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It’s 8:00pm. Candles lit. Takeaway ordered. Wine bottles at the ready. That’s great, but if you really want to set the scene and make an impression, it’s time to compile your slow jams playlist.

Whether they are played quietly in the background during an intimate moment at home or are part of a liquor-fuelled bump and grind in the club, slow jams are enjoyed by all R&B music fans, and everyone has their favourite. Here are the best of the best from the past 20 years.

  1. Ashanti – Movies 

Pre-Young Money it was Irv Gotti’s hip-hop label Murder Inc. that was dominating the charts, lead by rapper Ja Rule and R&B singer Ashanti. “Movies”, which was taken from her self-titled debut album in 2002, talks about the fairytale, head over heels type of love seen in films. “I wanna be like those girls in the movies, to have a man so in love it makes him drop to his knees”, she sings.

  1. Mya – Fallen 

If you’ve ever fallen in love, listening to this song will certainly have you reminiscing about the good old days. Although, if you’re single, it may wrongfully encourage a cheeky “I miss you” text to the ex or have you trawling through all those unanswered DMs on Twitter. Be careful.

  1. Ginuwine – When We Make Love 

Playing out like an A-Z songbook on the sounds of lovemaking, the next track on the countdown comes in the form of Ginuwine’s “When We Make Love”. Lyrically, he talks about… Well, take a listen for yourself below. #NSFW

  1. Brandy – Put That On Everything 

How far would you go for bae to show you love them? Pull a star out the sky? Walk through the desert heat? Apparently, Brandy would do just that! Pick up some more tips and take a listen below:

  • Aaliyah – At Your Best (You Are Love)

The Isley Brothers originally released “At Your Best” back in 1976, but today it is probably more recognised as an Aaliyah track, produced by R. Kelly for her debut album, “Age Ain’t Nothin’ But A Number”. What’s impressive is that Aaliyah, while only 15 at the time of release, sounds beyond her years. In a genre where vocal trills and frills are aplenty, she delivers a sublime performance demonstrating both restraint and control in her voice.

  1. Jon B – They Don’t Know 

“They Don’t Know” is a classic slow jam by one of R&B’s forgotten stars, Jon B. Released in 1997, the track was the singer’s biggest hit to date.

Having already pulled stars from the sky and walked in the desert heat, your relationship will now be moving rather quickly and just about everyone will want to share their opinion – with some being less welcome than others. Despite your best efforts, all the outside chitter-chatter is starting to impact the two of you moving forward together. Unfortunately, we’ve all been there. Jon B’s solution? Don’t listen to what anyone else has to say. Simple.

  • Ashanti – Baby 

“Baby” was the third consecutive hit single taken from Ashanti’s self-titled debut. Although lyrically very simple (I counted approximately 77 repetitions of “baby”), you’ll struggle to listen to this one and not find yourself murmuring the lyrics and melody over the next day or so.

  1. SWV – Rain 

SWV’s “Rain” has all the right ingredients of a classic slow jam. Great vocals. Great Melodies. Great lyrics. However, coexisting in a discography of huge hits such as “Right Here” and “Weak”, “Rain” feels somewhat underrated. Still, it doesn’t take away from the fact it’s a great song.

  1. Keisha White – The Weakness In Me 

While a top 20 hit for Keisha White in 2006, the original was recorded by Grammy Award-nominated British singer Joan Armatrading in the early 80s. However, Keisha brought the song up-to-date and made it her own, proving that, in a genre dominated by US singers, the Brits can certainly hold their ground.

  1. Usher – Can U Handle It? 

No slow jam list would be complete without one of the genre’s biggest stars of the past 20 years, Usher Raymond. Taken from his Diamond-certified 2004 album “Confessions”, the track has become a classic. “Can you handle it if I go there baby with you?” he asks.

  1. Brandy – He Is 

Dubbed by many R&B fans as “The Vocal Bible”, it was only fitting for Brandy to kick-off the countdown’s top 10 tracks. “He Is” was taken from the singer’s third studio album “Full Moon” and, whilst unreleased, it remains a firm favourite among her fans. It’s not hard to see why:

  1. Brandy – Have You Ever? 

Here she is again, B-Rocka AKA Brandy. Big song. Big Vocal. Enough said.

  • Keith Sweat – Nobody 

Any song with the opening lyric, “I wanna tease you, I wanna please you” is bound to make for a great slow jam, and this song does not disappoint. Released in 1996, the track features Athena Cage of 90s R&B trio Kut Close, who collaborated with Keith on another classic slow jam, “Get Up On It”.

  1. Usher – Lifetime 

The highest entry for Usher is “Lifetime”, a track from his fifth studio album, “Here I Stand”, on which he sings about finding eternal love. “When you find that special someone, you will be willing to give them a lifetime”, he croons.

Usher is the go-to singer when you’re looking for those slow numbers to help set the mood. “Nice and Slow”, “Slow Jam” and “U Got It Bad” are just some of the tracks that didn’t make the list, but are worthy of a mention.

  1. Floetry – Lay Down 

“Lay Down” is the first of two entries on the list for Floetry, a neo-soul duo from the UK comprising Marsha Ambrosius AKA The Songstress and Natalie Stewart AKA The Floacist. Simple, subtle and understated, it’s a great track to accompany a late night or early morning (see what I did there?) CUDDLE!

  1. Jill Scott – Getting’ In The Way 

Love isn’t always fairytales and roses, in fact quite the opposite. Having already proven how much you love them and ignored all the unwanted commentary from your friends, the two of you have decided you’re both in the relationship for the long haul. Great, if only the ex would let go and move on too. What do you do? Grab him or her in the middle of the street and whoop their “tail”, according to Jill Scott. “You better back down before you get smacked down, you better chill”, she sings. Ouch!

  • Beyoncé – Speechless 

“Speechless” was released as part of Beyoncé’s debut solo album, “Dangerously in Love”, back in 2003. Although one of the more underrated cuts from the album, it’s aged like a fan wine – getting better over time. Whilst “Speechless” is her only track to make this list, the album was packed with many great slow jams – “Be With You”, “The Closer I Get To You” and “Dangerously In Love 2”, to name a few.

  1. Floetry – Say Yes 

Now, this one is for the grown folk only. “All you gotta do is say yes, open up your mind and let me undress you baby”, Marsha sings on the track, which talks about… (It’s all pretty self-explanatory, I’m sure). Lyrics aside, it’s the soft, breathy vocal from Marsha that elevates the song to the next level.

  1. Aaliyah – One In A Million 

You’ll be hard-pressed to find an R&B fan that does not know this song by the late Aaliyah Haughton, released in 1996. Missy Elliott and Timbaland, who would later become pioneers in the field, wrote and produced the track, which went on to become Aaliyah’s joint highest charting single in the UK (at the time) and her third single to top Billboard’s R&B chart.

Its best quality is its versatility. The thunderous bass is enough to draw a large crowd to the dance floor of any club, yet it’s also a track you can easily wind down to at home. What’s more, despite being produced in the mid-90s, it sounds as if it could have been recorded yesterday and will probably still sound as fresh as it does now in 20 years’ time, a testament to Timbaland’s production.

  1. Eric Benét – Love of My Own 

Here we are at the number one spot – Eric Benét’s “Love of my Own”, a song that is quite simply the epitome of an R&B slow jam. Lyrically strong, it draws on themes of loneliness and yearning for true love, while vocally Benét opts for a mellow delivery, working hand in glove with the song’s quiet production.

The track may not have been the most obvious of choices, as it was never released as a single and only appears as the album closer to his sophomore release, “A Day in the Life”. However, in a world where radio DJs hammer the same songs to the point of them no longer being bearable, the somewhat unfamiliarity of this track adds to its appeal. Take a listen below:

Listen to all the above songs and many more favourites on my Slow Jamz playlist below:

What is your all-time favourite?

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DJ Khaled is still out here “Shining,” while he didn’t win “Best Rap Album” at the 59th annual Grammy Awards, losing to Chance the Rapper’s Coloring Book, Khaled still decides to celebrate his nomination in a huge way by releasing his new single “Shining” featuring Beyonce & Jay-z.

“Shining,” which was written by PARTYNEXTDOOR (Beyoncé’s part) and co-produced by Danja and DJ Khaled,is the first single off Dj Khaled’s upcoming 10th album Grateful.

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I can live with or without a relationship as I`ve over the years yet I know how they work because I`ve seen it all and know myself enough to not put myself in situations that don`t honor my worth nor reflect a future that I seek.

13320210_713721615437147_1035359758_nWe are slowly coming to the end of 2016 which was a great year for music if I don`t say it myself, we heard so many great albums and saw so many great comebacks that have uplifted and inspired people all around. Solange made a much welcomed return with arguably one of the best albums in years “A Seat On The Table” which managed to join her sister`s groundbreaking album “Lemonade” at charting at number one. Britney Spears released a gem of an album “Glory” which saw her getting back to the old Britney we grew up with, she expressed so much confidence and her vocals shined. And this year we also saw Fantasia step all the way out of her comfort zone and create a masterpiece that displayed her creativity beautifully. And we were introduced to so many great artist this year that have touched me with their creative sounds and strong voices.

The list is not numerical in order of “most favorite” as the field this year was so tight and definitely offered a variety of great albums depending on your mood.
1. Beyoncé – LemonadeLemonade 1 (1)

‘I had my ups and downs, but I always find the inner strength to pull myself up, I was served lemons, but I made lemonade.’

What I loved about this album is the fact that she was willing to experiment and push at the boundaries of her sound and showcase different sides to her that many people can relate to as she did with her 2013 album, “Beyoncé”. The visual album is both an ode to black women and a deeply personal love story dealing with all the ups and downs of a relationship – tackling urgent themes such as paranoia, anger, denial, redemption and forgiveness.

My favorite track is “Sorry” an upbeat number that sees her displaying a “sorry not sorry” attitude, as she heads to the club with her girls and is not paying her cheating ex not one bit of attention, she is over him:“Me and my baby, we gon’ be alright, we gon’ live a good life. Big homie better grow up, me and my whoadies ’bout to stroll up. I see them boppers in the corner, they sneaking out the back door. He only want me when I’m not there, he better call Becky with the good hair…” It`s all about taking your power back and focusing on rebuilding yourself from a bad relationship..

Also “All Night”, a love ballad that samples Outkast`s “SpottieOttieDopaliscious”, it finds her singing about staying committed to her man even through all the ups and downs, as the love they share will rise above anything that comes their way: “They say true love’s the greatest weapon to win the war caused by pain but every diamond has imperfections. But my love’s too pure to watch it chip away, Oh nothing real can be threatened. True love breathes salvation back into me with every tear came redemption and my torturer became a remedy…”

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Beyonce represented her country roots as she was joined on stage with the Dixie Chicks for the very first time at the 50th Annual CMA Awards, to perform her song “Daddy Lessons” off her critically-acclaimed album LEMONADE. Not only did they perform the song Live in Nashville, Beyonce has released the studio version of “Daddy Lessons” featuring the Dixie Chicks. Check out both the song and performance below.
Performance

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Beyonce steals the show once again when she performed her ‘LEMONADE’ medley at this year 2016 VMA’s sporting a white jacket and wide-brimmed hat, Queen B started off her set with “Pray You Catch Me” before transitioning into a black ensemble for “Hold Up.”

While making her way through the audience, B grabbed a bat ‘Hot Sauce” and went off on the camera, cracking the lens and performing her hit song “Sorry,” before ending her set Beyonce wrapped up her 15 minute set with “Don’t Hurt Yourself,” and “Formation.”

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Just a few moments ago MTV took to Facebook live to announce the official nominees for the 2016 MTV VMA’s, which takes place Sunday, August 28, at NYC’s Madison Square Garden. Beyonce kicks off the nomination’s list with a total of 11 nominations’, while Adele is not far behind as she racked up a total of 8 Nominations.

The show’s flagship Video of the Year category is truly stacked, pitting Adele’s “Hello,” Beyoncé’s “Formation,” Drake’s “Hotline Bling,” Justin Bieber’s “Sorry,” and Kanye West’s “Famous” against each other. With music constantly changing MTV has introduced a new category in 2016: Breakthrough Long Form Video. Fans can now log on to MTV.com right now to vote for their favorite artist to win along with a chance to attend this year’s award show. Check out the full list of Nominees below.

Video of the Year
Adele – “Hello”
Beyoncé – “Formation”
Drake – “Hotline Bling”
Justin Bieber – “Sorry”
Kanye West – “Famous”
Best Female Video
Adele – “Hello”
Beyoncé – “Hold Up”
Sia – “Cheap Thrills”
Ariana Grande – “Into You”
Rihanna ft. Drake – “Work” (short version)

Best Male Video
Drake – “Hotline Bling”
Bryson Tiller – “Don’t”
Calvin Harris ft. Rihanna – “This Is What You Came For”
Kanye West – “Famous”
The Weeknd – “Can’t Feel My Face”

Best Collaboration
Beyoncé ft. Kendrick Lamar – “Freedom”
Fifth Harmony ft. Ty Dolla $ign – “Work From Home”
Ariana Grande ft. Lil Wayne – “Let Me Love You”
Calvin Harris ft. Rihanna – “This Is What You Came For”
Rihanna ft. Drake – “Work” (short version)

Best Hip Hop Video
Drake – “Hotline Bling”
Desiigner – “Panda”
Bryson Tiller – “Don’t”
Chance The Rapper – “Angels”
2 Chainz – “Watch Out”

Best Pop Video
Adele – “Hello”
Beyoncé – “Formation”
Justin Bieber – “Sorry”
Alessia Cara – “Wild Things”
Ariana Grande – “Into You”

Best Rock Video
All Time Low – “Missing You”
Coldplay – “Adventure Of A Lifetime”
Fall Out Boy ft. Demi Lovato – “Irresistible”
twenty one pilots – “Heathens”
Panic! At The Disco – “Victorious”

Best Electronic Video
Calvin Harris & Disciples – “How Deep Is Your Love”
99 Souls ft. Destiny’s Child & Brandy – “The Girl Is Mine”
Mike Posner – “I Took A Pill In Ibiza”
Afrojack – “SummerThing!”
The Chainsmokers ft. Daya – “Don’t Let Me Down”

Breakthrough Long Form Video
Florence + The Machine – The Odyssey
Beyoncé – Lemonade
Justin Bieber – PURPOSE: The Movement
Chris Brown – Royalty
Troye Sivan – Blue Neighbourhood Trilogy

Best New Artist
Bryson Tiller
Desiigner
Zara Larsson
Lukas Graham
DNCE

Best Art Direction
Beyoncé – “Hold Up”
Fergie – “M.I.L.F. $”
Drake – “Hotline Bling”
David Bowie – “Blackstar”
Adele – “Hello”

Best Choreography
Beyoncé – “Formation”
Missy Elliott ft. Pharrell – “WTF (Where They From)”
Beyoncé – “Sorry”
FKA Twigs – “M3LL155X”
Florence + The Machine – “Delilah”

Best Direction
Beyoncé – “Formation”
Coldplay – “Up&Up”
Adele – “Hello”
David Bowie – “Lazarus”
Tame Impala – “The Less I Know The Better”

Best Cinematography
Beyoncé – “Formation”
Adele – “Hello”
David Bowie – “Lazarus”
Alesso – “I Wanna Know”
Ariana Grande – “Into You”

Best Editing
Beyoncé – “Formation”
Adele – “Hello”
Fergie – “M.I.L.F. $”
David Bowie – “Lazarus”
Ariana Grande – “Into You”

Best Visual Effects
Coldplay – “Up&Up”
FKA Twigs – “M3LL155X”
Adele – “Send My Love (To Your New Lover)”
The Weeknd – “Can’t Feel My Face”
Zayn – “PILLOWTALK”

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Just a few moments ago Beyonce premiered her HBO special Lemonade, and as much of us expected, the singer drops her sixth album of the same name. The 12-track set, exclusively dropped on Tidal.

The audio-visual film, with guest appearances from Kendrick Lamar, The Weeknd, James Blake, and Jack White, plus production from Diplo, Jack White, Hit-Boy, Boots, Mike Dean, Just Blaze, Mike WiLL Made-It, and more.

Beyoncé – Lemonade (Tracklisting):

1. “Pray You Catch Me”
2. “Hold Up”
3. “Don’t Hurt Yourself” (Feat. Jack White)
4. “Sorry”
5. “6 Inch” (Feat. The Weeknd)
6. “Daddy Lessons”
7. “Love Drought”
8. “Sandcastles”
9. “Forward” (Feat. James Blake)
10. “Freedom” (Feat. Kendrick Lamar)
11. “All Night”
12. “Formation”

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This past weekend Beyonce had the world going crazy again as she announced her new HBO special for LEMONDADE. There is currently no word on what we can expect this upcoming Saturday at 9, but we will all be watching to what looks like it may be a film to go along with her upcoming music.

Beyonce first released a 20-second clip, which we saw B, leaning over a car with her face covered, saying “What am I gonna do?” Then yesterday Beyonce unleashed a longer trailer featuring an appearance from model Winnie Harlow. Beyonce’s LEMONADE experience is set to make it’s world premiere on Saturday, April 23, at 9 p.m. EST/6 p.m. PST on HBO.

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When I first heard that Coldplay would be the main act for this year’s Superbowl halftime I wasn’t that excited about it, until I heard that they would be accompanied by Beyonce and Bruno Mars. Then my excitement shifted a little, and once Beyonce dropped her her single Formation I really got excited. Coldplay kicked off the show as they performed their singles C “Viva La Vida,” “Paradise,” and “Adventure of a Lifetime.”

Then Bruno Mars channeled his inner MC Hammer as he performed his smash “Uptown Funk,” before the camera switched to Beyonce who performed her new single Formation live for the first time in her Michael Jackson inspired military outfit.

The show concluded as Beyonce and Bruno Mars gave the crowed on hell of a dance-off, the two then joined back up with Martin to sing along to Coldplay’s “Up&Up.”