R&B / Soul
When you think of R&B in the 21st century, romance, sex, love, and Tank instantly come to mind. With vocal fireworks lit enough to heat up any bedroom and an instantly recognizable presence, the nine-time GRAMMY® Award-nominated multiplatinum singer, producer, actor, comedian, and R&B Money label founder has defined two decades of the genre with one seminal record after another. Along the way, he has gathered hundreds of millions of streams, picked up platinum plaques, and sold out shows around the world. However, he leaves the game with one more magnum opus, delivering his tenth and final full-length offering, R&B Money [R&B Money/Atlantic Records], in 2022.
“For me, I’ve adjusted and lived through the changes with R&B,” he explains. “R&B is back in an amazing place. There are so many R&B artists who have incredible careers. The title R&B Money speaks to how lucrative the R&B business is and how expensive the music is. However, relationships and love are expensive in terms of how much you have to emotionally and spiritually invest. The investment is worth it though. R&B is about relationships. Nothing gives you the blues like a relationship when it goes wrong. Nothing gets you more excited than a relationship when it goes right. It’s never changed for me. I’m still making R&B.”
Throughout 2021, he assembled what would become R&B Money as his most ambitious body of work yet. “I’ve got more songs than ever,” he says. “I wanted to give it all I’ve got. For the first half of the album, it’s a vibe. You’re either making up or making out. There’s a song for any groove you’re in. It’s a ride, so pack a lunch.”
Following a record-breaking debut, Ella Mai brings us her highly anticipated sophomore album, Heart On My Sleeve. With the physical available upon immediate release on May 6, 2022, fans can experience the thrill of running to the store to grab the CD and press play on their favorite R&B songstress.
Vinyl: $22.99 Buy
Love & Algorhythms is an interstellar synthesis of astral Soul, R&B, and sci-fi Funk. Working with producer Paul Butler (The Bees, Micheal Kiwanuka, Caroline Rose, Hurray for the Riff Raff), Seratones have taken the invitation to knock at the door of the cosmos. A.J. Haynes’s voice dances with soul-stirring devotion at the altar of Black Feminisms: weaving the words Toni Cade Bambara, Octavia Butler’s Xenogenesis multiverse, echoes of bell hooks, and Audre Lorde’s Power of the Erotic. With drummer Jesse Gabriel’s machine-like precision and the transcendental touches from guitarist Travis Stewart, the album oscillates between Alice Coltrane-inspired bliss & Giorgio Moroder’s ecstatic release. Each song hovers and pulsates in the wide, dark matter—constellations guiding a journey through the subtle body, the vast fullness of the human experience and the irresistible potential of liberation.
MP3 Album: $9.99 Download
Robert Glasper’s highly anticipated third installment to the Black Radio album series. Black Radio III, much like both of its predecessors, is a cultural moment that celebrates black love and resilience, features an eclectic group of talented collaborators, and is composed by Glasper who the New York Times proclaims is “probably the most prominent jazz musician of his generation”. An innovative and essential addition to Glasper’s seminal Black Radio series. Limited Edition Indie Exclusive Chartreuse 2 LP.
Vinyl: $28.62 Buy
Stro Elliot (of The Roots) puts his spin on ten James Brown classics. The remixes draw upon a variety of inspirations, from Afro-Beat to electronica.
Big Crown Records is proud to present Piece of Me, the sophomore full length offering from Lady Wray. This is something of a homecoming for Nicole. Where her 2016 solo debut Queen Alone leaned more towards Soul and R&B with tinges of hip-hop, this record changes the mixture. It's still R&B with the textures of analog Soul, but there is a heavy Hip Hop influence that brings the sum of Nicole's career together in a new sound that will dene her future. Boom-bap drums and chunky bass lines are front-and-center creating a perfect head-nodding backdrop for Lady Wray to take on the good, the bad, the difficult, and the joyful on her most personal collection of songs to date.
The title track, "Piece of Me," which has already become a classic since it's 2019 release is about the people in your life who need more than you are willing to give. This tune and the B side of the 7” “Come On In” were the first songs put to tape for this album and they were recorded with Nicole sitting in a chair 8 months pregnant with her daughter. Her voice is so powerful, so raw, so thorough on these initial songs—it's wild to think that they were recorded this way. And even wilder to know that she knocked them all out in one take.Long time collaborator and producer Leon Michels keeps the musical backing restrained and expertly executed, setting up Lady Wray for the full spotlight and setting the tone for the rest of the album.
While the upbeat energies of “Under The Sun” and “Through It All” are sure to become hits that reconnect Lady Wray with her 90s R&B fanbase, “Where Were You” offers a behind the scenes look at what those days of stardom in her youth were really like. Nicole takes on the racial tension in America with her poetic and powerful “Beauty In The Fire” and leans heavy into her faith and church upbringing on the showstopper, “Thank You”. She gushes about the profound love she’s come to know for her daughter on “Melody” and celebrates life’s ups and downs on “Joy & Pain”. In 2021 it is rare to hear a varied yet cohesive album with no “skippers”, but that is what you have herein spades. The tried and true chemistry between Lady Wray and Leon Michels has undeniably found a higher level and this album stands as a testament to conviction and dedication for all of us to enjoy and be inspired by.
With this in mind, when talking about this record, for Lady Wray, it's about a larger purpose. "My goal is always to help and to heal people with singing," she explains. "Part of that is to try and bring back real music, real singing, so people can feel something again." Now, she's not dissing anyone here, to be clear. It's just that Lady Wray cannot sing without tapping into something deeper, searching for that shared compassion between all of us. Perhaps it comes from her church upbringing, or maybe from her years of trials and tribulations in the music industry. Either way, Lady Wray is looking to bring that "Good Sound" back and the good feelings that come with it. She calls it "those inner hands," and she always means to stir them up, grabbing your attention from within.
A brand new album of brand-new songs from the No. 1 R&B Group of All Time, The Temptations. Features tracks written and produced by Narada Michael Walden, the young hip-hop producer K. Sparks, longtime group member Ron Tyson, founding member Otis Williams, and the equally legendary Smokey Robinson, whose classic songs launched the group’s original hit streak. The new album release will coincide with Otis Williams’s 80thbirthday, and the Broadway return (and road show edition) of the hit musical, Ain’t Too Proud: The Life and Times of The Temptations.
Vinyl: $22.40 Buy
$ (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) is the soundtrack to the 1971 movie of the same name. The soundtrack was composed and produced by Jazz legend Quincy Jones and includes performances from Roberta Flack, Little Richard and Doug Kershaw. This version will be the first repressing since 2002, and will be pressed the color of money on mint green vinyl. SIDE A 01 Money Is (feat. Little Richard) 02 Snow Creatures 03 Rubber Ducky 04 Redeye Runnin' Train (feat. Doug Kershaw) 05 Shady Lady 06 Money Runner 07 When You're Smiling (The Whole World Smiles with You) [feat. Roberta Flack with the Don Elliott Voic SIDE B 01 Do It - To It! (feat. Little Richard) 02 Candy Man 03 Passin' the Buck 04 Kitty with the Bent Frame 05 Brooks' 50c Tour (Main Title Collage) [feat. Little Richard and Roberta Flack]
Vinyl: $22.40 Buy
Otis Ray Redding, Jr. (September 9, 1941 - December 10, 1967) was an American singer-songwriter, record producer, arranger, and talent scout. He is considered one of the greatest singers in the history of American popular music and a seminal artist in soul and rhythm and blues. His singing style was powerfully influential among soul artists of 1960s and helped exemplify the Stax sound. Redding quit school at age 15 to support his family, working with Little Richard's backing band, the Upsetters, and also performing at talent shows for prize money. Redding received many posthumous accolades, including the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award and induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Songwriters Hall of Fame. He received the honorific nickname King of Soul. In addition to ''(Sittin' On) The Dock of the Bay,'' ''Respect'' and ''Try a Little Tenderness'' are among his best-known songs. SIDE A 01 These Arms of Mine (2020 Remaster) 02 Pain in My Heart (2020 Remaster) 03 Stand by Me (2020 Remaster) 04 Mr. Pitiful (2020 Remaster) 05 That's How Strong My Love Is (2020 Remaster) 06 I've Been Loving You Too Long (To Stop Now) [2020 Remaster] 07 Respect (2020 Remaster) 08 My Girl (2020 Remaster) SIDE B 01 I Can't Turn You Loose (2020 Remaster) 02 Satisfaction (2020 Remaster) 03 Fa-Fa-Fa-Fa-Fa (Sad Song) [2020 Remaster] 04 Try a Little Tenderness (2020 Remaster) 05 Shake (2020 Remaster) 06 (Sittin' on) The Dock of the Bay [2020 Remaster] 07 Hard to Handle (2020 Remaster II) 08 I've Got Dreams to Remember (2020 Remaster II)
The 1976 Warner Bros Motion Picture “Sparkle” features a soundtrack created by two Soul giants – Aretha and Curtis. Whilst the movie stars - Irene Cara and Lonette McKee (primarily) - sang the songs on the film, “Sparkle (Music From The Warner Bros. Motion Picture)'' features the Queen of Soul herself 'Aretha Franklin', accompanied by composer and producer Curtis Mayfield recorded at his Curtom studio in Chicago. It will be pressed on LP - for the first time since its original release in 1976 - on a Crystal Clear vinyl. SIDE A 01 Sparkle 02 Something He Can Feel 03 Hooked on Your Love 04 Look into Your Heart SIDE B 01 I Get High 02 Jump To It 03 Loving You Baby 04 Rock with Me
Vinyl: $34.01 Buy
There’s A Riot Goin’ On, Sly And The Family Stone’s influential masterpiece of darkly psychedelic funk turns 50 in 2021 and to celebrate, there will be a new limited edition version on red vinyl. The album marked a shift in the band’s tone, striking a more political and militant vibe while showing Sly Stone’s disillusionment with the promise of the 60s. At the same time, it was also a big commercial success, hitting #1 on the album charts while the single “Family Affair” topped the singles charts. Its influence rang throughout the 70s as all of the funk innovators took their cues from this seminal album, and its songs became a favorite for hip hop artist mining sampling gold decades later. It came in at #81 on Rolling Stone’s Greatest Albums Of All Time and besides “Family Affair,” the album features the tracks “Just Like A Baby” and “Africa Talks To You (“Asphalt Jungle”).”