As we get further into this fall season we are met with some new music releases.

Ella Mai

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The self titled album by Ella Mai is a story within a story. The album itself is set up in an acrostic format. And from there the singer seamlessly gives us music that falls under each “category”. I definitely enjoyed this album from start to finish and it has been in heavy rotation since its release.

I was relieved to hear that the tracks were relatable and not too sing – songy. Additionally, I was equally elated that the three features (Chris Brown, John Legend and H.E.R) that she had complemented the project and didn’t take away from people enjoying her and what she was trying to accomplish with this album.

 

Mario

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Mario’s Dancing Shadows album was released without much promotion. In its totality it was an OK listen but I haven’t been running back to hear it again. There are a few songs that stuck with me such as the opening song “Drowning” and the following track “Too Many Options” but there are others that weren’t all that great. I think this is a hit or miss and it will definitely depend on the listener.

 

T-Pain

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Everything Must Go, Vol 2. This is a cool release to listen to while you are cleaning. Out of the 7 songs on this project I enjoyed 5 of them. I’m a T-Pain fan and although I liked the majority of the songs on the album this isn’t exactly what I would like to hear from T-Pain at this point in his career and I’m hoping that there is a full length project to follow this.

 

Pleasure P

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Pleasure P, or as you may find him on the internet, Marcus Cooper, recently released his second solo album called She Likes. I really liked this project with the exception of the first song, “Reaching”. I think I may have been put off from the first track because I wasn’t aware that Pleasure P was really on anyone’s radar for him to be snapping off like that. Outside of the opening song though, I liked what I heard.

And Pleasure P is a known songwriter, it definitely sounds as if a lot of the songs were a collaborative effort with some of our favorite trendy songwriters / singers and if he didn’t work with anyone there was some strong inspiration!

Overall, I think it’s worth the listen.

 

Marsha Ambrosius

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It’s been four years since we last heard from Marsha Ambrosius and since then she has had some life changing experiences. Her album Nyla is one that you have to listen to more than once to really feel. You can tell that there is a story that she is trying to tell but this album is not one of my favorites from her.

As the summer was coming to a close we received releases from artist that I believe will stay in rotation even as the temps start to drop.

(Album Cover for Sabrina Claudio’s No Rain, No Flowers)

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Sabrina Claudio released No Rain, No Flowers mid August and it was just in time to give a sultry soundtrack to the end of the summer and prepare us for cuddling weather. With a track like “Naked” being at the top of the album you can’t help but zone out and feel a sudden vulnerability you’d want to share with a special someone.

(Album Cover for Ariana Grande’s Sweetener)

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Sweetener by Ariana Grande may be categorized as a pop album but upon hearing songs like “God is a woman”, “every time” and “get well soon” you will definitely feel a R&B vibe. This album was released on August 17th and is worth the listen if you haven’t heard it already.

 

(Album cover for Llyod’s Tru LP)

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Llyod’s LP Tru, which consist of 11 tracks, was released on August 31st. This came almost two years after the December 9, 2016 release of his Tru EP. The LP has all four songs that had been previously featured on the EP plus seven new tracks. I personally have mixed feelings about the 2018 release. Although I feel that Llyod is talented and often underrated the LP just didn’t do it for me. It’s not an album that I would have in constant rotation but it shouldn’t be counted out either.

 

(Album cover for Tamia’s Passion Like Fire)

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September 7th Tamia’s seventh studio album Passion Like Fire came out and boy did she show out! I loved this album. It was raw and passionate. Tamia’s experience as a singer is clear with this album. She did not hold back. I did not skip one song. Whatever Grant Hill is doing he need to keep doing it.

(Cover: The Internet’s album Hive Mind)

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The Internet released Hive Mind on July 20. With most of the group members coming off of a solo run you’d think that they wouldn’t have anything left to offer but that is the furthest thing from the truth. I enjoyed the group’s latest release and it seems that the solo projects only strengthened their sound.

They draw you in with up-tempo instrumentals and Syd’s melodic voice for an overall experience of what I can only describe as “grown up” music. If you aren’t familiar with the group I would recommend, not only listening to this project but also to their 2014 album Ego Death. You won’t be disappointed.

 

(Cover: Silkk the Shocker’s album It Will Make Sense Later)

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43-year-old New Orleans rapper Silkk the Shocker released his album It Will Make Sense Later on July 17. This album comes 13 years after his last release. It’s hard to say how this album will be received. It’s a good chance that it would be a nostalgic 1 hour and 1 minute for listeners who are familiar with Silkk’s earlier work.  The younger generation may give it a chance off the strength of it being a new release and because there are a few tracks that fits the mold of today’s music.

There  are features from Master P, Lil Romeo and more. Overall, I will say it’s not a bad album but I don’t believe it’s one that would be on repeat. My two favorite songs from the album is “Finest Girl” and “Outta Here” featuring YoungBoy Never Broke Again. I would suggest giving the project a listen.

(Cover: Shai’s album Musically Yours)

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The group Shai is probably best known for their 1992 released single “If I Ever Fall in Love Again” from the album of the same title (I know it’s still one of my favorite songs to date). On June 29 the group (with two new members in place of two originals) released Musically Yours.

I am going to go out on the limb by saying that maybe my expectations was too high for this project but I was very disappointed and bored. Listen to this album at your own risk. The group just don’t sound as good as before. And maybe it’s just old age or the lack of having all of the original members but it just wasn’t doing it for me. There were some songs that could have been good but then they started trying to do too much. They weren’t harmonizing well and the execution just came off as noise.

Jhené Aiko returned to Detroit on June 9 to perform at Chene Park for their Summer Weekends event. Unlike many of her performances in more intimate settings the venue held 6,000 (5,000 seats and 1,000 in lawn spaces) and every spot seemed to be filled.

Due to a delay with transportation I missed Yuna and Ro James who were the opening acts. However, I arrived just as Jhené was taking the plant adorned stage. Dressed in an all white pants outfit she started her performance with the intro from her latest album Trip, which was released in September 2017.

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                        (  From Jhené Aiko’s Instagram )

From there the Neo-Soul, R&B singer gave us a few of her throwback tracks and songs she was featured on with other artists such as Drake (“From Time”) and Omarion (“Post to Be”). She sang, danced, told us stories and even spit a couple bars for us when she performed her song “Stay Ready” from her EP Sail Out. The song features Kendrick Lamar, who in his usual sure fire way, gives a verse about the sweetness of a relationship. Because Lamar wasn’t there Jhené executed it like it was her own.

The show was carried out seamlessly only pausing for a moment when Ms. Aiko stopped to do a “boob check” asking (assumably) her stylist to make sure she wasn’t having an outfit malfunction. Something that actually had been a problem when she performed here at the Big Show at the Joe a few years back.

As the show was closing, like many in the crowd, I held my breath hoping for a surprise appearance from Detroit’s own Big Sean. Sean, a rapper and G.O.O.D Music artist is also the boyfriend of Jhené. We did not leave disappointed. Sure enough Sean came out and performed two songs with Jhené. Overall, the concert was very chill and enjoyable. Jhené seemed to connect with everyone in the crowd and it was all good vibes.

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 (Google Search = Jhené and Big Sean Chene Park. **Rolling Out, Anterlon Photography)

If you aren’t familiar with her music and you’re looking for music you can just sit back and maybe smoke one to (if that’s your thing) you should definitely look her up. Jhené is a genuine artist who gives you her all on every track. I recommend starting with her EP Sail Out and listening up to her last album Trip. It all flows together and your time will not be wasted.