“Work,” the first official single from ANTI was released today and it doesn’t disappoint. The smooth track, which features Rihanna’s longtime friend and collaborator Drake, finds Rihanna spilling over into familiar territory.
On “Work” Rihanna doesn’t leave anything to chance. The Caribbean Pop Queen showcases her best dance-hall vocals and gives us a taste of just what is missing from most pop music in the last year.
The island jam isn’t anything out of the ordinary from bad girl Rih Rih– but it certainly does show her growth and confidence to do the records that “work” her. Let’s call this the music equivalent to a movie sequel. “Work” is a blockbuster sequel continuing the epic collaborations of Rihanna and Drake from “What’s My Name” to “Take Care.”
None of us will know the true reason Rihanna’s eight studio album was delayed but “Work” offers a familiar,yet daring track as a lead single, something other singles that were thrown out there last year failed to do.
Whether or not the audience connects right away with “Work” it will surely grow on them– and they should be ready because between all the deals this music mogul has been making she’s going to make sure you hear her “Work.”
With the 60th Grammy Awards just around the corner, the Recording Academy have announced DJ Khaled, Rihanna and Bryson Tiller as the latest set of performers to hit music’s biggest stage.
While members of The Recording Academy failed to consider their chart-topping single “Wild Thoughts” for any Grammy category, the trio will perform the smash record this Sunday (Jan. 28). Music spectators could see a surprise appearance from Carlos Santana whose song “Maria Maria” was sampled for “Thoughts” infectious Latin-based instrumental.
Previously announced performers include: SZA, Childish Gambino, Lady Gaga, Pink and Little Big Town.
The Grammys will air live on Sunday, January 28 from Madison Square Garden in New York and broadcast on the CBS Television Network from 7:30-11 p.m. ET/4:30-8:30 p.m. PT.
I’ve been following Justine Skye for a while. Not as far back as her Tumblr days, but around the time her Tyga-assisted cut “Collide” began to pick up some steam.
Over the past three years since, Skye has produced a couple of solid records, had some impressive sponsorships and endorsements, and even landed a record deal with Roc Nation. Minor successes aside, there’s been a common note when I’ve mentioned her name in conversation: “She’s not memorable.” And that criticism is more than valid. As someone who has kept up with her work, I even have trouble remembering most of the tracks from her three EPs (although, admittedly, I’d rather not remember her 8 Ounces EP.) Skye’s musical issues ultimately boil down to two things: artistry and execution.
We all know that every successful recording artist isn’t original, or even necessarily talented. However, those type of artists know their market, work within the limits of their artistry, and execute accordingly. The reason why it’s been hard for this Brooklyn beauty to pop is because we, as consumers, don’t know what sport she’s playing nor the arena she’s playing in.
On the artistic side of things, Skye has always struggled to nail her “sound.” Her singing voice is quite generic — which isn’t a dig, nor a hindrance necessarily — but her lyrics are also somewhat lackluster, as well as her ad-libs. Nothing truly stands out, and because Skye’s artistry hasn’t developed, her music sways with the trends of the and sounds of the time. I expressed these concerns in a series of tweets back in 2016 — which ultimately got me blocked on my old Twitter account by Ms. Skye, but that’s neither here nor there.)
Let’s talk execution. Skye released “U Don’t Know” featuring Nigerian singer WizKid in September 2016, with the accompanying video released the following month. Then, a little over a month after the video release, she releases her 8 Ounces EP without “U Don’t Know.” Yet, in 2018, she included the mid-tempo track on her album, and this time without the WizKid feature.
Sometimes the first single doesn’t work, so that’s okay. She tried again in July with “Back for More” featuring Jeremih. Despite the seven month stretch between singles, the song was an appropriate, summer jam. Unfortunately, even with the feature, the song didn’t get past a few adds at urban radio. The video was released in early August, and then it was silence again from Team Skye.
Skye then releases third single “Don’t Think About It” on December 1. A week later, she announced the release of her debut album with another single — the PARTYNEXTDOOR-penned “Goodlove” and the video for “Don’t Think About It.” By the time the album dropped, she released another single (“Heaven”), which totaled a five tracks from a 10-track album.
Even with all of these musical misfires, I decided to give the album a listen. After listening to the 33-minute project, I was left generally underwhelmed. Although short albums aren’t common, they can definitely work with a strong thematic direction (see: Lalah Hathaway’s honestly. and Bruno Mars’ 24K Magic.)
Ultraviolet suffers from a combination of issues, but ultimately the music just fails to hit. I must say, though, that “Goodlove” and “You Got Me” have been on repeat, and guess who penned both of these tracks? PARTYNEXTDOOR. On a 10-track album, if the two standouts are written by the same person, I think that’s worth noting. Hit-Boy’s production on “Lil’ Boy” was also a bright spot for me on this otherwise mid-tempo album.
I don’t have anything against Justine Skye or her music, even. She’s given us jams like “Never Leave,” “I’m Yours” and “Messin’ w/You.” However, if she wants a serious shot at chart success, she’s going to need to find her artistic voice and learn how to properly execute when it comes to the visuals, singles, and the art of timing.
Ultraviolet has left me with more questions than answers, but the biggest question of all is still, “Who is Justine Skye?”