So, it’s been a while since I’ve been able to share some great insight into what is going on in the music industry. For that reason, I have about t300 different things to talk about. However, I can’t fit 300 topics in this one column. Lucky enough, I decided that I wanted to shine light on two of the waviest R&B/Soul artists and groups out there right now. But before that, let’s talk about how the R&B/Soul genre came about!
R&B/Soul was initially just some love songs put together. However, there was a deeper meaning behind it all. R&B stands for rhythm and blues; combining elements from soul and funk forms of music! In the 1940-50s, R&B was associated with after hour clubs and was often seen as a genre sitting in the shadow of the prominent Jazz. As previously stated, R&B was viewed as just a bunch of love songs during the early stages of Hip-Hop. Some of the pioneering R&B groups/artists were The Cardinals, The Swallows and The Armstrong Four. In today’s age, people associate names like R. Kelly, Usher and Alicia Keys with the R&B genre.
In the last couple of weeks, two very “low-key” albums released on streaming platforms. Both of these albums fit under the R&B/Soul category. However, they both fit under this category in a variety of different ways. One album leans more towards the R&B side of the spectrum while the other pulls your soul out through harmonization. But, because they both
Brent Faiyaz, a Baltimore native, moved out to Los Angeles in pursuits of jump starting his career. He belongs to the group Sonder, which is a collaborative entity that came about in 2016 and Brent served as the lead vocalist. Brent Faiyaz is known for his ability to tell stories addressing issues centered around trust, self-reliance, and even juggling the fame that he has recently acquired.
However, Brent’s use of storytelling makes his music relatable by referring to memories from days when he was in high school, dating his first love, and even getting in trouble for receiving bad grades or getting home late. In only six tracks, Brent Faiyaz’s “Lost” created buzz in the R&B world while introducing this soulful vibe. I really enjoyed the fluidity of the album and how each song built off the stories being told in the previous song. If I had to pick one song as my favorite, I’d pick “Came Right Back” because of how Brent spoke about how navigating life on a day-to-day basis is rough. He touched on how some people cover their feelings and struggles because they simply can’t work through the variety of different forms of adversity.
Phony Ppl is a musical group that was originally founded by nine musicians based in Brooklyn. Although there were nine original members, the group consists of only five members at the moment. Phony Ppl refer to themselves as a fearless five-man band focusing on Hip-Hop, R&B and Soul. The group has gotten great recognition from popular artists like Tyler The Creator and Childish Gambino after they took the stage with artists/groups like Erykah Badu and The Roots. Their recent project, “Mō’zā-ik,” was highly anticipated because it has been three years since their last project, “Yesterday’s Tomorrow”, released. Their use of funky keys and soulful forms of repetition did three things to listeners; made them happy and hopeful while allowing them to understand the music for themselves. One of the key elements that I enjoyed about this album is its freshness and blissfulness; it’s an extremely cheerful album due to how real the album is. The topics discussed highlight the holes within communities. The first track, “Way Too Far,” is definitely on the album simply because of how perfect it addresses societal standards. The chorus sings, “I think I went way too far tryna please you,” which is something I feel lots of people need to hear! Themes like this are consistent throughout the whole album making it a very enlightening album.
Now, please go on to wherever you stream your music! Type Brent Faiyaz, “Lost.” Listen. Then type Phony Ppl. Don’t try to type the title, it’s hard. It’ll be listed there, listen to it. Thank me later!