Antwane’s Top 13 R&B Albums of 2013

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I couldn’t cap off 2013 with just listing my favorite R&B songs of the year. I had to share my favorite R&B albums too.While many may not agree with some of my choices, I felt these were the albums of 2013 I gravitated to the most.

I based my decision solely on the messages discovered beneath the track list and the way those particulars songs made me feel – not the album’s Billboard 200 position.  Neither did I choose them based on which popular R&B act who released LP’s this year.

Rank in descending order from least favorite to most favorite, here is my top 13 albums of 2013.

13.  Janelle Monáe – “The Electric Lady”

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12. India.Arie – “SongVersation”

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11. John Legend – “Love in the Future”

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10. Robin Thicke – “Blurred Lines”

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 9.  Joe – “Doubleback: Evolution of R&B”

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8. Chrisette Michele – “Better”

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7. R. Kelly – “Black Panties”

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6. Black Nativity (Music From the Motion Picture)

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5. Jaheim – “Appreciation Day”

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4. Mary J. Blige – “A Mary Christmas”

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3. Tamar Braxton – “Love and War”

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2. Fantasia – “Side Effects of You”

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1. K. Michelle – “Rebellious Soul”

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Follow me on Twitter at @9thwonderofPR.

Antwane Folk is the editorial assistant at RatedRnB.com.

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Janelle Monáe Self-Examines On New Song ‘I Like That’

Janelle Monáe has freed up more storage on her Dirty Computer by releasing a new song titled “I Like That.”

Backed by stirring background vocals and a chilled production, the futurist songster takes a look at herself and casts out all doubt from her life. She ignores the simple-minded opinions of others too.

She sings, “Sometimes I’m mystery, sometimes I’m free / Depending on my mood or my attitude / Sometimes I want to roll or stay at home / Walking contradiction guess I’m factual and fiction.”

“I Like That” comes just a week after “PYNK,” an empowering anthem on self-love and pussy power. Both songs along with “Make You Feel” and “Django Jane” will appear on Dirty Computer, due April 27 via Atlantic Records.

 

Listen to “I Like That” below.

4 Songs from Mariah Carey’s ‘E=MC²’ That Should Have Been Number One

Ten years ago, Mariah Carey’s faithful Lambs across the world were pulling out their TI-89 calculators to solve the equation E=MC², the title of her 11th studio album.

The album came three years after The Emancipation of Mimi, Carey’s comeback album and the best-selling album of 2005. The legendary diva won many awards for her 10th studio album, including three Grammy Awards. The accolades that probably meant the most to Carey were her two number one singles: “We Belong Together” and “Don’t Forget About Us.”

The latter tune helped Carey bag her 17th Hot 100 chart-topper, tying her with Elvis Presley for the most number one singles by a solo artist. She beat the rock and roll king’s record two months before the release of E=MC² with her sexually fantasizing single “Touch My Body.”

Speaking to the Associated Press in 2008, Carey praised herself for surpassing Presley.”For me, in my mind the accomplishment is just that much sweeter,” she said. “In terms of my ethnicity, always feeling like an outsider, always feeling different … for me it’s about saying, ‘Thank you Lord, for giving me the faith to believe in myself when other people had written me off.'”

What’s baffling though is that following the commercial success of “Body,” the five-octave Chanteuse pumped out three more singles (“Bye Bye,” “I’ll Be Lovin’ U Long Time,” and “I Stay in Love”) but none were fortunate enough to be inducted into Carey’s hall of fame of No. 1’s.

Yes, an artist’s name alone isn’t enough to sell a single. Without backing from radio stations and proper promotion, the chances of a single swimming versus sinking are slimmer than Carey’s ‘90s waistline.

But in all fairness: Carey’s E=MC² album potentially had the right formula to equate her 19th number-one single on the Hot 100 and continue her reign as the undisputed queen of the No. 1’s.

Now as we playback E=MC² (and mimic her iconic finger twinkle) on its 10th anniversary, here are four songs that should have topped the Hot 100.

1. “I’m that Chick”

Credits: Mariah Carey / Johnta Austin / Mikkel Storleer Eriksen / Tor Erik Hermansen / Rod Temperton (Writers); Carey and Stargate (Producers)

Who’s to blame for Carey’s dreamy number, “I’m That Chick” not being worked as a single and skating to the No. 1 spot on the Hot 100?

Revisiting the disco era and Michael Jackson’s “Off the Wall,” the confident singer tiptoed on the dance floor to enjoy nightlife. Like Usher, Carey found love in the club and used some of the best metaphors to let him know she is everything and more. She also referenced two hip-hop legends Tupac and The Notorious B.I.G. to get her point across.

“Take this seriously / Like Pac, all eyes on me / That’s right you are intrigued (I’m that chick you like),” she sings lightly. “I do’s it naturally / Hypnotize like Biggie / But you ain’t havin’ dreams / I’m that chick you like.”

“I’m That Chick” had just the right amount of attitude to dance its way to number one.

2. “I’ll Be Lovin’ U Long Time”

Credits: Mariah Carey / Aldrin Davis / Mark DeBarge / Crystal Johnson / Etterlene Jordan (Writers); Carey and DJ Toomp (Producers)

It goes without saying that Carey’s flirty single “I’ll Be Lovin’ U Long Time” was shamefully robbed from basking in number one glory — and this was long before T.I. was enlisted for the remix.

Borrowing remnants of DeBarge’s “Stay With Me” for the hook and playful production, the jaunty love song heard Carey reassuring her then-husband Nick Cannon that it’s not a game and she’s here to stay.

From its timely release just ahead of summer to its proper video treatment and catchy lyrics, the cutesy tune had many qualifications to become a hit on the Hot 100. However, DJ Toomp co-produced ditty didn’t get close the top slot. It only reached No. 58.

3. “For the Record”

Credits: Mariah Carey / Bryan-Michael Cox / Adonis Shropshire (Writers); Carey and Cox (Producers)

Tell me one good reason “For the Record” wasn’t released as a single?

Bridging the sounds of a beautiful violin and a meek keyboard, Carey wanted to rewrite history with a former mate who foolishly let her go. Even though he’s moved on, she decided to let his mistake of leaving her sink in more by reminding him of how far her love went for him.

“For the record / You’ll always be a part of me, no matter what you do / And for the record / Can’t nobody say I didn’t give my all to you,” she sang.

As history shows, the New York native has an impressive track record with slow to mid-tempo songs (“Dreamlover,” “Always Be My Baby” and “Don’t Forget About Us”) leading the Hot 100. “For the Record” would have been in good company — just saying.

4. “Side Effects” featuring Jeezy

Credits: Mariah Carey / Jay Jenkins / Crystal Johnson / Scott Storch (Writers); Carey and Storch (Producers)

Carey has been fully capable rocketing herself to the top slot of the Hot 100 without any guest appearances. Out of her 18 number-one singles, she has 13 without a featured artist(s). But for her E=MC² era, we’re sure Mimi’s Lambs wouldn’t have minded her calling on hip-hop’s Snowman to release their blazing collaboration.

Blended with a knocking beat and techno effects, Carey had taken her final dose of torture from her unruly lover. Although she finished her prescribed bottle of heartache and pain, she still had to deal with the aftermath of the dissolved love affair.

“I kept my tears inside ’cause I knew if I / Started I’d keep cryin’ for the rest of my / Life with you I finally built up the strength / To walk away don’t regret it / But I still live with the side effects,” she sings.

Janelle Monáe Embraces Sexuality and Self-Love in ‘PYNK’ Music Video

If you didn’t believe Lil’ Kim when she said “pussy is power,” then let Janelle Monáe convince you with “PYNK,” the latest song from her forthcoming Dirty Computer album.

Directed by Emma Westenberg, the four-minute visual — that was filmed in a desert —  is packed with estrogen and confidence as Monáe and her fierce entourage direct our attention to their most prized possession.

Monáe explains the meaning of her powerful new record. “PYNK is a brash celebration of creation. self-love. sexuality. and pussy power,” she said. “PYNK is the color that unites us all, for pink is the color found in the deepest and darkest nooks and crannies of humans everywhere… PYNK is where the future is born….”

“PYNK” is the third release from Monáe’s upcoming album, Dirty Computer, which is set to arrive on April 27 on Atlantic Records. She previously released “Make You Feel” and “Django Jane” in February. Monáe opened up about her new album in an interview with Beat 1’s Zane Lowe.

“You know I always knew that I had to make this album,” she revealed. “I actually had this title on this concept before my first album The ArchAndriod and it scared me because a lot of the things that I knew that I needed to say were very deep, very personal, from the heart. You know this is an extremely vulnerable album and it took me a while to make it because I’m a self-editor.”

She continued, “I self-edit myself a lot. I’m like I don’t want to talk about this, I don’t want to talk about that. I had to kind of have people at Wonderland on my team to hold me accountable to it. They were like OK, you said you wanted to make this album before your first album, this is the opportunity for you to just really choose honesty over mystery. I know that there are a lot of things that I haven’t discussed and I think this is the album that you’ll get an opportunity to get a closer glimpse into my mind and into my heart.”

Show off your “PYNK” with Monáe below.

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