Thursday, February 12, 2009

R&B: Ryan & Bobby deliver on new releases

On Tuesday, I picked up the debut album for Ryan Leslie and Bobby Valentino's first album since leaving Def Jam/DTP.

I really didn't have any intentions to buy Bobby V's third album, The Rebirth. I was specifically going to the stores to buy Ryan Leslie.

I have the two earlier Bobby V albums and I'm pleased with his music, but this time around I really didn't feel compelled to pick it up. I guess I changed my mind while I was en route to the store when I heard him being interviewed by Angie Martinez on Hot 97 [around the same time Ryan Leslie was being interviewed by Wendy Williams on WBLS].

The interview was funny because Angie made reference to Bobby V favoring Al B. Sure on the cover of his album. It's probably the haircut, but I have to disagree with Ang. Nonetheless, Bobby V acknowledged the similarity and joked saying his eyebrows don't connect like Al B. Sure's did. LOL! Too funny. And who knew that just moments earlier on the other New York radio station Ryan Leslie was being called an anorexic Al B. Sure.

While both were being compared to looking like Al B. Sure, I think everyone can agree both are clearly better artists than the original R&B heartthrob.

Here's what I thought about both of their albums [released on Tuesday]:

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Bobby Valentino; "The Rebirth"

The R&B crooner from Atlanta has already proven himself to be a talented artist on his first two albums, but now he is out to establish himself away from the umbrella of Def Jam/Disturbing the Peace.

"Beep" featuring Yung Joc is the first single off the album. It's a catchy and radio-friendly track that you probably will catch yourself singing even though you probably think the song and its lyrics are silly [which it is]. "Beep beep beep beep beep / She goin let me Beep beep beep beep beep / I am tear it up when I Beep beep beep beep beep / She goin let me Beep beep beep beep," he sings on the chorus. This has to be one of the dumbest hooks since Color Me Bad's "I Wanna Sex You Up."

Of course, it wouldn't be a Bobby V album without tracks produced by Tim and Bob. They are like the equivalent of Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis to Janet Jackson during her early years. Tim and Bob were responsible for "Slow Down" and "Tell Me" from Bobby V's debut album. They also produced tracks for his second album.

On The Rebirth, the duo combined with Bobby V's smooth sound to make a winner out of "Make You the Only One," which bares a sound similar to "Slow Down."

Other stand out tracks include "3 is the New 2," about adding another woman into a relationship for a fantasy love affair, and the stellar remake of Tony Toni Tone's "Just Me & You," which features the group's lead singer Raphael Saadiq.

Overall, aside from "Beep" the album, which Bobby V was a co-executive producer on, is filled with slow jams, which could be good background music to help set the mood for Valentine's Day.


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Bobby Valentino "Just Me and You"



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Ryan Leslie; self-titled

Ryan Leslie has caused quite a buzz as a musical Jack of all trades courtesy of his popular YouTube videos and now he's released his debut self-titled album, showing everyone he is the real deal.

Leslie is more than just another R&B singer, he's his own producer and makes some clever and innovative beats. Just look at his YouTube videos, he'll show you how he takes household items and instruments to make magic.

He's already released three uptempo tracks "Diamond Girl," "How It Was Supposed To Be" and "Addiction" feat. Cassie and Fabolous. All are songs that are carried by their crafty beats as opposed to strong vocals.

But there is no denying that Leslie is genius. No, really he is. He shares something in common with President Obama --- both were edcuated at Harvard. Leslie enrolled at the Ivy League school at 15 and finished at 19.

Fans picking up this album may be disappointed that popular tracks featured on his YouTube channel -- RyanLeslieTV -- such as "I Gets Money" and "Taste 4 Your Love" were not included.

However, R-Les makes for it with tracks like "Quicksand" and "Valentine."

The album, executive produced by Leslie, must also be a dream come true for the record label because all the tracks were written and produced by Ryan Leslie. Thus probably saving Universal Motown a few dollars -- just what you would want during a recession, right?

And although economic times are tough, this 12-track album is certainly worth the money and will not disappoint.


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Ryan Leslie "Quicksand"



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