A few weeks back, ATL crooner Kev Samples dropped his Death Of R&B mixtape, cosigned by beef meistro extrordinaire, DJ Whoo Kid. While we weren't quite so sold on the novelty of a "R&B dis mixtape" (those tombstones are supposed to represent Ne-Yo et al), Kev definitely seemed to believe in his cause. Plus, "Only Tricks Love A Stripper" is the kind of universal sentiment men women and children of all ages can get behind. So we got Kev on the line to see what his master plan is for all these aggy anthems - check what he had to say after the jump.
Are you in NYC right now or Atlanta?
I’m in New York right now. Working on a couple of new songs with Red Spyda, so I’m over at the Spyda Dome, doing a few interviews, a couple of things with Spyda, closing up the album.
I’ve never heard any of his R&B stuff - what kind of sound do you and Spyda come up with?
Ah, man, with Red Spyda, we kinda hittin ‘em on a little bit of all of it. We did a few tracks together, and went harder with the club feeling. Got one song with Petey Pablo on that mixtape called “Naughty.” It’s for the club, but then we actually just did another song that’s a ballad called “We Are One” and it's like a love song, so Spyda's actually showing his musical side. He’s on the acoustic guitar, its got electric guitar in it, some keys, so we doing a couple of different sounds over there at the Spyda Dome.
Who else have you been working with?
Oh man, this album is turning out incredible. I got a song with Scott Scorch, I got a song that has Lupe Fiasco on it, got a hot sixteen bars from him on that. I got a song with Cool and Dre, I got a song with Shea Taylor, he’s the guy that actually produced Ne-Yo’s joint, “When You’re Mad.” My one guy down in Orlando called Sticks, he used to be an in-house producer with Mobb Deep, so we got a few great ones [from him] on there. I’m a writer, I actually teamed up with a couple of big name writers on a few of my joints. I wrote with Ryan Toby from City High, I wrote one with Pooh Bear, those guys actually both worked on Usher’s Confessions album, so the collabos I’ve done on the record are crazy.
What was your concept for the LP?
The album is titled Screaming For More, it’ll hit stores this fall. The thing that I wanted to accomplish with this album was just to give the people more, I wanted to give more lyrically. If you listen to the lyrics of my songs its not just “Hey I saw this girl across the street, she was pretty, I said hi, me and her went to…, you know, and fell in love,” I tried to give more with the lyrics, I gave more with the harmonies. If you listen to my music you’re gonna hear a lot more harmonies, your gonna hear more crescendos and descrescendos, you’ll hear a resolution and a climax in songs, you know, great transitions. So the concept was more music, more of what I believe. A lot of the songs are different, they’re not what a lot of R&B cats are doing today, and I think that’s what R&B needs today, its just more, that’s why I did the mixtape.
You were looking for controversy with the mixtape, what’s been the actual response from people?
Controversy always comes with both good and bad, so I don’t really keep up with what people are saying - a lot of people in the media are really interested in why I did it and then after I tell them why I did it they liked the idea. Some of them are like “Yo, you wrote those songs?” and I’m like “Yeah.” So the feedback has been positive. People ask me what I would do if some of the guys came back at me or whatever, and I would love that you know – that’s why I did it, I want them to come back at me, cause I feel like that’s going to add something to R&B. It’s gonna add some excitement to R&B, it’s gonna stir up R&B a little bit. That’s why rappers get so much, that’s why rappers get shoe deals, that’s why rappers have record labels, that’s why rappers have clothing lines, cause rap is exciting, rap is very exciting. R&B is just about love songs, singing about girls, singing to girls, its pretty much the same thing - so with me stirring it up, the response has been pretty good, cause its like “Ok, I can respect that, you’re coming at R&B a little different."
Did you ever worry about your debut to the world at large being so gimmicky?
No, I didn’t even really think about that when I actually did the mixtape, because I knew what my purpose was for it. I was never worried that they would take it the wrong way, because I was always just thinking about why I did it. Like, I know that I didn’t just do it for attention, I did it for R&B. So I didn’t really pay attention to what I thought the rest of the world was going to think about it.
Who are the R&B artists you feel are doing it right?
Coming up? I’d say Marvin Gaye was great. R. Kelly, definitely, Usher’s always done his thing, Lately its John Legend, I just feel that he adds more to R&B vocally - vocally I don’t think there is anyone in R&B right now that can touch John Legend, and he showed that at the Grammys. So theres a lot of cats that influenced me that I thought were doing good things. There’s a few cats in the game right now that are doing things that I like. Ne-Yo. I actually like Ne-Yo. I dissed him on this mixtape, and I don’t hold back on that, I’m not like “Yeah, I really wasn’t trying to dis Ne-Yo,” I dissed him. I dissed his record, I dissed his song, but I like him musically. The reason I dissed him is because even though I like him, I would rather him not like me than not respect me, cause I need him to listen to what I’m saying right now, I need him to hear me when I say we need to do more, we need to start an R and B movement, and if you go to someone just praising them, they’re not really going to listen to you. So you kinda got to go up to them and slap them in the face, and its like “Ok, now that I have your attention, come out here with me, get your record label, the clothing and stuff, let’s start doing all this stuff the rappers are doing.”