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!

Antwane Folk is the editorial assistant at RatedRnB.com.

10 Years Later, MTV Still Fails to Revive Best R&B Video at VMAs

Tonight is the 2018 MTV Video Music Awards. Over the years, like many televised award ceremonies, the VMAs has become less exciting. Of course, there is enjoyment in seeing the fashion hits and misses or live tweeting commentary. However, it’s really hard to ignore the lack of diversity and inclusion of R&B artists in the award categories.

Popular genres such as pop, rock and hip-hop all have their respective fields for artists to thrive and shine. Most times if an artist isn’t Beyoncé, Bruno Mars or Rihanna — or isn’t associated with a category-leading artist — they probably will be slighted and not recognized for their dope visuals.

While MTV has become more strategic in their nomination approach to include a range of artists in categories like Best Pop Video, Best Editing, Video with a Social Message, and Song of the Summer, there is still a hint of prejudice that lingers in being all-embracing.

Looking back at Khalid’s Best New Artist win last year, one could argue that MTV has done their part in keeping the integrity of black music alive on their video music awards platform. But VMA history has proven otherwise.

MTV halted on handing out genre-based Moonman in 2007. At the next VMAs in 2008, the network ruled to bring back the music variety awards and choose to keep pop, rock and hip-hop (previously rap) and eliminate R&B from future ceremonies.

The decision to exclude R&B from the VMAs is just as absurd as the Recording Academy neglecting to award R&B (and hip-hop) artists on the main stage and issuing their Grammys on the online telecast every year.

According to Nielsen Music’s 2017 year-end report, the R&B/Hip-Hop genre ended the calendar year as the most popular genre in American music after tallying 24.5 percent of all music consumption (combination of album sales, track equivalent album units and streaming equivalent album units — including both on-demand audio and video streams).

The rock genre came in at second and claimed 21 percent, making it the first time R&B/Hip-Hop outpaced in a calendar year since Nielsen began electronically tracking music sales and data in 1991.

Much like R&B/Hip-Hop today, the genre had leading artists breaking grounds in 2008. Alicia Keys, Lil’ Wayne, Mario, T.I. Usher, Keyshia Cole, Rick Ross, J. Holiday and Jazmine Sullivan were ruling the radio airwaves and had impressive album sales with notable videos to accompany their rollouts.

First awarded in 1993, nine years after the first VMAs, the Moonman for Best R&B Video landed in the hands of En Vogue for “Free Your Mind” off their Funky Divas album. A year later, the vocalists won again for their contribution to Salt N Pepa’s “Whatta Man.”

In the 13-year award existence, four women — Lauryn Hill (1999), Mary J. Blige (2002), Beyoncé (2003, 2006) and Alicia Keys (2004, 2005) — have won the R&B VMA as a lead artist. Others winners included TLC (1995), The Fugees (1996), Puff Daddy (1997), Wyclef Jean (1998) and Destiny’s Child (2000, 2001).

Since 2008, there have been amazing videos by R&B artists that would have probably been nominated (and won) this award. Erykah Badu (“Window Seat”) and Marsha Ambrosius (“Far Away”) have given fans conscious videos. Chris Brown (“Look at Me Now”) and Ciara (“Ride”) have gotten us out of our seats and aiming to dance like them.

Usher (“Lil’ Freak”), R. Kelly (“Same Girl”) and Trey Songz (“Bottoms Up”) put out eye-catching visuals while Keri Hilson (“Pretty Girls Rock”) and Alicia Keys (“Teenage Love Affair”) took us back to the past. Monica (“Everything to Me”) and Mary J. Blige (“Suitcase”) have worn their heart in a couple of frames. And Beyoncé, well, like Kanye West said, she’s released some of “the best video [s] of all time.”

Many R&B artists had creative and original visuals that would have been promising nominees for Best R&B Video this year. SZA has debatably served up some of the best videos. While she is nominated in three categories — Best Art Direction, Best Visual Effects and Push Artist of the Year — does she have a true advantage to walk away with an award? Not taking away from her visuals or downplaying her talents, but she going up against very POPular competition that makes it impossible for her to win.

Besides why did the VMA committee nominate SZA for a collaboration (“All the Stars”) and her puzzling video for Solange-directed “The Weeknd” when she produced three more solid videos from her CTRL era? Make it make sense because right now it doesn’t.

At least if the MTV VMAs are not going to have a video category dedicated to R&B artists, make sure that proper videos by them are featured in inclusive categories

SZA and her frames for “Broken Clocks,” “Garden (Say It Like Dat)” and “Doves in the Wind” deserved to be recognized on this career-changing platform for Best Pop Video — in addition to Art Direction and Visual Effects.

6LACK, Janelle Monáe, Khalid, Maxwell, Leon Bridges and Kali Uchis have respectively music videos that would have represented nicely for R&B on the VMAs tonight. Even though the variety of categories offer the illusion of fairness among all genre-crossing artists, things will never be equal until MTV sanctions to bring back Best R&B Video.

African-American writers, such as myself, can voice their opinions on the disproportion in white-dominated award shows for black artists, but artists in the spotlight and video creatives and directors must have the same energy. Video treatments, album budgets and long hours shooting and editing are falling by the waste side of career-long fans if artists don’t get (and fight for) proper recognition of their final products. This opinion not only goes for artists’ music videos but their albums as well.

Honestly, BET should be leading the pack for R&B artists and visual representations of their work in this day and age. Until that happens, VMAs will still possess major consumer visibility that can positively affect the careers of rising and established artists through video and song.

Will we ever see MTV VMA nominations for Best R&B Video again? Only time will tell.

Follow An’Twane on Twitter at @9thwonderofPR.

Top 4 Deep Cuts from K. Michelle’s Debut Album ‘Rebellious Soul’

K. Michelle Album Cover Rebellious Soul

Kimberly Michelle Pate, better known as K. Michelle, has come a long way since she graced our television screens in 2012 as a cast member on VH1’s Love and Hip Hop: Atlanta. Three No. 1 albums, four tours, and a few social media beefs and public relationships later, she is really beginning to zone in on her artistic vision and hone her own sound. On this bumpy road of her musical journey, she has faced many hardships, but also enjoyed many milestones. Her first major success (post-Jive Records) is her debut album, Rebellious Soul.

In celebration of Rebellious Soul’s fifth anniversary, we’ve decided to compose a short list of some of the best non-single tracks from K. Michelle’s first No. 1 R&B album.

Here is our list of the top 4 deep cuts from the star’s breakout album:

“Hate on Her”

Infidelity is a common cause for failed relationships, and it’s no different when K. Michelle discovers her longterm relationship is crumbling in the wake of her lover’s infidelity. However, instead of hating or attacking the other woman, she feels sorry for her. “But I can’t even hate on her / Cause I know you got no heart / I can’t even hate on her / Cause I know how low you go,” she sings. This song makes the countdown for its lyrical genius and storytelling. Lines like “In this house we made are own / You have torn it down to nothing / And for the moment of a stroke / You let it all go” perfectly illustrate the combination of frustration, betrayal, and numbness that significant others feel after being cheated on. This would’ve been a great third single for the album, as its smooth production leans toward an R&B radio direction.

“When I Get a Man”/”Repair This Heart”

K. Michelle is speaking a loving relationship into existence on the album’s penultimate track. “I’m gon’ cater serve ya/ Give you what you deserve / He’s gon’ love me / When I get a man / I’mma treat him like a king / He gon’ be my everything / He gon’ love the hell outta’ me,” she sings. Although this is a perfectly fine R&B record with impressive production (courtesy of Hit Drew and Eric Hudson), the song is lifted by its hidden track “Repair This Heart.” The piano-driven cut serves as a sort of backstory for “When I Get a Man,” and flexes K’s pen game beautifully, as well as her voice’s capability of approaching a song with tenderness and emotion.

“Sometimes”

Although this was her first album, there were definitely some brilliant moments and “Sometimes” may be the brightest of them all. On this post break-up record, K is simply torn between her wants and her needs when it comes to a healthy relationship. “Oh, Lord have your mercy / For loving him religiously / I should be praying for better things / Instead of praying for a man / Who don’t give a fuck about me,” she sings. Not only is this is one of her finest vocal performances to date, but this song embodies everything about her: brutal honesty, unbridled passion, raw emotions, high energy, and of course rebellion with soul. What makes this even greater is the second hidden track on the album, about…well…her genitalia (sung operatically!) If there was a song that represented K. Michelle’s artistry, this would hands down be the song of choice.

“Right One”

Tank’s writing skills come to life once again thanks to K. Michelle. The Memphis-born and bred singer is literally holding nothing back on her no-good ex on this killer kiss-off. “F*ck you and all that / Blast on Twitter then I’mma blast back / You want a ratchet then I’mma be that / Don’t make me call my boys and have yo sh*t peeled back,” she sings. What makes this deluxe edition record shine is her commitment to the sentiments and emotions penned by her, Tank, and Jerren “J-kits” Spruill. This would’ve been a more than appropriate addition to the standard LP, but we are thankful for the song’s video treatment, which has over 22 million views on YouTube.  And in song’s final phrase, so eloquently stated by K, she declares “and that’s the end; leave it there.”

What about you? What’s your favorite song from Rebellious Soul? Let us know in the comment section below.

Faith Evans and Stevie J Release NSFW Video for ‘A Minute’

Newlyweds Faith Evans and Stevie J have ‘tru luv.’ The most talked-about couple link up for a hot new video for their passionate duet “A Minute.”

In the Derek Blanks-directed clip, the honeymooners put their love-making on display. From a NSFW shower scene to foreplay in the kitchen while cooking a hardy breakfast, Evans and Stevie J can’t keep their hands off each other.

Evans and Stevie J aka The Jordan’s tied the knot in Las Vegas earlier this month. After the nuptial news hit online, it wasn’t taken lightly by social media critics. The loved-up pair quickly shared a message for the haters. “Shout out to everybody who ain’t give 2 💩’s about wtf I was doing prior to 7/17/18 #LoveisLove #TheJordans @hitmansteviej_1,” commented the couple in a joint Instagram video.

In other news, Evans will be honored at this year’s Black Music Honors in Nashville, Tenn. She is set to receive the Urban Music Icon Award.

Watch their steamy video below.

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