Miguel: This is They Reminisce Over You. I'm Miguel.
Christina: And I'm Christina. We wanted to take a minute to make a small request of all our listeners. If you're listening to us on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Goodpods or Podchaser, leave us a five star rating. You can also leave a review as well on Apple, Goodpods and Podchaser. Ratings, and reviews will help us with discoverability. And we want to get this out to as many like-minded folks as we can.
Miguel: We wanna get on the first page of these podcast apps.
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Miguel: Make sure to follow and interact with us on social media. We’re @troypodcast on the ‘gram and the bird. Also check out our website, troypodcast.com. It's where we post links to a lot of the things that we mention in the show, as well as transcripts and themed playlists that supplement our episodes and more.
Christina: Thank you again for your support. You ready to get into the show?
Miguel: Let's do it.
Miguel: This is They Reminisce Over You. I'm Miguel.
Christina: And I'm Christina. And today we're gonna talk about new R&B for old heads!
Miguel: Yes. That is the perfect title for this episode. It's a brilliant title. And if you had subscribed to our newsletter, you would know that this was coming because we put it in our last newsletter.
Christina: We sure did. With that said, let's just jump right in.
Miguel: Let's just skip all the shenanigans and get right to it.
Christina: So basically, you know, there's this discussion of is R&B dead? But before we even get to that, let's talk about what the old heads for us—I mean, we're the old heads now, but the people we consider old heads thought about our music.
Miguel: Because they said that R&B was dead in the late '80s and early '90s.
Miguel: So I will let you take the lead on this.
Christina: I feel like I mention this all the time, but I didn't really have a frame of reference. Because it's not like my family listened to R&B like, my parents or even my older sisters and stuff. So, me listening to R&B in the '90s, it was new to me.
Christina: So I had nothing to compare it to. There wasn't really anybody who was like, why are you listening to that terrible stuff? My mom might be like, what is this? But I didn't know what the criticism was. I think the general criticism is maybe they just thought the music, our '90s R&B just wasn't as good. They all sound the same and they're nasty.
Miguel: Right. That's basically what it boiled down to.
Christina: As if the '70s R&B isn't nasty as well.
Miguel: Yeah. So, there are things from the '70s and early '80s that were just as vulgar.
Christina: If not more.
Miguel: If not more, as the stuff that we grew up listening to. I can kind of understand what people are saying when they say that, in terms of going from the '70s to like, Jodeci or something. But the only really big difference that I can see is the production style. Where it went from a bunch of live instrumentation and there being a lot of bands to New Jack Swing and hip-hop influenced R&B.
Miguel: I really don't see much different in the content from the '70s to the '90s.
Christina: 'Cause for me, listening to '90s R&B is what made me discover '70s R&B, and I like '70s R&B.
Christina: So, with me going backwards, I can't really say why '90s R&B is so much worse. 'Cause to me it's just different.
Miguel: It's just when you get to a certain age things that you didn't grow up with, you just automatically dislike for some reason.
Miguel: I don't know why we're that way.
Christina: We just are.
Miguel: I try very hard not to be that guy.
Christina: And here you are.
Miguel: So, no, not really. Not really.
Miguel: There's, there's one specific thing, and we're gonna get into this later, that I have an issue with.
Miguel: But I cannot, and I refuse to be that get off my lawn guy when it comes to pretty much anything.
Christina: I think for me, I've come to accept that if I don't like something, it's like, you know what? Maybe this just isn't for me. So, as much as there's stuff that I don't like, I wouldn't tell anybody not to like it.
Christina: If someone really likes it, I wouldn't be like, this is trash. You should listen to TLC instead.
Miguel: Which is a lot of things that I remember adults saying when we were teenagers.
Miguel: Like, why are you listening to that? You need to be listening to some of this Smokey Robinson, or the Four Tops and Marvin Gaye. I've mentioned this several times before, that's the reason why I really don't like Babyface. And I got called out on Twitter.
Christina: You did.
Miguel: By Jay Ray and DJ Sir Daniel from the Queue Points podcast.
Christina: Yes. The homies had to virtually sit you down.
Miguel: They did. But, I like Babyface's production. I don't like his music personally.
Miguel: So, I can listen to some songs that he's produced. I don't want to hear him singing it. Because—
Christina: But you'll listen to Jon B, who sounds exactly like him.
Miguel: I'll listen to Jon B, but I can't listen to Babyface.
Miguel: But, his music tends to lean towards that older style that I'm really not into. There is a lot of stuff from the '70s and '80s that I do love. Like, I can listen to Marvin Gaye all day.
Miguel: I can listen to Stevie Wonder all day, until we get to the early '80s and that's, it gets kind of sketchy with Stevie. But his stuff from the '70s, I love it. This is what I was hearing from older family members, like, this is the stuff you need to be listening to and I don't wanna be that guy.
Christina: You're like, I don't listen to Babyface.
Miguel: Yeah. Like, my mom loves Babyface. I don't.
Christina: So Babyface, is he the crossover between our generation and your mama's generation?
Miguel: No, I don't think it's just Babyface. It's a whole collective that were out in the mid to late '80s that I really just don't fuck with.
Miguel: So, you got Babyface, you got Levert.
Christina: Yeah. You, you've mentioned Levert.
Miguel: You got like, the Rude Boys. That's the kind of stuff that I don't like.
Christina: [sings] "Written all over your face." No?
Miguel: So, I can't get into any of that. So, that's why I gravitated towards more of the Jodeci's, and things like that. So, I can understand the frustration that young people have today when some of us, not me and you specifically, but Gen-X say this shit sucks. Because it was done to us too.
Christina: Yeah. But there is one—I have one criticism for today's R&B that I just can't figure it out.
Miguel: So, let's get into today's R&B. Now, for me personally, I don't listen to a lot of quote unquote new R&B unless it's been vetted by somebody I trust. So if you don't tell me about it, like, friends and family suggest to me or even somebody on social media.
Christina: Trusted friends and family.
Miguel: Yes, whose opinion I trust and they think similarly to me. I'm not gonna go out seeking new R&B, quote unquote. Just because of the way we consume music. Like in high school, we could come home and sit in front of the TV four or five hours watching music videos, and it was just served up to us.
Miguel: You go on one of these streaming services today, you have 52 different playlists on the homepage to choose from. I'm not trying to waste my time sifting through those trying to find the diamond in the rough. I'll wait until somebody recommends something good to me and then I'll take it from there. For the most part, I like what I hear. There are some things that I don't like, and I can also say what I don't like about new R&B is our fault.
Christina: Our fault?
Miguel: I will tell you why.
Christina: Tell me why.
Miguel: Because we love Jodeci.
Miguel: That's why.
Miguel: There is a direct line from Jodeci to everything that people are complaining about today.
Miguel: Vulgar lyrics, the way people act, their style. It's all directly from Jodeci, living their hip-hop lifestyle.
Christina: Through R&B.
Miguel: Through R&B, and it just grew unchecked. Like, you can listen to a Jodeci record and see why Chris Brown is the way he is today, and I'm not saying it's a bad thing.
Christina: Uh huh.
Miguel: I'm just saying that we were like, the absentee parents of these kids who are now making R&B and then turning around and blaming them for the music that they make when they're listening to the shit that we liked.
Christina: Well, I hear what you're saying and perhaps I'm biased because Jodeci can do no wrong in my eyes.
Miguel: I didn't say they were wrong.
Christina: Or cause no harm.
Miguel: I didn't say they did.
Christina: But that is not my beef with R&B today.
Miguel: But I'm just saying that what they started in those days…
Miguel: We're looking at the direct result of it today.
Christina: Well, I see what you're saying in terms of like, R&B is a little more uncouth.
Christina: Shall we say? And R&B before Jodeci wasn't that edgy.
Christina: I don't know if edgy is the right word. Rugged?
Miguel: Yeah. cause even looking back at them now, compared to what we're seeing today, they weren't bad. They were Boyz II Men compared to some of the things that are happening today. But again, because we loved it so much. And we fed this to our kids, even though we don't have any, this is the result of it.
Christina: Our peers fed it to their kids.
Miguel: So, I can't be upset at somebody making a vulgar record because I was listening to "Freek'n You."
Christina: Right. See, that's something that I had to think about as I was re-listening to a lot of the new R&B that I have been listening to and just some of these artists, other songs that I haven't heard yet. And any time I would hear "vulgar" lyrics, I was like, calm down.
Christina: Like, I've heard this before. Maybe not stated like this, you know? I've heard this before.
Miguel: We listened to Janet Jackson.
Christina: Exactly. Velvet Rope.
Christina: I think the way some of these newer R&B singers express themselves is very 2020s.
Miguel: That's true.
Christina: So that's, that's the part that can be a little bit of a disconnect for me.
Christina: What was that song we heard in the store about, his girl's trying to get his phone code? I forgot—
Miguel: I don't even remember what it was.
Christina: I forgot what the lyrics was, but the whole song was just basically about how his girl is trying to break into his phone. We definitely—the context of that, I mean, we've heard that in our music of like—
Christina: Your boyfriend, girlfriend is trying to check up on you.
Christina: "I saw you walking in the rain," like…
Miguel: Oh man.
Christina: So I mean, the theme of it is not new to us, but the content in terms of like being in your DMs or trying to break into your phone or, I see you on my Instagram feed, that's very 2020s or very new.
Miguel: It is. But, again, that doesn't bother me.
Christina: Yeah. So it—that so much doesn't bother me. But I said I have one criticism, but I actually have two.
Christina: So my two criticisms of R&B today. Before we get into the stuff that I actually like. Some of the guys do it, but this seems to run much more rampant among the female R&B singers is, it's hard to explain, what people like to say on the social media apps, is usually described as singing in italics, Wingdings, superscript.
Miguel: Whispering bitches as Phonte would call them.
Christina: Okay. Yes—
Miguel: But that's a different group, though.
Christina: Yeah, Yeah. Whispering bitches as Phonte would call 'em, but I separate 'em. There's a difference between whispering and singing in Wingdings. Sometimes, they do both. The whispering and stuff, I don't mind because we've had that.
Christina: Um, like, even Mariah Carey, who's a powerhouse, she does the light whispering, but it usually builds up into something.
Christina: We had Aaliyah, Janet. So singing softly doesn't bother me.
Christina: Because it also shows control of your voice when you can keep it low sometimes, right?
Christina: Instead of belting all the time. So, the whispering stuff doesn't bother me. But that italics, Wingdings stuff? I don't know. I think it started to weird me out as of late or like the last year or so because like everybody's doing it.
Christina: And then, like, remember when we were starting the podcast and we were fooling around with, little audio, fixes, just kind of help with like noise and all that stuff?
Christina: And then sometimes you turn the, auto gate up too high or the noise cancelling and then it would distort our voices.
Christina: It kinda almost sounds like that too. Like, it's like, the auto tune is too high—I don't know how to describe it. There's a weird cadence. The runs kind of sound like maybe they're offbeat. Like there's no structure to them. And somebody on Twitter called it like 90% vibes, 10% singing.
Miguel: Well, for me, that is the one thing that I don't like about today's R&B as well, is like you said, these people just refuse to enunciate.
Miguel: And it's like, a mix of Elmer Fudd and Pootie Tang. Like, they have speech impediments. They're making up stuff and it's a bad combination.
Miguel: But these people don't have speech impediments. They're doing this on purpose.
Christina: They don't have speech impediments. They don't have like, specific accents to make them sound this way. I've heard this italic style being compared to Amy Winehouse who has…this kind of quality of her voice and this kind of like staccato cadence, but—
Christina: I can't describe why it's different. It ain't Amy Winehouse.
Miguel: Yeah, I can see that comparison as well to like, Amy Winehouse and the people that she was influenced by, like jazz singers from the '40s and '50s. You can see that—
Miguel: But the difference is, you could hear what they're saying.
Christina: I've also seen comparisons to Adele, but it's more of like, how her voice sounds. I can see that, but it's not how she actually sings and pronounces and enunciates, and she sings through her diaphragm.
Miguel: Yeah. So we spoke about this earlier, and I've listened to her for a few years now. I have no idea what SZA's talking about.
Christina: Yes. That's a perfectly good time—
Miguel: At all.
Christina: I was just about to bring SZA up. I'm not gonna say she started it, but I think she's the queen of italics. Because all I did was, I went to Twitter and I put in the search, "singing in italics." 80% of the tweets are about SZA.
Miguel: Are about SZA.
Christina: When the, Black Panther soundtrack came out, I loved "All The Stars." And she also has a song on, Rihanna's Anti, "Consideration," the first song. Um, she also did a remix with Calvin Harris for her song "Weekend," which has '90s vibes. So of course I'm all over it. So I love, love, love these songs. And then one day the switch just flipped and I was like, what the fuck am I listening to? You know, mishearing lyrics is nothing new. But I was like, what is this? So today I tasked you with listening to the last verse and the closing chorus of "All The Stars."
Miguel: Yes. And I've heard "All The Stars" several times. I've heard the song for, what, five years now? Since it's come out. The only thing I could understand her saying is "All The Stars."
Christina: Not even "are closer," just "All The Stars."
Miguel: Didn't even know—
Christina: The line is "all the stars are closer."
Miguel: Did not know that until 12 hours ago.
Christina: Yesterday is the first day I was like, you know what? Let me look up these damn lyrics. And reading the lyrics didn't really help me. So I decided to task you with listening to it and to tell me what you think she said.
Christina: And then I will tell you what these alleged lyrics are.
Miguel: So, I listened to the song and I paused it as I was listening to it just to try and write down what I thought I heard.
Christina: And if you want to do this experiment yourself, the timestamp starts around 2:17 which is the last—so at the end of the song, she sings a verse and then the chorus. Whereas earlier in the song, she's just singing the chorus.
Miguel: So, what we're gonna do right now is, do you have the lyrics—
Christina: I do.
Miguel: In front of you?
Christina: I sure do.
Miguel: All right. So you're gonna read, you're gonna read the, the first line, and then I'm gonna tell you what I thought she said.
Christina: Okay, so this is the beginning of the last verse. So she sings the chorus and goes into this verse.
Christina: So, it ends with "All the stars are closer." So, this first line of this verse is "Skin covered in ego."
Miguel: I wrote "my skin cold, when an eagle."
Christina: See, when I was listening to it, I was like, I just did this one line. I put "skin coved in eagle."
Miguel: "My skin cold when an eagle." That's what I wrote.
Christina: "Skin covered in ego."
Miguel: Okay, next one.
Christina: Next line. "Get to talkin', I get involved, like a rebound."
Miguel: Okay, I got that.
Miguel: Surprisingly. But I didn't put rebound. I said "wee bound."
Christina: "Wee bound."
Miguel: So I have, "wee bound" on here.
Christina: All right. Next. "Got no end game."
Miguel: Okay, I got that.
Christina: "Got no result."
Miguel: I got—I can't even say it. "Got no weason."
Christina: "Got no result." See, you said "weason," I put "weesult."
Miguel: I thought it was reason and I put "weason."
Christina: "Got to stay down."
Miguel: Got to stay down?
Christina: Yep. "Got no end game."
Christina: "Got no result. Got to stay down."
Miguel: I got one word. "Gottasteedow." That's what I thought. And that's when I started thinking about her sounding like Pootie Tang.
Christina: This next line I think wasn't so bad, like this—
Miguel: Yeah, this one I, I'm pretty sure I got.
Christina: Yeah. This, this next three lines wasn't too bad. "It's the way that you making me feel like nobody ever loved me."
Miguel: I got that.
Christina: "Like you do, you do."
Miguel: I have that, but I spelled "do," "T-H-D-U." 'Cause that's how it sounds to me.
Christina: The thing is, even when you can tell what she's saying, there's still this weird pronunciation. Like the "weesult" and the "you dooo, you dooooo."
Miguel: So that's why I spelled "do," "T-H-D-U."
Christina: Yeah. Um, "You kinda feel like you tryin' to get away from me."
Miguel: Okay. So I got that line too.
Miguel: But instead of "from me," I heard "fummy." F-U-M-M-Y. "You trying to get away fummy."
Christina: I would—you know what? I would let that slide in terms of like, you don't have to annunciate everything perfectly.
Miguel: You don't, but, it didn't sound like "from me," it sounded like "fummy."
Christina: Well, the thing, and it, it's not in this section. Actually, the thing that really hit me was when she said, "let's talk about love." And she said, "let's talk about loooow-ooow." And I'm like, wait a minute, who says love like that? And I think that was when I started to think about like, what the hell am I listening to? All right, so next line, "if you do, I won't move."
Miguel: I got that. Again, spelling "do," "T-H-D-U."
Christina: This part I think, isn't so bad either. "I just cry for no reason. I just pray for no reason."
Christina: Oh no. Okay, nevermind.
Miguel: I have, "I ain't the sky for no weason. I ain't this bright for no weason." That's what I heard.
Christina: "I just—I just cry for no reason."
Christina: "I just pray for no reason."
Miguel: All right.
Christina: "I give thanks for the day."
Miguel: "I have things for the day fully."
Christina: "Day fully?" Oh, that might have gone over to the next line then, where you said "day fully." 'Cause the next line is "For the hours and another way, another life breathin'."
Miguel: "Fully, I won't say another will, will like another breathing."
Christina: So "I give thanks for the day, for the hours and another way, another life breathin'."
Christina: "I did it all 'cause it feel good"
Miguel: I got that.
Christina: "But wouldn't do it all if it feel bad."
Miguel: I got that.
Christina: "Better live your life!"
Miguel: I got that too.
Christina: "We are running outta time." Oh no. This is the line "We are running out of time."
Miguel: I said, "Will running out of town"
Christina: "Love. Let's talk about 'loooow-ooow.'"
Miguel: I only knew that line because—
Christina: Of me.
Miguel: You've been saying it for years now.
Christina: Love. "Let's talk about love. Is it anything and everything you hope for?"
Miguel: I just have question marks.
Miguel: And then it ends with a "woo."
Christina: "Is it anything and everything you hoped for?" was your question marks?
Christina: And then the next two lines is, Kendrick. "Do the feeling haunt you? I know the feeling haunt you." See, the fact that you can understand Kendrick's lines when it's like, a background vocal and you can understand him.
Christina: But you can't understand the main vocal.
Miguel: I couldn't.
Christina: Okay, now we're getting into the chorus. I was reading this while listening to it. I was like, I can't make sense of it.
Miguel: I didn't even try.
Christina: Do you have question marks?
Miguel: Again. I didn't even try.
Miguel: All I know is "All the stars." That's it.
Christina: So, this one, the line is, "This may be the night that my dreams might let me know." But the way it sounds is like "do do do my dreams let me know."
Miguel: See I—
Christina: I'm like, how did you say "This may be the night that my dreams..." as two words?
Miguel: Yeah, I didn't, pick up any of that.
Christina: Can you play that line for me? 'Cause I just wanna hear it. So that timestamp is 3:20. Okay. Go back a little bit. All right. I'm gonna say it for you. "This may be the night that my dreams might let me know."
Miguel: Yeah. I never would've got that. That's why I didn't even try. All I could understand is "all the stars." That's it. Nothing else.
Christina: I can't even listen to the song anymore. She's got a lot of fans.
Miguel: I know she does. I've seen it. People are—
Christina: So, I know somebody is out there like, shut up, old head.
Miguel: Yes, they are eagerly anticipating her new album and her performance on SNL in a couple weeks.
Christina: Right. I can't do it.
Miguel: It's just not for me. Even though we just spent seven minutes butchering SZA.
Christina: We weren't butchering, we were trying to figure it out.
Miguel: Yeah, but, we still butchered SZA.
Miguel: We gave her a run. But it's just not for me.
Christina: Yeah, so, I mean, there are some of the male R&B singers that kind of fall into this italics category, but it's mostly among the female singers.
Christina: What I do notice that the male R&B singers—so this is my second criticism, is, you know, the sing songy rap. I don't particularly like that either. Which is weird because there have been rappers before that have have sung or done sing-songy stuff, but it just, the newer stuff just doesn't work for me. 'Cause remember we were watching something, one of these ciphers and like every rapper that came was just basically doing the sing-songy stuff?
Miguel: Yeah, it was for, one of the last BET Awards.
Miguel: The BET Hip Hop Awards.
Christina: And I was just like, oh, so this is rap now?
Miguel: Yeah, basically.
Christina: I felt so old. So then there are some male R&B singers that kind of do more of like a rap cadence style of singing. They sing a little bit more because they're, I guess singers and not rappers. Like, I just can't get into that.
Miguel: Well, just like I was pinning like, today's content on Jodeci.
Christina: Yes! The hip hop influence into R&B.
Miguel: But the style of singing that you're talking about comes from us as well. It's the nigga who shall not be named.
Christina: Which we haven't mentioned in a while.
Miguel: We haven't.
Miguel: So, point for me, but. That's something that he kind of started as well.
Christina: Yeah, yeah. Kind of like the talking, singing—
Christina: Like, it didn't have that structure.
Miguel: Yeah, so, we can take blame for this too. So, everything that we don't like about today's R&B, except for the enunciation, can be traced back to us and our generation. So, we are gonna have to take responsibility for what's going on today.
Christina: Well that actually leads, into our next topic—
Miguel: It does.
Christina: I think maybe we should take a little break first.
Miguel: So, I think we're gonna take a little break and come back and talk about artists that we do like.
Miguel: So we'll be right back.
Christina: Are you enjoying this podcast?
Miguel: Hell yeah.
Christina: If you are as much as he is, there's a couple things that you can do. You can feel free to drop some coins into our collection plate at ko-fi.com/troypodcast . And that's "ko-fi" K-O-dash-F-I dot com. Link is also in the show notes. We're self-funded, so any support would be appreciated. And if you don't have any extra coins to spare, just leave us a 5 star rating or review. Like JLo's love, it won't cost you a thing.
Miguel: You just sitting at home on the couch anyhow.
Christina: Alright, thanks.
Miguel: Back to the show.
Miguel: Okay. So we are back from our break, after spending a lot of time breaking down "All the Stars" by SZA.
Christina: And being crotchety old heads.
Miguel: Being the crochety old heads that we are. Let's get into the quote unquote new R&B artists that we do like.
Christina: Well, this kind of goes hand in hand with what you were just saying, that aside from this weird pronunciation stuff, that our generation are to fault. There are R&B singers who are kind of taking it back.
Christina: 'Cause most of the R&B that I like, surprise, surprise, the new R&B that I like, are the ones that have the '90s flair to them.
Miguel: Yeah, it's—
Christina: It's updated.
Miguel: It's very '90s, but updated for 2022.
Christina: Yes. It's very 2020s or you know, late, I don't even know, 2010s. Is that what we're calling it?
Christina: The late 2010s, 2020s. But, you could tell who their influences are.
Christina: And also makes me feel that now we're so old, our music's coming back around.
Miguel: It is.
Christina: So, know who the first person I'm gonna bring up is?
Miguel: Yes, it's probably my favorite.
Christina: Durand Bernarr.
Christina: He is a fool, but I love him.
Miguel: Yeah, I was first exposed to him through Teedra Moses.
Miguel: So, that kind of goes back to what I was saying, when I find out about new artists, it's from people I trust. And I like Teedra Moses. I don't think she would steer me wrong in terms of, hey, you should check this out. So I did.
Miguel: And I saw a fool, as you said. 'Cause he's—
Christina: And I mean that as a compliment.
Miguel: Yeah, it, it's a good thing. 'Cause he's hilarious.
Christina: He is hilarious, but, he is so talented.
Miguel: So, he's hilarious yet he can sing his ass off. So, that's what drew me in and kept me there.
Christina: Well my introduction to him was when you sent me the clip of him on, that YouTube show, The Terrell Show.
Christina: He was just singing this ridiculous, just off the dome stuff. But he's doing it in all these different octaves and styles and stuff. He's playing the keyboards and—
Miguel: Wasn't he singing like, some made up Isley Brothers type song that he was doing? 
Christina: Yeah, he was changing all the words to be like, really inappropriate and very, you know, 2020s as we say. I can't even remember, but I do remember lyrics on his album.
Christina: But that prompted me to actually look him up because I really like his voice. He's hilarious and entertaining, but he can sing. So, I looked him up and at the time his latest album was just, it just spelled—so his name is Durand, but the album is D U R with the ampersand [Dur&]. So, that came out in 2020. So, I listened to that for a while. So, see these are the kind of quote unquote vulgar lyrics that I can get on board with 'cause it's hilarious.
Christina: So, he has this song called "Relocate" in his very '90s vibe, So, the song goes, "Dick so good, make a bitch relocate." So, he's talking about some dude just so enamored with him that he moved just to be near him and he was like, Uh uh, I never signed up for this. But the song is so good.
Christina: Even though it's ridiculous at the same time. And then he's got a song with Ari Lennox called "Stuck." And so he's singing in this Prince-like falsetto, and he sounds like an angel. And then he goes, "Sing Nate Dogg." And then he singing in that low octave.
Miguel: And the fact that Nate Dogg is one of his influences is hilarious to me. Because it's not like Nate was the greatest singer in the world, but he loves Nate Dogg.
Christina: And you could tell.
Christina: How does this man sing like Prince and Nate Dogg in the same song?
Miguel: So, yeah. I'm a fan. I, I can get behind what he's doing.
Christina: Yeah. And he has a lot of, I mean right now we're kind of calling them like, R&B singers, but I've noticed that a lot of people on my list anyways, aren't strictly R&B.
Miguel: Yeah. The term R&B is not the same as the R&B that we grew up with.
Miguel: It's a lot more eclectic. Like it, it's kind of even hard to categorize this as R&B, I guess, just because the majority of 'em are Black—
Miguel: We're gonna call it R&B.
Christina: And a lot of their influences—
Miguel: Are R&B.
Christina: Are R&B.
Miguel: But, there is a wide range of quote unquote R&B here. So, there's like, alternative, there's neo soul, there's some that's pop leaning, so, technically it's R&B.
Christina: Yeah. So, I was really stuck on that album for a while and by the time I got you into like, actually listening to his music, 'cause I mean you introduced him to me, but then I reintroduced you back into him.
Miguel: 'Cause I had only heard a couple songs but never listened to a full album.
Miguel: And then I listened to that one and then when the new one came out, Wanderlust—
Miguel: I've been all over that.
Christina: Oh man. "Lil Bit." That's my favorite. "I want my baby lil bit ugly."
Miguel: That's amazing.
Christina: "Gotta be fine to me."
Christina: I think what puts him at the top of my list is, that it's entertaining and great music.
Miguel: Yeah. Another one that I like listening to, it's kind of hard to pull you over to this side 'cause you only like a few of her songs.
Miguel: Ari Lennox. Her second album more so than the first. I described that one, kind of like if, how did I say it? 'Cause I actually put—
Christina: Something about Erykah Badu.
Miguel: Yes. I said if you took Erykah Badu, Teedra Moses, sprinkle in a little Mariah Carey, you would end up with Ari Lennox's most recent album.
Miguel: One thing I do have to say about her album that I don't believe, because she's so young, why is the title of the album, Age/Sex/Location?
Christina: Yeah, I was thinking that—
Miguel: She ain't old enough to know about that.
Christina: That's what I was thinking. How old is she?
Miguel: I don't know how old she is, but she shouldn't know about that. That era should have missed her.
Christina: Cause I remember the A/S/L stuff when I was in university.
Miguel: Yeah, but she was probably a kid then—
Christina: So, maybe she was like, I know, but—
Miguel: So, she wouldn't know about that.
Christina: Yeah. But you know, these kids be getting on the internet a lot earlier than we were.
Miguel: I guess.
Christina: So, I think it's possible.
Miguel: But outside of that, the album itself, I am a fan of.
Christina: I wanted to like this album more. And it's not that I don't, I just didn't like it as much as I thought I would, and I have no reason for it. I would still put this album on a recommendation list, even if I don't really listen to it that much. But when I was re-listening to it today, "Hoodie" really gave me, um, "Didn't Cha Know" vibes.
Christina: From Erykah's, what was it? Mama's Gun, I think.
Miguel: So like I said, if you take elements of those three singers and mix 'em up in a pot, you'll end up with Ari Lennox. And I'm okay with that.
Christina: Yeah. I think maybe I'm just gonna explore a little bit more.
Christina: So, another new-ish, and when we say new, we're talking about like 2010s
Miguel: Yeah. Not someone who—
Christina: Or late—
Miguel: Is from like, 2005. Or, even last year. They've been out for a while, but still kinda fresh.
Christina: They're new to us.
Christina: They're current.
Christina: So, um, another female R&B singer that I like is Snoh Aalegra.
Christina: And you were saying how you discover a lot of stuff by recommendations from trusted folks.
Christina: For me, I was on Spotify for a while and then I ended up on Tidal. But both music platforms started to learn my style.
Christina: And so, it started to serve me up a couple new artists every now and again because maybe I would listen to an artist that was kind of like a, in between. Maybe they had a feature or something like that.
Christina: So, that's where I found a lot of, these newer R&B artists. And that's how I found Snoh Aalegra. It was just one of these, generated playlists.
Miguel: Right. The ones that I never click on.
Christina: Yeah. No, no, but it'll be like your radio based on Usher.
Miguel: Like I said, those are the ones I never click on.
Christina: Oh, I thought you meant like the pre-made playlists.
Christina: So anyways, Snoh Aalegra was one of those. The first song I heard was, it was either "Whoa" or "I Want You Around." And it's on her 2019 album. And you know, when I say the content is still very 2020s or late 2010s?
Christina: The album is called - Ugh, Those Feels Again. I remember seeing that album title and I'm like, ugh, I'm like, I feel too old to be listening to an - Ugh, Those Feels Again. But then today I was digging into her background and I'm like, of course I like her. So, she did release her first single back in 2009, but I don't think it really went anywhere. But then she signed to No I.D.'s label in 2013.
Miguel: There you go.
Christina: She was mentored by Prince in 2014 up until his death. Her first EP in 2016 had production from James Fauntleroy, No I.D. and Boi-1da. So I'm like, of course I like her because look at who she works with.
Christina: Right. So I listened to that 2019 album a lot. And then I've been meaning to listen to her newer one that came out in 2021 called Temporary Highs. And I listened to it, a little bit more today. So I'm definitely gonna dig into that a little bit more. But she's someone that I like more than just a couple singles.
Christina: Like I can see myself actually listening to albums. Although back to the whole current content stuff, she also has a song called "Situationship."
Christina: Which makes me feel really old. Again, these are like new things for us.
Christina: We didn't have situationships, we called it talking to or something along those lines.
Do you have any other favorites you wanna bring up?
Miguel: Yeah. I don't know if I really wanna call her a new artist because she's been around forever, since she was like 12 and now she's married with children. But, Teyana Taylor.
Christina: I had her on my Honorable Mentions list.
Christina: For the same reasons. Like she's not really new.
Christina: But she's new to us because we've always said this, where we kind of stopped or didn't seek out new music around like mid 2000s-ish.
Christina: Like 2006-2008. So to me and you, I still consider her new.
Miguel: She's one that I like as well.
Christina: Yeah. I feel like she just hasn't been given the right opportunities to blow up like she should. I feel like she's the Teedra Moses of this generation.
Miguel: I can see that. I won't say that she hasn't had the right opportunities because she's had great opportunities. They just didn't work out.
Miguel: 'Cause she was signed to Star Trak. So, you're being produced by the Neptunes. You go from the Neptunes to Kanye, and those are two great positions for an artist to be in. It just didn't work out for her.
Christina: Yeah, I think that's…that's basically what I mean. For whatever reason it didn't work out. 'Cause that album that she had with Kanye, she herself said the night before, I don't know if it was a listening party or if they just listened to it, but she's like, what was released the next day was totally not what she heard.
Christina: And so that's what I mean by like, not the right opportunities.
Miguel: I will say that that's definitely Kanye's fault and knowing what we know about Kanye in the past seven, eight years or so…
Miguel: It's on brand. So, I won't fault her for that. But at the same time, it is Kanye, so that should get her exposure. But it just hasn't worked out the way that I thought it would. The same way her being signed to the Neptunes didn't really work out. Like you have the exposure, but for whatever reason, the songs just don't stick.
Miguel: But I like them.
Christina: Yeah. I really like her. There's definitely a handful of songs too that I listen to pretty regularly. And I don't know how to express it. I just kinda wish she had, I don't know what it is. Maybe the stars would align a little bit better. But it's not like she's doing bad.
Miguel: No, she's—
Christina: I just think she could be—she has potential to be much bigger.
Miguel: I think so.
Miguel: Because the talent is there.
Miguel: For whatever reason, it doesn't work out for everybody.
Christina: Another person that I just kind of stumbled into, I think it was also another one, those random playlist suggestions was Mac Ayres.
Miguel: I only know of Mac Ayres through you.
Christina: And the first song I heard was "Get Away." And I was like, I really like this. And I looked him up. I ain't gonna lie, I was not ready for him to be White.
Christina: But his album that "Get Away" is on is called Juice Box. So I was just like, what is this? And I listened to the album and I couldn't stop listening to it.
Miguel: I know.
Christina: Like, I love it.
Miguel: I am aware.
Christina: And even when I was re-listening to "Get Away" today, there's this part where he's singing the chorus, and then the last note of the chorus he holds the note and it ends up being the background vocals for the next round of the chorus.
Christina: And it's amazing. And just little things like that that he does. And so again, I saw him on The Terrell Show after I started kind of digging into him a little bit more. And he's starts off the show with doing a Stevie song. I can't remember which one. It's, it's a song I'm not familiar with.
Christina: And Terrell is just like melting in his chair. And then he was like, "So, what music did you grow up listening to? 'Cause I know they all look like me." And he's like, "Well, yep." So, he said that he grew up in Long Island, New York. And he's like, "Everybody there loves Billy Joel. And I was like, fuck that." So, he said he was such a huge American Idol fan as a kid. And when he saw Fantasia and the way she was singing, he was changed.
Christina: And that through this fandom and watching the show, a lot of the contestants would sing Stevie songs, and that's how he got turned onto Stevie.
Christina: So his biggest influences are Stevie Wonder. Well, and I guess Fantasia, as well as in some other interviews, he mentioned, Teddy Pendergrass, D'Angelo, and J Dilla. So again, of course, this is why I like him.
Miguel: Everything that you like, he likes.
Christina: Exactly. And sings really good live as well. Like the way you hear him on the album is exactly how he sings live.
Christina: So, he's got a Tiny Desk (Home) Concert where he had, recorded himself singing different parts of the song. So, now he's harmonizing with himself. So, since we lost Robin Thicke after the "Blurred Lines" debacle.
Miguel: Oh man.
Christina: I think he's gonna be my new blue eyed soul stand-in.
Miguel: Oh man. I'm not adding anybody to any teams or inviting people to cookouts. I'm not doing any of that, but I will listen to his music. Because you never know.
Christina: It's true.
Miguel: You never know.
Christina: It's true. All right.
Miguel: So, is there anybody else that you would like to talk about? There's some people that we've added to our New R&B for Old Heads playlist that we haven't mentioned yet.
Christina: There's a few other that that I'll just mention and I would say just go and check it out for yourself or go look at our playlist. But a few other ones like Arin Ray, he got his start on X Factor. And then he got cut and did some songwriting for a while, and then he popped back up again with his own music like, a few years ago. DVSN, two boys outta Toronto off of the OVO lineup. And there's a couple others that I just know by like a couple songs here and there that I want to dive into a little bit more. There's, I'm not sure how to pronounce it, but Leven Kali. Um, Amber Mark. I just discovered VanJess just like, a week ago. It's these two sisters.
Christina: I'm sure there's a whole bunch more, but I'm still discovering.
Miguel: Yeah, and the ones that we've mentioned so far is on our playlist that you can check out on Spotify. And if you had signed up for our newsletter, troypodcast.com/newsletter, you would've had this playlist a month ago.
Christina: And if you sign up now, you'll get an updated playlist 'cause I'm sure we're gonna add a few more songs after this episode.
Miguel: Yeah, there will be more songs added and a new playlist playlist for next month. So go ahead and sign up. With that said, with that shameless self-promotion—
Christina: Hey, you gotta do it.
Miguel: Is there anything else that you wanna say before we wrap this all up?
Christina: Um, I wanna say I think you should look up VanJess.
Christina: Cause when I was digging into them, I found that they did a dance cover of "Say Yes."
Miguel: Floetry's "Say Yes?"
Christina: Yes. Floetry.
Miguel: Yes. Okay.
Christina: A cover of "Groove Thing" and then they have a song called "Come Over," which samples Faith's "Come Over."
Miguel: Okay. All right. I don't know how I'll feel about that, but I'll look into it.
Christina: All right.
Miguel: Like I said, I trust vetted, like, suggestions. So if you've listened to it and said that, I would like it, I believe you. So I'm gonna check 'em out.
Christina: All right.
Miguel: Uh, the only thing I have to say is, one, R&B is not dead. It is alive and well. And the criticisms that people have about current day R&B is our fault.
Christina: I'm not gonna, I'm not gonna take blame for the italics though.
Miguel: Yeah, the italics and the enunciation. I will not blame that on us. That's, that's y'all.
Christina: That's what happens when it's 90% vibes.
Miguel: Yeah. But in terms of the content and the way people are dressing, the way people are acting, that is us as absentee parents—
Christina: We ain't got no kids.
Miguel: Leaving kids at home in front of the TV and letting them run wild. So, a lot of us are turning into those parents from the Geico commercials. You know, the ones that are turning into their parents.
Christina: Oh, turning into their parents.
Miguel: Yeah. So, I don't wanna be the those people. So, if they are making R&B music in 2022 and beyond, go for it. I'm not gonna say it's dead. It might not be for me. But there is some stuff out there that I do like, and we've listed those people as well.
Christina: And there's more.
Miguel: Yeah, there's tons more. So find it. It's out there.
Christina: Or just listen to our playlist and you don't have to look for it.
Miguel: Exactly. I've done the work for you. So on that note, I think we can just go ahead and wrap this episode up.
Miguel: If you wanna check us out at troypodcast.com and check out the playlists, links to music videos and things like that that we've spoken about in this episode, feel free to do so. And we out.