From her angelic vocals to her creativity, R&B songbird Jhene Aiko has much to offer the world. She has taken the hearts of many R&B music lovers and has proven herself to be one of the best in the game. In celebration of her birthday (March 16), we have rounded up the top five reasons we love the R&B songbird.
Her music/lyricism can resonate with anyone.
Jhene Aiko has music that can relate to anyone, especially her music about love. Not only that, Jhene is a clever lyricist and when she writes and sings she makes you feel it. Her ability with word play is undeniable. Her music is known to make you think and rearrange your life, mindset and spirit. Her music is inspirational, eye-opening and some of her songs aren’t even what they seem at first to the untrained ear. For example, in her song “Blue Dream” one would think she is singing about a guy but that’s not the case; she’s actually singing to the weed about the weed.
Here are a few lyrics from Jhene that we love:
“If home is where the heart is, I’m homeless cause I’m heartless” – “Snapped”
“If every thing was dipped in gold / Then baby it would never grow /Everything sweet ain’t sugar-coated” – “Stay Ready (What A Life)” feat. Kendrick Lamar
“If I never have you then I can never lose you” – “You Vs. Them”
“Similar ways, similar game, starting to feel the similar pain / Are you sure we haven’t met before? / I know ya face, I know ya name But I don’t know you? / Isn’t that crazy? isn’t that crazy? I think we may be in a different book / On a different page / You said you are different / But you’re the same Stranger.” – “Stranger”
Faith Evans is undoubtedly one of the greatest gifts to music. For more than two decades, the Grammy-winning artist has released an impactful catalog of music that has touched many hearts in all the right places with tender ballads like “You Used To Love Me,” and “I Love You.” Not only has Evans pulled our heartstrings, she’s gotten us out our seats and made us dance with party-starter anthems such as “Love Like This” and “All Night Long.”
As we get ready to dance ‘all night long’ for her 45th birthday, Rated R&B has compiled a list of reasons why we love Faith Evans.
1. She has killer background vocals
Evans has served up iconic background harmonies and melodies for many of our favorite R&B artists. From Hi-Five and Usher to Jon B and LSG, Evans has contributed her mesmerizing soprano notes to their discographies. Remember Mary J. Blige’s song “Don’t Go” from her My Life album? Evans brought her gospel influence (and elements of the New York Restoration Choir) to the ending reprise of the record.
2. She keeps the legacy of The Notorious B.I.G. alive
Since the untimely death of The Notorious B.I.G in 1997, Evans has made it her mission to honor his memory every chance she gets. Whether it’s recording a tribute song (“I’ll Be Missing You”) or bringing his life to theaters (Notorious), Evans wants us to know ‘we’ll always love you big poppa.’
In 2017, she released a duets album (The King & I) with previously released and rare vocals from her late husband. The LP also featured guest appearances from several hip-hop artists including Jadakiss and Lil’ Kim.
3. She re-introduced us to R&B legends.
Evans brought a nostalgic moment to television when she executive produced TV One’s hit reality series R&B Divas: Atlanta in 2012. The show told the current, real-life stories of multi-talented artists including Nicci Gilbert, Monifah Carter, Syleena Johnson, Dawn Robinson and Keke Wyatt.
In addition to the hit show, Evans spearheaded a full-length album (R&B Divas) that heard many of the stars voices for the first time in years. The project earned a Grammy nomination for Best R&B Album in 2014.
4. She’s more than a singer, she’s a musician.
Evans brings more than just a voice to the studio. She possesses versatility in all areas of a recording process including songwriting, producing, engineering and vocal arranging. She’s lent her musicianship to several artists such as 112, Robin Thicke, Keyshia Cole and Q Parker to name a few.
Evan has also served as the executive producer on many of her projects and film soundtracks like Keep The Faith, Faithfully, Notorious, R&B Divas and The King and I.
5. She’s an ageless beauty.
Faith Evans’ unchanging good looks have followed her from the beginning of her career to now. She’s had the ability to rock a myriad of hairstyles. She can pull off the around the way girl look without having anyone to question why she has it on. Lastly, she doesn’t even have to wear makeup. She’s can proudly say, “I woke up like this.”
Can you believe 10 years have flown by since Ashanti released her fourth album The Declaration? It was the first time fans had to wait more than a year for her album to drop — but it was for a good reason, though.
The New York native was undergoing several changes in the music industry, while also stretching her talents in other ventures. She found herself switching labels and acting in two films (John Tucker Must Die and Resident Evil: Extinction) as the dust settled with the ongoing investigation of The Inc. Records (formerly Murder Inc.).
Ashanti’s time away from the music spotlight promoted the title of her 2008 release. “The reason why I named the album The Declaration is because this time around, during that four-year gap, I learned so much and I grew up so much,” she stated in a 2008 interview with PR.com. “This time around I handled my project completely on my own. I executive produced the entire album from the behind the scenes to the creative process. So, The Declaration just stands for declaring a sense of independence, a sense of freedom and just a sense of growing up.”
Testing the waters with a few songs ( “Switch” and “Hey Baby (After the Club)” ), Ashanti officially kicked off The Declaration era with “The Way That I Love You” in fall 2007. Shortly after securing her ninth top 5 single (No. 2) on Billboard’s Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart, the album was released on June 3, 2008.
As we glance back at Ashanti’s decade-old album, here are five proclamations made on The Declaration.
“You’re Gonna Miss”
1. The proclamation of self worth.
Not all love is worth fighting for. Find the strength to move on. Don’t look back or second guess if you made the right decision to leave.
“And when I try to justify what you did wrong / It’s like I’m constantly reminded that I can’t move on.”
“The Way That I Love You”
2. The proclamation of trusting your intuition.
These days, you can’t put anything past your lover. Although we don’t want to believe the ugly truth about our mate, face it head-on. It could be the thing to help heal your heart faster.
“Felt like you were hidin’ something, but I didn’t push it / I didn’t complain or say nothing.”
3. The proclamation of never dimming your light.
No one can take anything from you — especially your light. They might try and dim your bulb so their light can shine bright but always let ‘em know: it’s enough wattage for the both of us.
“They’ll try to take you, try to break you down / Remember you are born to shine.”
4. The proclamation of sexual confidence.
Confidence starts within. Once you secure self-assurance about yourself (most importantly your body), you can only imagine the fire it will bring to the bedroom. Your mate shouldn’t even think about looking elsewhere if you possess that “good good.”
“Cause when I say I got that pop lock and drop it believe me / If I’m with you, it’s gon’ kill you on the days you don’t see me.”
5. The proclamation to honor thy mother.
A simple act of kindness should be putting a smile on your mother’s face. Yes, sometimes they drive us crazy and tell us the truth when our friends don’t, but the bond is unlike any other. So, hold on to it. Make sure to cherish her (or whomever you look up to as a mother in your life).
“I thank you, and I love you / And I would never place anyone above you.”
Stream The Declaration below.
What proclamations did you hear on The Declaration. Let us know in the comment section below.
Every legendary artist has a career-defining album; for Janet Jackson, janet is that album. Released on May 18, 1993, the album followed Rhythm Nation, a collection of songs that herald the pop icon joining the social and political conversation on the state of the world.
Although the socially conscious theme shined on Rhythm Nation, it wasn’t nearly as potent on janet. As her first album to be released on Virgin Records, the youngest Jackson sibling made some daring yet liberating choices for her new era. For starters, she dropped her surname for the album’s title to show her independence from the weight behind her family’s name. She updated her sound from industrial, and incorporated diverse genres including jazz, opera and hip-hop on many songs. She became more comfortable with her body, showing it off in the September 1993 issue of Rolling Stone. Lastly, janet highlighted her newfound confidence as a musician, taking charge of her lyrics and its accompanying production with the guidance of producing duo Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis.
Less about world news, and more messages about eroticism (but safe practices: “Be a Good Boy”) and femininity, janet. brewed a larger, yet taboo conversation that Jackson didn’t explore fully discuss until this album.
“Sex has been an important part of me for several years. But it just hasn’t blossomed publicly until now,” Jackson told Rolling Stone in 1993. “I’ve had to go through some changes and shed some old attitudes before feeling completely comfortable with my body. Listening to my new record, people intuitively understand the change in me.”
The changed resulted in her first album to debut at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 with 350,000 copies sold in its first week. At the time, it was the highest debut sales for a woman since Nielsen Music began tracking sales in 1991.
The album spawned six top 10 singles on Billboard’s Hot 100, including two No.1 singles: “Again” and “That’s the Way Love Goes.” The latter track, the album’s lead single, earned Jackson a Grammy win for Best R&B Song.
On the 25th anniversary of janet, producer Jimmy Jam shares how he views this groundbreaking album today and how it compares to a milestone project by Marvin Gaye.
“I view [janet] as a really good album,” he exclusively tells Rated R&B. “I think the album is very reflective of where we all were in our lives at that time. We always said Rhythm Nation was our What’s Going On and janet was our Let’s Get It On album. [janet] was definitely the love album.”
Jam also shares his thoughts on Jackson being honored with her “long overdue” Icon Award at the Billboard Music Awards this Sunday.
“It’s obviously well-deserved and it’s probably a little overdue. But that’s okay,” he says. “She’s still alive to see it. And not only alive but she’s thriving. She’s about to go back on tour and show everybody’s how it’s been done. She’s had an amazing career thus far but I think she’s one of those people who’s done a lot but still has a lot more to say and do.”
Rated R&B revisited janet on its 25th anniversary and crafted a list of our top 5 songs.
1. “Any time, Any place”
Driven by a burning saxophone and deliberate finger snaps, the sensual song is fueled by lyrics of voyeurism, making it arguably the best record on this album.
2. “That’s the Way Love Goes”
Blended with hip-hop’s edge and Jackson’s flourishing sureness on intimacy and the powers of her own body, she takes us (and her love interest) to a places we’ve never been; and the trip isn’t bad either.
Bring your stamina. Over an oversexed-house beat, Jackson commands her mate to “boom, boom, boom until noon, noon, noon.”
4. “Funky Big Band”
Sampling “I’m in the Mood for Swing” by jazz giant Lionel Hampton, Jackson’s vocal improvisations are welcomed on this lively track.
5. “This Time”
“You’re dismissed,” says Janet after finally breaking it off with her ex. Now although she’s done with her lover’s drama, the song’s featured opera vocals from Kathleen Battle and accompanying production is packed with it.
Stream janet. below.
What’s your favorite track from janet? Tell us below.