April 12, 2024

Jams 247

Jams & News 24/7


12 min read

Another week has passed, and like clockwork, another set of tours and festivities has been announced. This week, after several teasers, Dreamville Fest 2024 unveiled its entire lineup. Headliners for the multiday event include SZA and Chris Brown. Speaking of Brown, in addition to his forthcoming festival appearance, he will hit the road for a tour of his own (11:11 Tour) with special guests Ayra Starr and Muni Long. Also, Mary J. Blige’s 2024 Strength of a Woman Festival And Summit declared its complete set of performers, including Jill Scott. In other show news, New Edition decided to extend their residency at Wynn Las Vegas due to overwhelming demand. 

But what new music dropped this week? This Fresh Finds Fridays column features releases from Eric Bellinger, Ledisi, Jade Novah, Kenyon Dixon, Fridayy, Lekan, Sinéad Harnett, Elle Varner, Yaya Bey, Nippa & Show N Prove, and PxRRY featuring Jon Vinyl & Tone Stith. Check out this week’s roundup below. Don’t forget to let us know who you’re listening to in the comment section below.

Eric Bellinger – The Rebirth 3: The Party & The Bedroom

Eric Bellinger is an underappreciated figure in R&B. But those with enough sense and taste to follow his career have been winning for years. His latest album, The Rebirth 3: The Party & The Bedroom, shows those new kids on the block how he entered the game and why he’s one of the most sought-after collaborative partners. 

Comprised of two halves, 24 songs to be exact, Bellinger is pulled between immaturely loving for sport and the true power of love and intimacy. Each part of this project steps into different pockets of the genre, including contemporary, rhythmic, and alternative. Although the total run time could be a deterrent for some, after you trim away the filler tracks, The Rebirth 3: The Party & The Bedroom is a solid look at all that Bellinger is as a musician.

If you’re looking for a cohesive body of work, this isn’t that. However, if you’re looking for a project to help you tap into different points of your romantic journey, it has everything you want, plus some other goodies.

Standouts on The Rebirth 3: The Party & The Bedroom include “Drop” featuring Sevyn Streeter, “Body On Mine,” and “Run That Back” featuring K Camp (from Disc 1). From Disc 2,  “Top Tier” featuring Tone Stith, “Reciprocate,” and “Backstage” featuring Zae France are the strongest.

Ledisi – Good Life

Ledisi is one of the greatest active voices right now; there is no denying that. But good is all that talent; if she steps off stage, everything is a wreck. On her latest album, Good Life, she explores the different areas of her identity outside of being a phenomenal vocalist. 

Across 13 songs, Ledisi dives into her self-view, love life, spiritual connection, and more. Although the album falls short of showcasing her full range as a vocalist, you can’t help but think that isn’t its purpose. What might’ve started as a conceptual album transitions into a personal check-in.

Just as no topic is left unexplored, the same goes for the sonic undertones. Good Life has a balance of smooth jazz, contemporary R&B, and modern gospel, which deserves recognition. Listeners are well aware of what Ledisi is vocally capable of, but this shows what she can do as a curator. Good Life’s standout tracks include “Good Life,” “Magic (Voila),”  “Perfect Stranger” featuring Kenny Lattimore, and “Good Year.”

Jade Novah – Where Have I Been?

Jade Novah is back and better than ever. Her new album, Where Have I Been?, will make you immediately forgive the singer for the two-year break if you’re counting from her 2022 EP Moon In Pieces. Or a four-year hiatus if you only acknowledge her 2020 album, Stages.

Despite its robust tracklisting, Jade keeps you engaged across each of the 24 songs. Where Have I Been? is a theatrical release set to music. As far as the content is concerned, the body of work is the epitome of internal reflection projected outward. For the sake of healing, Jade has to untangle the webs that have kept her in emotional bondage. Without hesitation, is it safe to crown this as her most substantial release to date. 

From the sheer display of her vocal abilities to her terk-jerking songwriting, the ease of storytelling pulls the listener into her world in a way only linked to the grand stages of Broadway. By pulling in trained and awarded thespians Wayne Brady and Leslie Odom Jr., the multilayered narratives being shaped on Where Have I Been? are immediately heightened. Tabitha Brown’s tender voice as the narrator was a cleverly intentional act.  The nature Jade’s mental healing journey requires a tranquil guide such as Brown. When Jade begins to shake the tree of trauma, as most of us have learned, you may think you know where the source of your pain is, but it often runs far more profound than you could imagine. 

From conversations about betrayal in romantic relationships to lack of emotional reassurance by family, love is a complex feeling to navigate, especially if you’ve only ever received fragmented servings. Where Have I Been? is a conversation starter, a stained journal filler, and most importantly, the return we needed from Jade Novah.

The standout tracks on Where Have I Been? are “Lost In You,” “Affirm Me,” and “No More Words” featuring Leslie Odom Jr.

Kenyon Dixon – The R&B You Love: Soul of The ‘70s

In our current era of sampling fatigue, it’s very easy to reference and not innovate, to mirror and not expand upon. But that’s not what you walk away from after listening to Kenyon Dixon’s latest EP, The R&B You Love: Soul of The ‘70s.

Across the six featured tracks, the stark advocate for the past’s musical ethos, Dixon pays homage to the era’s signature sounds while reimagining it for 2024. The horns, melodies, and song structuring may seem familiar, but they are all packaged from Dixon’s unique perspective. Although Dixon wasn’t born until 1989, so the ‘90s and 2000s would be more of his speed, as a student of the game, he can acknowledge the foundation the ‘70s set for R&B music. Besides, Dixon has already screamed his admiration for those decades from the mountain tops and in the booth. 

For this project, Dixon leaned into the soulful instrumentation that resonated at the time, sultry harmonies, and strict pockets to give listeners a true blast from the past. What makes The R&B You Love: Soul of The ‘70s stick out from Dixon’s other attempts at period tip-offs is it feels more carefully combed through. There’s a nuance and feel that had been missing in the past. Sight unseen, you have no choice but to believe he was a slick man staying far away from the jive turkeys at those times.

Dixon’s constant advocacy for musicianship and careful curation seen on this project prove that he is one of the most beloved acts out now. Standouts on The R&B You Love: Soul of The ‘70s include “Never Gonna Give You Up” and “Can I Have This Groove.”

Fridayy – “Without You”

Fridayy has become this generation’s voice. His deep emotional register and ability to inject his feelings into every note make his music irresistible. Even more so, these factors make his work quite relatable. 

On his new single, “Without You,” co-produced FAXONLY, Bam Beatzz, Euro, Kofo, Jean LeBlanc, and Ryan Ofei, Fridayy does it yet again. The record, penned following the passing of his father, is an extended play of his own personal grief to encourage fans who are experiencing the same or similar pain. Throughout the track, he questions identity without his father here in the physical sense, how it rattled him and changed his perspective on what his life will look like moving forward. 

“One last time, I get to see your face / Knowin’ you won’t take your love away / Lookin’ over your body, tellin’ you to give me a sign / Standin’ right here, waitin’ on you to open your eyes / Oh, could this be the last time that I get to hold your hand? / I’m breakin’ down, I hear you tellin’ me to be a man / You know I ain’t shit without you, how could you leave me alone? / I’m goin’ far away ’cause without you, there’s no hope,” sings Fridayy.

“Without You” is Fridayy’s first release in 2024. 

Sinéad Harnett – “The Most”

Manipulation, misplaced anger, lack of emotional availability, and refusal to reciprocate are all elements of a resentful lover. Sadly, Sinéad Harnett has been at the receiving end of many of these painful experiences. On “The Most,” the London native gives listeners a peek into that dreadful time in her life.

“Why you so aggravated on the phone? / If I’m so hard to be with, be alone / You’re projecting your insecurities / Everything’s all about you, don’t put it on me / You had me wishin’ you could mean what you say / But you’re so good at games / It’s calculated when you claim you had changed, but you just stay the same,” sings Harnett.

At the core of “The Most,” Harnett aims to take inventory of the relationship, after which she realizes that it just doesn’t serve her. When she finally realizes that she’s unable to combat the gaslighting used to mask her partner’s underperformance, she exits stage left. If they aren’t going to love on her, then she will have to do it herself.

“The Most” is Sinéad Harnett’s third single off her forthcoming album, Boundaries.

Lekan – “614”

The path to success isn’t a road quickly traveled. It can become extremely challenging when you factor in your dreams or tunnel vision of your life’s purpose. Lekan knows this all too well. In his new single, “614,” the Columbus, Ohio native takes a musical stroll down memory lane. 

Produced by Bongo ByTheWay, “614” pays homage to his Midwest upbringing while reflecting on the grit it took for him to get a taste of the glamorous life. Split into two segments, the first portion of the record is for the newer fans. Beautifully crafted to fit into the traditional R&B sound, Lekan thanks his family, specifically his mother and father, for their support in helping him push forward in chasing his dream.

The latter end of the record is a gritty trap-R&B mix that uses the chopped-and-screw distortion to demonstrate the ruggedness he had to embrace to make it out of his past circumstances. This portion of the song is for longtime supporters and those in a similar circumstance.  

In an upload on Instagram, Lekan added context to the single, writing: “Define yourself. #RoadTo614.” To know where you’re going, you must know where you’ve been. For Lekan, that’s to the top of the R&B game.

“614” is Lekan’s first release of 2024.

Elle Varner – “Black”

Black History Month and its official celebration in the United States may be over, but Elle Varner is not done pouring love into Black people. On the singer’s new single, “Black,” she took a moment to shout her love for them and being a member of the melanated community.

“Don’t let them play with your pride / Don’t let them tell you no lies / It’s on your body but its really inside / I don’t know about you, but I’m so glad to be Black,” sings Varner.

The track, written and produced by Varner, is a joyous return to music, and what better way to do that than loving on the legacy of your culture? “Black” references many pioneering Black civil rights figures, including Rosa Parks, to the everyday Black person just existing in a world where it can be challenging to do so.

Varner shared a simple message in the description of the song posted to Soundcloud. “I’m back,” she wrote. “I’m Black. And we got the summer anthem.”

On Instagram, Varner continued the celebration with another note. “I’m so proud,” she wrote. “My dad is so proud. My mom is so proud. The first of many new releases 🤎. I had to end Black History Month proper 🙌🏽.” 

“Black” is Elle Varner’s first song since 2020’s “Pull The Strings.”

Yaya Bey – “Sir Princess Bad B*tch”

What do you do when no one is pouring into you? Well, that’s simple. You follow in Yaya Bey’s steps and pour into yourself. On the Brooklyn, New York native’s new single, “Sir Princess Bad B*tch,” she isn’t wanting around to be affirmed. She has the covered. 

The record, which was co-produced by Corey Fonville and Devonne Andre Harris, draws inspiration from House music. Firstly, the production is tied up in the infectious, upbeat dance tempo. Second, just as it is a spirit-warming concoction, that song’s message penetrates even further.  

“See, the beautiful thing about me / Is every little beautiful thing / Is on its way to me / How favored am I? / Well let’s f*ck around and find out / Ask me where my haters at / Well all them n****s in time out,” sings Yaya.

In a statement shared with ThisIsRnB, Yaya revealed that the track contains another hidden message: “[This song] embodies the complexities of my identity as a genderqueer person.”

“Sir Princess Bad B*tch” is the latest release from Yaya Bey’s forthcoming album, Ten Fold, due out May 10. Presave here.

Nippa – “Around The World” featuring Show N Prove

It is often said that opposites attract. But for Nippa, that isn’t necessarily the case. The Tottenham, North London representative’s new single, “Around The World” featuring Show N Prove, highlights that sometimes birds of a feather should flock together. For Nippa, that means someone with experience under their belt. 

As he navigates his budding fame, Nippa has enjoyed what the rise in profile has afforded him with the ladies of the world. By the same token, he isn’t wrapped up in the patriarchal sanctions forced upon women. A lady with sexual prowess is his preference, and as much as he enjoys his freedom, he is willing to give it all up should the right one come along.  This is at the center of “Around The World.”

“Close the window ’cause these women wanna tease / I ain’t down, I’m recordin’ like a fiend / Sh*t’s hard, it’ll make you wanna stream / And these rich kids love it, so they bring all the P’s / Fine, fine girl on the phone tellin’ that she ready for the D, and I can’t ignore it / And I’ma give her what she needs, I don’t care about the P’s, I’ll let her charge me for it,” sings Nippa.

“Around The World” is Nippa’s first release of 2024.

PxRRY – “You Don’t Call Me” featuring Jon Vinyl and Tone Stith 

Partly due to the matchmaking apps and the isolation of the global pandemic, ghosting is a true epidemic in today’s dating environment. Depending on who you ask, some would classify it as an endemic. PxRRY might agree with this assessment. In his latest single, “You Don’t Call Me,” the Hartford, Connecticut native talks about this emotional plague. Alongside Jon Vinyl and Tone Stith, the rising R&B stars outline how ghosting affects men from their perspective. 

“Did you forget about me? / Did you really think that you could do this sh*t without me? / I still read our messages when I get faded / Please, make up your mind, don’t keep me waitin’ / I brought out the best in you / F*ck about what your next gon’ do / Held you down, you know I was solid / Stuck around, know I put the time in / Now when I hit your phone, it’s on silent,” sings PxRRY.

In a world full of casual hookups and emotionally unavailable people, what are diehard romantics to do when they are left out to bleed out figuratively? This record, which was Phil The Keys, Dinero, Hossy, and Prodcrater, is the sultry lifeline to rescue those certified lover folks. Although “You Don’t Call Me” doesn’t conclude with a happy ending, it has something much more important: a call for self-awareness to warm others from falling into the sinking sand of situationship nothingness. 

“You Don’t Call Me” is PxRRY’s follow-up to “Only One,” released in January.


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