What started as a punny nickname for Da'Shan, transformed into a media writing legacy and a new brand building slowly but surely. 

As much as they try to diminish the power of R&B, it will always remain the universal language of love -- and personally, my favorite genre of them all. 

Cultural Analysis

How moments and songs in R&B are shaping the culture today. 

From DeFord Bailey to Ray Charles to Solange: The Long Lineage of Black Artists Making Country Music Pop

As a genre stemming from an alchemy of blues and folk, country music has a storied history in Black art spaces. Despite this presence often being erased, cast away, or discredited, from the 1920s to 2019, Black artists have been the one’s pioneering and preserving country music, and that impact can be seen through its traverse influence over art from across genres and generations.

Charting Black Excellence | Revisiting Toni Braxton's "countless bops" because Beyoncé said so

Usually when Beyoncé does a digital drop on any social platform, it’s like no other and you feel obligated to listen. On Halloween 2017, Bey took the internet by storm by recreating a few iconic and cult-favorite looks from Lil’ Kim. This past Halloween Eve, Instagram timelines were blessed by the singer dressing as one of her other idols: Toni Braxton. According to the artist who most hail as “Queen Bey,” Braxton is “one of our talented legends (who serves) countless bops.”

Charting Black Excellence | Ella Mai & all the other current faces of R&B

Due to her recent series of success, Ella Mai is being called almost every honorific name in the book. The one that stuck out to the London import the most is “The New Face of R&B,” as she’s told Beats 1’s Julie Adenuga, last month. And while many will have their opinion on this notion (with some stans even championing their own favorite artist as such), the charts and radio airplay is proving her newly found moniker as fact. But what we all know for now is R&B is finally back back. And better yet, our black artists are getting the shine they deserve.

Beyoncé and JAY-Z's 'On The Run II Tour' stop in Vancouver was full of lessons

For the past 11 days, I embarked on my first journey through the west coast of the U.S. Since the Carters announced their "On The Run II Tour," I had the bright idea to see them outside of my home base of New York City. Recently, I developed a new hobby of attending concerts in different cities because I was somewhat tired of the same event humdrum the Big Apple had to offer. I thought Vancouver would be the perfect location to witness the royal American music couple, while simultaneously immersing myself in foreign culture. What originally had been an excuse to finally vacation in Canada expanded into a more grand musical journey.

Ashanti Talks New Single & NFL's 'Take a Knee' Protests: 'I'm Praying That Things Change Very Soon'

“If it ain’t about the money, say less,” Ashanti advises on the hook of her fresh single “Say Less” — a west coast RnBass jaunt produced by DJ Mustard and featuring Ty Dolla $ign. That’s exactly the mood she felt when catching up with Billboard Style on a Thursday night in her Los Angeles condo. A pioneer of contemporary R&B, Ashanti is not only focusing on more new music slated to be released next year, but also her additional business endeavors.

Toni Braxton’s 25 Best Songs: Critic's Picks

Often when discussing the elite pack of divas who ruled the '90s and early aughts, Toni Braxton is cast aside. This shouldn’t be the case — there’s way more to her story than ”Un-Break My Heart.” Known for her sultry, low-ranging contralto voice, Braxton -- who turns 50 this Saturday, Oct. 7 -- provided the R&B, pop, and adult contemporary hemispheres with a slew of signature classics. The dramatic flare of these songs, matched with her film noir aesthetic and style, convincingly sold Braxton’s...

Dawn Richard Premieres Electro-Bounce Track 'Break Me': Listen

Always full of surprises, Dawn Richard caught fans off guard on Wednesday (May 17) when she premiered the previously unreleased track, "Break Me". The electro-bounce record holds an ethereal consistency which aligns closely with previous work in Richard's Blackheart and Redemption eras. With a synthesized, sensual voice that rides along to a blunt 808 bass line, the singer proclaims, "I'm not scared to be me."

Revisiting Beyoncé's "Crazy In Love" 15 years later

On May 18, 2003, it didn’t take long for music listeners to hear the brassy gogo-funk horns at the start of “Crazy In Love” to know that Beyoncé had her first solo hit on her hands. What was even more impressive about the Rich Harrison-produced track—at a runtime of 3 minutes and 56 seconds—is how it established Queen Bey as the dominating entity we know her as today, making for a larger impression as a debut statement.

The modern intersectionality of Afrofuturistic music and queer artistry is something to celebrate

June is not only Black Music Month, it’s also Pride Month. And although the music industry still has a ways to go with acknowledging LGBTQ issues in a non-sensational manner, one sector that has been doing the proactive work for a while is the music of Afrofuturism. Set as proper examples by the likes of Frank Ocean and Janelle Monae, Afrofuturistic-themed projects have established a safe space for queer artists to express their journeys in the mainstream while simultaneously pushing progressive

7 arguments for why each Beyoncé album could be her best

Dangerously In Love was a debut effort coming from someone who was hungry to captivate the masses with an aptitude for slaying. You could tell by the moment she arrived hanging upside down from a ceiling to perform "Baby Boy" at the 2003 VMAs. Or when she shimmied alongside Prince at the 2004 Grammys—a rite of passage for those deemed talented enough by the Purple One. Beyoncé made performing look effortless, and in the process she trademarked her signature, grandiose stage presence which matche

On the dreamlike production and songwriting of Pharrell, as exhibited in "R.E.M."

Prior to the release of Ariana Grande’s Sweetener on August 17, one of the album’s central tracks was already at the top of online discussions. It had slowly trickled out that Beyoncé had once recorded a version of Ari's “R.E.M.,” instead titling it “Wake Up,” for her self-titled surprise opus in 2013, originally intending for the album to be doo-wop centric. Holding her own candle to Queen Bey’s, Grande also executes her version with her own magical touch. Through this, Pharrell alchemised a case of a song being good no matter whose hands it ends up in, thanks to strong producing and songwriting.

Revisiting Aaliyah’s Strangest Song, An Homage to Soap Villain Erica Kane | Pitchfork

Thirty-eight years ago today (January 16, 1979), Aaliyah was born in Brooklyn. Nine years earlier to the day, the biggest diva the soap opera world has ever known made her debut, when Susan Lucci joined the cast of ABC’s “All My Children” as Erica Kane. The connection between the divas runs deeper than the same birthday. On the remastered edition of Aaliyah’s final album, 2001’s Aaliyah, as well as her posthumous greatest hits compilation, *I Care 4 U *(2002), appears a peculiar bonus track title...
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Album Reviews

Revisiting throwbacks and current releases. 

How Amerie's '4AM' EPs recall Prince's 'Purple Rain' soundtrack

One of the perks of listening to any solid music project—in the case, Amerie’s double-disced 4AM EPs—is pinpointing possible influences. On the first of the EPs, 4AM Mulholland, that eureka moment of tracing back happens during the three-track stretch starting with “The Wall,” followed by the EP’s titular track, and ending with “A Heart’s For The Breaking.” It’s at the heavy dosage of electric guitar in “The Wall,” the concept of driving around to find love (with a hint of 80s new wave noir) on “Mulholland,” and the etherealness existing on “A Heart’s For The Breaking” that rings truest to the vibes of Prince’s Purple Rain.

Why the best components of Drake's 'Scorpion' are his Quiet Storm moments

At the end of "After Dark" on the R&B side of Drake's double-volumed Scorpion, the song concludes with a radio aircheck of disc jockey Al Wood from Buffalo's 93.7 WBLK. From the 90s into the aughts, Wood hosted the station's quiet storm program on weeknights—spinning records from Hall & Oates, Troop, Fantasia, Chaka Khan, Jill Scott, and Luther Vandross, all the artists he name-drops in the outro. His silky smooth voice promises four hours of relaxation, warmth, and safety to those listening.

A reminder that Demi Lovato's 'Tell Me You Love Me' is a gem amongst R&B albums that heal

The day before, July 23, had been the seven-year anniversary of losing the vocal powerhouse Amy Winehouse. Unfortunately, I prematurely imagined a similar fate for Lovato, driving my pain for the 25-year-old talent even further. Being on age with Lovato, I essentially grew with her through TV screens and iPod minis, rather unapologetic about enjoying both her pop bops and matter-of-fact opinions. But I didn't convert into a true fan—one who would end up traveling to Newark back in April to see in concert—until she released Tell Me You Love Me last year.

Revisiting how Michael Jackson's 'Thriller' era set the pop industry standard

What had also become evident from Thriller, thanks to the executive-producing genius of Quincy Jones, is how each song managed to balance on a fine line of pop choruses and lyrical structuring with R&B-fueled instrumentation and sub-genres. In an internet-breaking interview with Vulture earlier this year, Jones mused about working with Michael Jackson, making some shocking accusations about the singer’s work ethic, but also mentioning something that could explain why Thriller stood out from the rest.

Trey Songz: Anticipation 3 Album Review | Pitchfork

At the end of last December, videos surfaced of Trey Songz destroying a stage at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit during a mini-temper tantrum. The event staff who prevented Trigga from performing past the venue’s 11:30 pm curfew presented him a golden opportunity for free promo—the smirk on the singer’s mugshot, which went viral, all but announced “new music is dropping soon.” Sure enough, Trey Songz and his frequent collaborator, Fabolous, surprised fans with their joint EP *Trappy New Years *on New
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