Diamonds in the Rough: 90s R&B Edition

  A brief but essential, 10-track collection of understated numbers and ‘non-hits’ from R&B’s best decade, designed & assembled by yours truly… 1) “Whatcha Need”-SWV, New Beginning (1990) 2) “Can I Get With You”-Jagged Edge, J.E. Heartbreak (1999) 3) “Candy Rain”-Soul For Real, Candy Rain (1995) 4) “Only You”-112, 112 (1996) 5) “No Doubt”-702, No Doubt (1996) 6) “U Know What’s…

Released: Childish Gambino’s ‘STN MTN’ in Entirety

Having slipped us a taste of his latest work via the serenely hallucinogenic “Sober” just over a week ago, Gambino now officially reveals the STN MTN mixtape in its entirety…[and freely]. The other “half”, entitled Kauai, will be an iTunes-exclusive release, with an ETA not yet announced. 11 tracks deep, STN MTN depicts an occasionally R&B-entangled Gambino (“U…

Elijah Blake’s ‘Drift’ Discreetly Makes it to iTunes

Without much notice, mellow-natured R&B-er Elijah Blake published his newest studio album today by enabling an open, SoundCloud stream-session. The entire album is also available for purchase in iTunes. A behind-the-scenes sort of artist, Blake hasn’t yet produced the public hype that his big voice–or his writing ability [see Usher’s “Climax]–deserves. Besides a summer 2013…

[Acid-Jazz-Hop is a Thing]: ‘Never Catch Me’-Flying Lotus x Kendrick Lamar

On September 3rd, the otherworldly producer Flying Lotus (Steven Ellison) invited K-Dot onto an instrumental…and what ensued was a jazz-infused, psychotropic ear-blowout of a track, tailor-made for a hip hop-inclined martian. It works, though. The usually Electronic-leaning beats-maker takes an extremely urban-fusion turn on “Never Catch Me”, while Kendrick rides shotgun. Divergent, jewelry-store piano riffs…

Jhené Aiko’s ‘Souled Out’: First Impressions

With sponsorship from iTunes First Play, a convenient [and free] source of sneak-peek streams for upcoming albums, fans of the silken-voiced Jhené Aiko can get an audible taste of her newest project and second EP, “Souled Out”. And from the initial album stream, it sounds like gold. While ‘Meditative-R&B’ may not be an official genre…

Aloe Blacc Belts it Out on ‘Lift Your Spirit’

  A little R&B and a lot more Funk, artist Aloe Blacc and his music remain a diamond in the rough. The 35-year-old soul singer’s got all the bases covered: melody, production, variety, and more importantly–lyrical substance that leaves you with a smile. It’s R&B with cultural consciousness. The positivity is unmistakable, but it’s not…

Jhené Maintains Super-Sweet Vocals on “Sail Out”

On her newest studio album, rising R&B queen Jhené Aiko stirs up our emotions and finds a spot on listeners’ hearts to attach. Multi-ethnic, Aiko’s slight and soft accent seeps through every bar, tying Latin, Asian, and Caribbean tones to the already islandy vibe she established from her start in the music industry. Jhené doesn’t…