate moves in a vacant building.

“Level Up” is the first single from Ciara’s upcoming seventh studio album that will release on Beauty Entertainment/Warner Bros. Records. The album is the follow-up to 2015’s Jackie, which included her platinum single “I Bet.” 

Stream “Level Up” below.

Watch the video below.

What a Time: 20 Memorable ‘Sessions @ AOL’ Performances (R&B Edition)

Sessions @ AOL may have launched in 2002, but its presence was felt more in 2003 as the way we hear and see our favorite artists online started changing at a rapid speed. From the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) going to legal war with individual music file-sharers ( Napster, Wake.Princeton.edu ) to the launch of Apple’s iTunes Music Store, the options for consumers to follow their beloved artists started to become more difficult. But Sessions @ AOL made this easier.

Brought to us by AOL Music, the mini-concert experience became an outlet for artists to perform their past and presents hits in a more up-close and intimate way. Similar to MTV-Unplugged, many artists have sung acoustic and stripped down versions of their popular songs and album gems. Artists even sat down to dish on their latest albums ahead or after its release.

After 10 years of special performances, exclusive interviews and some name changes (AOL Sessions, AOL Music Sessions), the intimate concert series ended abruptly in 2013.

While others (Walmart Soundcheck and Yahoo! Pepsi Smash) have attempted to capture their own exclusive studio performance moments, nothing beats holding the house phone hostage so no uses it so you could use dial-up to watch your faves spill the tea on their album and sing your favorite cut track.

In the spirit of nostalgia, we compiled a list of 20 memorable performances from the online music concert series. (Sidenote: Can you guess how we ranked the list? The answer is at the end)

Mario – “How Could You” (2005)

Mario brought his underrated vocals to Sessions @ AOL to perform his top-20 hit “How Could You” from his Turning Point album.

Keri Hilson – “Let Me Down / Beautiful Mistake” (2011)

Following the release of 2010’s No Boys Allowed, the singer-songwriter stormed Sessions to sing cuts off the new album including “Beautiful Mistake.”

Chrisette Michele – “Be Ok” (2009)

Fresh off the release of her album Epiphany, Michele revisited her I Am era with a sensational performance of “Be Ok.” The uptempo number won a Grammy in 2009 for Best Urban/Alternative Performance.

Keyshia Cole – “Love” (2005)

Sporting her signature orange hair and a casual outfit, The Way it Is singer belted her powerful ballad “Love” for online viewers.

Monica – “It All Belongs to Me” (2012)

While this Rico Love-written track is a duet with Brandy, the New Life vocalist stripped down the record and took it on alone with some help from three backup singers.

Jennifer Hudson – “I Remember Me” (2011)

There are not many artists who can sit on a stool, sing their hearts out and still be on key. Jennifer Hudson is one of them. She delivered a stellar performance of “I Remember Me,” the title track of her 2011 album.

Tyrese – “Stay” (2012)

Tyrese accepted an Open Invitation to AOL Sessions in 2012 where he performed his soulful tune “Stay.” The song spent 11 consecutive weeks at No. 1 on Billboard’s Adult R&B Songs chart.

Ashanti – “Rock wit U (Awww Baby)” (2003)

The then-Murder Inc front-women was on point with all aww babies for her first time at Sessions. And catch how Ashanti barely opened her eyes during this performance of “Rock wit U (Awww Baby).” We love a dizzy queen.

Faith Evans – “I Love You” (2005)

The First Lady had viewers in their feelings with “I Love You” from her 2001 album Faithfully. Did you peep Meelah, lead singer of 702, singing backup?

Toni Braxton – “He Wasn’t Man Enough” (2005)

The sultry tone diva came to Sessions to promote material from her Libra album. She also revisited The Heat era and sung “He Wasn’t Man Enough” alongside her sisters Trina and Tamar Braxton.

Fantasia – “Bittersweet” (2010)

Donning a black dress with silver shoulder embroidery, the Back to Me singer left it all on stage with her mind-blowing performance of “Bittersweet.” She reprised the emotionally charged ballad with more personal lyrics.

The-Dream – “I Luv Your Girl” (2013)

The Radio Killa paid a visit to AOL Sessions in 2013 to promote IV Play. While there, the versatile musician dropped the auto-tune and bared his natural singing voice for his wavy performance of “I Luv Your Girl” off his debut album, Love Hate.

Ne-Yo – “So Sick” (2006)

The singer-songwriter had us “So Sick” with his first-ever AOL Music Sessions visit. The heartbreak song topped several Billboard charts including the Hot 100 for two consecutive weeks.

Chris Brown – “Winner” (2006)

The young Breezy had girls all over the world screaming at their computer screens with his performance of “Winner” off his self-titled album.

Brian McKnight — “Back to One” (2003)

Brian McKnight was one of the first R&B artists to grace the AOL studio. He performed his classic song “Back at One” from his 1999 album under the same name.

Earth Wind & Fire – “The Way You Move” (2005)

Supported by a full band, the legendary group got us out our seats to dance along to “The Way You Move” from their 2005 Illumination album.

Kelly Rowland – “Like This” featuring Eve (2007)

Ms. Kelly invited rapper Eve to perform their fierce collaboration “Like This.” Hopefully, no one hurt themselves trying to reenact this dance number.

John Legend – “So High” (2004)

Seated behind his instrument of choice, Legend had us levitating as he wonderfully sung “So High” from his debut album, Get Lifted.

Alicia Keys – “Unthinkable (I’m Ready)” – (2010)

Alicia Keys rarely steps from behind her piano to perform music. But she did for the majority of her 2010 Sessions to perform past and present tunes including “Unthinkable (I’m Ready)” from The Element of Freedom.

Mary J. Blige – “Take Me As I Am” (2005)

It was all or nothing at all with the Queen of the Hip Hop Soul’s moving performance of “Take Me As I Am” from The Breakthrough.

Rihanna – “Unfaithful” (2007)

The Unapologetic artist starred on the Sessions for three album eras: A Girl Like Me, Good Girl Gone Bad and Rated R. Her amazing performance of “Unfaithful” in 2007 is a standout though.

Beyoncé – “Me, Myself and I” (2008)

Although she was there to promote B’Day and its singles (“Irreplaceable”), it was Yoncé’s breathing performance of “Me, Myself and I” alongside her incredible background singers The Mamas that stole the show.

Give up yet? The list of performances was ranked by the artists’ number of Grammy nominations. Beyoncé has the most (63) nods out of all the artists featured on this list while Mario and Keri Hilson have the least (2).

Monica’s ‘The Boy is Mine’ Album: Every Song Ranked 20 Years Later

On July 14, 1998 — just three days shy of the third anniversary of her debut album Miss Thang — Monica released her sophomore effort The Boy is Mine. The album was named after her uber-successful duet with fellow R&B teen Brandy who had released her second album a month prior.

While the title track was issued as the lead single for both vocalists project, they both followed up quickly with their own respective solo singles. “The First Night,” Monica’s second (first) single, was sent to radio a day before LP’s release date.

For The Boy is Mine, the 17-year-old singer defined the new batch of songs a “natural progression” from her debut. “I was 13; the themes weren’t as mature,” she told Billboard in a 1998 interview. “I’m trying to portray a more assertive young female. It’s fine to be a teen female, but there are certain decisions they must with assurance. I’m 17 now; my lyrics aren’t sexually explicit but are about love and being in love. I speak on those subjects for what I know them to be.”

Monica’s newfound maturity, enhanced confidence and tender outlook on relationships resonated with those in and out of love. The Boy is Mine entered the Billboard 200 at No. 8, selling 91,000 copies in its first week sales. The 13-track LP garnered multi-platinum success and a grand total of three number one singles (“The Boy is Mine,” “Angel of Mine” and “The First Night”) on the Billboard Hot 100.

To celebrate the 20th anniversary of Monica’s album The Boy is Mine, Rated R&B has ranked the songs from minimal rotation (worse) to heavy (best) rotation.

13. “Take Him Back”

Every album has its fillers and I guess this dull recording slipped through the track list cracks.

12. “‘Cross the Room”

Out of the LP’s 13-tracks, this party-starter anthem is definitely one that finds the crowd telling the DJ to turn it all the way down.

11. “Gone Be Fine” featuring Outkast

Even with tight production and a brief appearance from Outkast, something is still missing from what was supposed to be a bomb collaboration.

10. “I Keep It To Myself”

It’s a good song but the melody and chilled production of this dreamy slow jam sounds too similar to records from Xscape’s catalog.

9. “Right Here Waiting” featuring 112

Evidently, Monica’s then-label Artista had a point to prove to listeners and critics with a second cover of another classic. To be honest, it wasn’t necessary. It was an enjoyable remake, though.

8. “Misty Blue”

Monica deserves an applause for her stirring rendition of Dorothy Moore’s signature selection.

7. “Ring Da Bell”

Before Beyonce rang the alarm, Monica made noise with this Dallas Austin-produced track. On the verses, she used a slow and deliberate vocal approach to get her point across to her disrespectful lover.

6. “Inside”

On this emotionally-triggering ballad, Monica does a fantastic job flaunting her vocal range as she discusses the matters of the heart.

5. “Angel of Mine”

After listening to Monica’s two other covers on this album, this remake is in a league of its own. Her vocal poise almost shares similar singing moments of big-name vocalists.

4. “Street Symphony”

Like first impressions, the opening track on an album can set the tone for the rest of the project. As expected, Monica kept fans interested in hearing more of the album but not without getting us to press repeat on this underrated gem.

3. “The First Night”

Jermaine Dupri was in his bag with this one and Monica knew it. That’s why she rode the So So Def beat with a level of sophistication and street edge.

2. “The Boy is Mine” duet with Brandy

Yes, collecting numerous accolades and going number one is great but the question has always remained: who won the vocal catfight on this record? Let’s just say, “The song might be yours, but the album title is mine.”

1. “For You, I Will”

Ahead of Monica’s duet success with her teen counterpart, Monica had already bagged her own crossover hit. The Diane Warren-penned ballad, from the Space Jam soundtrack, solidified her place in pop culture.

Did we get the order right? Let us know.  Follow An’Twane on Twitter at @9thwonderofPR.

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