Ask a Rapper: Jack Freeman Nerds Out with R&B Hits
The hip-hop world is a less than sensible place -- lots of times, you're even required to clarify when bad means bad and when bad means good -- so once a week we're going to get with a rapper and ask them to explain things. Something you always wanted to ask a rapper? E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
This Week's Prompt: We've mentioned this before (as recently as last week, actually): Houston is beginning to flex its R&B muscle*. So, Jack Freeman, potential singing star, how's about if you list the best R&B songs (your favorites, basically)? Got it? Great. Go.
Jack Freeman: In no particular order:
Chaka Khan, "What You Gonna Do for Me": Chaka Khan happens to be my favorite female vocalist, so I had to put her in the mix. I honestly had a hard time trying to pick which one by her I liked the most, but this one is definitely close to the top of the list.
Donny Hathaway, "Someday We'll All Be Free": Donny Hathaway is actually my favorite artist of all time. This song pretty much embodies everything I love about his body of work: musicality, vocal range, song arrangement. The vocals were outstanding and it just makes you FEEL the emotion in the lyrics. Someday I hope to make music this effective and this great.
Michael Jackson, "Human Nature": What's a musical list without MJ? There are SOOOOOO many great MJ songs, of course. "Off the Wall," "Thriller," "Lady in My Life," "Bad," "Liberian Girl," "Beat It," "Smooth Criminal," etc. "Human Nature" is just one of those relaxing pieces that I could put on repeat in my house and never get tired of the vibe it puts me in.
D'Angelo...: Well, is it okay that I break the rules and just put all of his music on the list? I mean, the guy is just amazing. Voodoo and Brown Sugar were two certified classic, timeless albums.
See, nowadays everyone hears something and they immediately throw around the "classic" label. I want to save everyone the energy and time by telling them that more than likely it's not. The last real classic R&B albums: Confessions [Usher], TP2.com [R. Kelly] and Voodoo.
I could also make a strong case for John Legend's Get Lifted, but we'll get to that later. D'Angelo got here at the perfect time and teamed with the perfect people to put together an absolutely amazing body of work with Voodoo and Brown Sugar.
You absolutely couldn't give any of those songs to any other artist and have the same result. It just can't happen. There's only one D'Angelo.