Brandy

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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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New Jersey songstress Lachardon (LaTayvia Cherry) channels her inner Brandy on her a piano driven number “Ready To Love” displaying some sweet-jazzy vocal runs and her is so smooth arrangement that beautifully captures the old skool feel to it and the production is sultry, I just wish the track was a big longer to fully pull on your heart strings as she sings about a topic I can so relate to about opening herself to love again and making peace with her past relationship that scared her.

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After giving her first live performance of her new single Beggin & Pleadin, singer Brandy wastes no time to unveil the brand new clip which premiered on BET all day today. In the The Mike Ho-directed clip, Brandy doesn’t stray far from her theatrical performance that she gave during the Black Girls Rock ceremony.
Check out the throwback inspired clip below.

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Brandy,Monica, Jazmine Sullivan and Andra Day showed how much they rocked they all performed at BET’s annual Black Girls Rock award ceremony. Celebrating the strength, courage and talents black girls everywhere. Brandy first hit the stage with her first live televised theatrical performance of ‘Beggin And Pleadin.’

Then Monica hit the stage to perform her new single “Alone In Your Heart,” Monica didn’t come alone, the ATL born singer brought on stage the very special black girl that rocks in her life, her daughter Laiyah.

Jazmine Sullivan Celebrated girls of all body type when she sang her motivational cut “Mona Lisa” from her latest album Realty Show. New comer Andra Day had the audience on their feet as she performed her breakout single “Rise Up.” Check out the performances below.

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Monica

Jazmine Sullivan

Andra Day

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After the premiere of her new show Zoe Ever After on BET, Brandy surprised her fans when she unleashed her brand new Pop & Oak-produced single “Beggin and Pleadin. Based on a true story, which she co-wrote with Kirby Lauren, Brandy lends her soulful voice over a bluesy beat. Check out Brandy’s new single below.

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While working hard in the studio with Stacey Barthe and Hit-Boy on her 7th studio album, Brandy is still keeping busy as she just announced that she will be making her Broadway debut as Roxie Hart in the Tony Award-winning musical Chicago. The eight-week limited engagement runs from April 28 to June 21 at the Ambassador Theatre in New York.

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Has Brandy switched record labels?

All signs certainly suggest so after the singer’s manager, Breyon Prescott, was recently appointed as the head of urban A&R at Epic Records, home to R&B artists such as CiaraTamar Braxton and, as announced today, Mariah Carey. What’s interesting is that the appointment sees the business mogul move his Chameleon Entertainment imprint – which Brandy is signed to – with him.

Now, Brandy is no stranger to label switches, as some may remember that Epic Records is the same label she departed from back in 2009 following the release of fifth studio album “Human“, before releasing her last effort, “Two Eleven“, via RCA Records and Chameleon in 2012. Her future with RCA has since been questioned after being removed from the labels website, prompting speculation that she is now without a record deal or has signed elsewhere.

Details below via Music Week:

Breyon Prescott has been named head of urban A&R at Epic Records.

In the role, announced by Epic Records chairman and CEO L.A. Reid, Prescott will be responsible for identifying, developing and nurturing new and existing talent for the label in addition to managing the urban A&R team. The exec will also bring his Chameleon Entertainment imprint to the label.

Said Reid: “It gives me great pleasure to welcome Breyon to Epic Records. His instincts, relationships and ability to deliver the hits are a perfect match for our A&R team. I’m especially proud of Breyon for spearheading the revival of iconic R&B group Jodeci… the guys have delivered an incredible album.”

Added Prescott: “After 20 years in this industry, I am honored to work with one of the last, true “record men” who undeniably has the best ears in the business. I am continually impressed by L.A.’s leadership and ability to stay passionate for his craft, in spite of all his groundbreaking success. We have some incredible music on deck for 2015 and I’m looking forward to having many more banner years at Epic.”

Prescott has worked as A&R executive, producer and executive producer on multi-platinum projects with Jamie Foxx, Drake, Kanye West, D’Angelo, Angie Stone and Brandy to name a few. As President/CEO of Chameleon Entertainment, Mr. Prescott continues to executive produce the latest Jamie Foxx project which is set for a December release, along with managing acts such as Nikki Williams and Brandy.

Whatever the case, Brandy’s return to music would be a great addition to 2015’s music calendar. Previous album “Two Eleven” saw her return to form when it produced the club banger that was “Put It Down“, her first top 10 on Billboard’s R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart in over 10 years. Here’s hoping the label move doesn’t hold up the new album’s release for too long.

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I can’t wait till Brandy comes back with another album but, until then we will have to settle for her guest features. Earlier today newcomers Mystery Skulls called upon Brandy & guitar legend Nile Rodgers for their  “Number 1″  off their upcoming debut Forever. Check out the single below.

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While she is working on the follow up to her 2012 album Two Eleven, Brandy gives her fans something to hold them over till the meantime putting an R&B twist  to Coldplay’s  hit single Magic. There is no word as when Brandy will announce her new music and label home but hopefully we will hear an announcement soon. Check out her cover below.