Review: Daniel Caesar Finds Freedom in Redemption on Debut Album ‘Freudian’

Daniel Caesar freudian cover art

“Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it,” reads Proverbs 22:6. For Daniel Caesar, this couldn’t be more true.

A product of the black church, the Toronto-born R&B singer’s debut album, Freudian, is very much rooted in gospel influences — from the piano driven sound to solid backing vocals from a full choir. While there is much celebration of love on this album, there are also songs of regret and sorrow, as if  Caesar is grappling with his own personal struggles with religion and theology as it relates to a past love. Perhaps, this is why he chose to name his album Freudian.

Austrian neurologist Sigmund Freud is considered as the father of psychoanalysis, which is a method for treating psychological disorders through intense dialogue between a psychoanalyst and their patient. This is the base model for modern therapy, which is exactly what this album feels like: a therapy session. Caesar pours his heart out over the course of ten tracks, re-living love’s best moments in “Get You” and “Best Part,” whilst revealing its darker ones on tracks like “Neu Roses (Transgressor’s Song).” Caesar comes out stronger on the other side by the album’s ten-minute title track finale, saying in a personal note:

“Hey mama/it’s your second son, still the same/ain’t change, mama/made some change, time has changed/it might feel strange mama, I feel ashamed/…face to face with my faith mama/I lost my faith.”

If that was his confession, then this album is his testimony.

Produced by Caesar, Matthew Burnett, and Jordan Evans, the album revels in lush sounds and vocals throughout. Paired with strong messages and themes of love, loss and final redemption, Caesar is able to deliver an impressive debut. Below are our top four picks from Freudian:

The Lead Single – “Get You” featuring Kali Uchis

The song we all know and love is still one of the album’s brightest moments with its enveloping sound and intoxicating vocals from both Caesar and Uchis. Caesar expresses his love in a song of gratitude to the woman that’s been by his side through thick and thin. In an interview with Billboard, he explains “‘Get You’ is a song of praise to a love I didn’t even feel I deserved at the time […] Being with someone you truly adore and being present enough in the moment that the world literally slows down and you ask yourself how did I stumble into this?”

The Surprise – “Hold Me Down”

“If you love me baby, let me hear you say it/I know I’m your favorite,” sings Caesar on this groovy tune. Caesar voice is only heightened by the song’s sexy bass line and pulsing kick snare, as Caesar laments about being the undercover lover of another. What makes this cut special is the surprise, must-listen hidden interlude that’s a flip on Kirk Franklin’s 1998 song “Hold Me Now.”

Best Feature – “Best Part” featuring H.E.R.

Lead by a single acoustic guitar, H.E.R. and Daniel Caesar trade verses and sweetly share the chorus on this beautiful ballad. “I just wanna see how beautiful you are/You know that I see it/You know you’re a star/Where you go, I’ll follow/No matter how far/If life is a movie, oh, you’re the best part,” they sing. Although always vocally stellar, H.E.R.’s voice is supremely captivating here. Smart choice to have her sing the first verse, as she pulls the listener in with her hypnotic delivery from the son’s opening line, easily making this the best feature on the album.

The Sleeper – “Blessed”

On this piano driven and choir-backed track, Caesar explores the “can’t live with them, can’t live without them” narrative of his latest relationship. “And yes, I’m a mess but I’m blessed to be stuck with you/Sometimes it gets unhealthy/We can’t be by ourselves we/We’ll always need each other,” he sings. “Blessed” is serving as the B-side to Caesar’s latest single “We Find Love,” but just might be the better of the two, making this the album’s sleeper record.

Overall Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Have you listened to Daniel Caesar’s new album? What are some of your favorite tracks? Any criticisms or critiques? Sound off in the comment section below.

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Miguel, Daniel Caesar and SiR to Perform at 2018 BET Awards

R&B music will be well-represented at this year’s BET Awards. Daniel Caesar, Miguel and SiR have been added to the lineup of artists scheduled to perform at the 18th annual award show.

As previously announced, Janelle Monae, Ella Mai and H.E.R. will bring perform material from their new and forthcoming releases.

Along with announcing more performers, the BET Networks has selected Chloe x Halle, Bobby Brown, Trevor Jackson and Jacob Latimore to present awards to winners.

The 2018 BET Awards nominations were revealed last month with Rihanna and SZA among the top nominees. Bruno Mars, Bryson Tiller and Chris Brown each landed three nominations.

The 2018 BET Awards, hosted by Jamie Foxx,  will air live from the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles on Sunday, June 24 at 8 p.m. ET.

5 Reasons We Love Faith Evans

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.”

Follow Faith Evans on Instagram at @therealfaithevans and wish her a happy birthday!

5 Proclamations Made on Ashanti’s Album ‘The Declaration’

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.”

“Shine”

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.”

“Good Good”

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.”

“Mother”

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.

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