Every week, a different FADER editor compiles a playlist to highlight a new release and give you a guide to that artist’s web of influences and peers. These Staff Selects live in our Spotify app, alongside GEN Fs from our archives and playlists for each issue. This week, it’s Felipe Delerme on thugged-out R&B.
R&B was in a weird place at the turn of the millenium. There was plenty to be heard, but critics' biggest criticism as we left the 90's was that things had gotten too raunchy, and the tact and subtlety of yore was all but a memory. Unbeknownst to them, the future would bring ever filthier crooners like Harlem's Tim Vocals, Chicago's Johnny May Cash, LA's Ty Dolla $ign and Atlanta's Kwony Cash, all of whom juxtapose sweet harmony with descriptions of the kind of scenes that get movies NC-17 ratings. Really, they could've known. TQ, pictured above, had been belting out gangsta couplets since he first broke the scene with his infinitely slept-on album They Never Saw Me Coming. An entire "Thugged Out R&B" playlist, in fact, could be comprised of that album alone. And lest we forget about G-funk legend, Nate Dogg? The point is, people have been singing about gangsta shit explicitly for awhile now. Tim Vocals unpacked the idea behind it in his GEN F profile, saying simply, "I don’t think R&B is just one category—love."
Editor's Note: There were plenty of unfortunate exclusions to this playlist, most disqualified for having too much rapping (although we had to include "Toss It Up," which features four separate R&B singers), but the hardest to swallow was Oran Juice Jones' "Standing In The Rain," which features an amazing soliloquy about wanting to "do a Rambo" on his girl and her conspirator, but is otherwise just a straightforward song about heartbreak.
Stream: Thugged-Out R&B