Friday, August 13, 2010

Commentary #4: The 7 Best Producers, The 3 That Are Ruining R&B Music, & More!

#1) Rodney "Darkchild" Jerkins: For over a decade, Darkchild has been producing hot tracks, but does that mean his sound is dated? Not a chance! He knows how to make both current music AND songs that will last the test of time. At least to me, singles like Toni Braxton's "He Wasn't Man Enough", Destiny's Child's "Lose My Breath", & Janet Jackson's "Feedback" are just as blazin' now as they were when they came out! Of course, the best thing about Rodney is his chemistry with Brandy. Just about everyone who has ever heard her Full Moon album will tell you that it is a modern-day classic! Their work together on Human even led to it becoming my personal favorite album. Ever.

#2) Polow Da Don: Since Polow hopped on the scene in the mid-2000s, he has carved a path all his own with his hard-hitting R&B jams, so much so that I can tell you as soon as a song starts if he produced it--& in this case, that's a good thing! From his impressive early work with Ciara on "Promise" & Mario on "Crying Out For Me", both of which have a depth that was sorely missing in R&B before he came along, to his excellent recent cuts on Keri Hilson's In A Perfect World... album & with Usher, like "Lil' Freak" & "Hot Tottie", Polow has been a leader in trying to keep a strong presence of REAL R&B on the airwaves.

#3) Max Martin: Sure he's the guy that produced all those songs from the late '90s/early '00s that you hate to love/love to hate, but he's as high as he is on this list for much more than that. Mr. Martin is for the pop world what Darkchild is for R&B: He just keeps the hotness comin'! And, while pop has evolved over the last decade, so has Max. With Kelly Clarkson's "My Life Would Suck Without You" & "Since U Been Gone", Pink's "It's All Your Fault" (a personal fav of mine from her Funhouse album), & even Adam Lambert's "If I Had You", among others, Max Martin is the king of power pop & we thank him for it! Not to mention that he continues to provide us our Britney life, with "3" & "If U Seek Amy"...

#4) Danja: Gaining fame as Timbaland's protege, Danja created his own sound & made it known through pure brilliance such as Fantasia's "Uneligible" (OK, not PURE brilliance, but that's not his fault lol...I think), Ciara's "Echo", & his own work on Keri Hilson's In A Perfect World..., keeping himself more relevant & less dated than his mentor. But, speaking of Britney Spears, it was his pairing with the superstar on her Blackout LP that will forever embed him in the hearts of both pop & urban fans alike. Easily Spears' best effort to date, which pretty much anyone who's ever heard it will attest to, Blackout featured a fresh Britney who seemed to mesh & flow with Danja's beats effortlessly.

#5) Tricky Stewart: Having only earned his first #1 hit in 2007 with Rihanna's "Umbrella", Tricky hasn't regressed like many of his peers, but has instead only gotten better & more creative with each project he dives into. Not only was he behind Usher's best vocal performance since Confessions, "Moving Mountains", Stewart produced Beyonce's chart-topper "Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It)" & Mariah Carey's #1 hit "Touch My Body", which led to him almost entirely producing the latter's 2009 album Memoirs Of An Imperfect Angel, at least one of Mariah's best albums to date. And, if leaks are any indication, with the help of Tricky, upcoming projects from Ciara (Basic Instinct) & *crosses fingers* Christina Milian (Elope) could potentially be the best of both their careers.

#6) Missy Elliott: This woman does soul like no other. Whether for Monica--her musical soulmate--as evidenced by the singer's 2003 album After The Storm as well as recent hit "Everything To Me", Fantasia on "I'm Not That Type" (another of my personal favs from the Fantasia album), or Jazmine Sullivan on "Need U Bad", Missy is the perfect match for a true R&B voice.

#7) Brian Kennedy: Relatively new to the game, you may recognize the Brian "You officially tuned in to a B.K. classic" Kennedy sound from Jennifer Hudson's "If This Isn't Love"; Rihanna's "Disturbia", "Fire Bomb", & "The Last Song" (the latter pair being my favorite two songs off Rated R); or even Ciara's "My Love", my favorite track & fan favorite from Ciara: The Evolution. He also did some incredible work with Brandy during the Human era on "Fall" & "Locket (Locked In Love)" as well as the unreleased "Keyed", "Freedom", &, one of my favorite songs of all time, "One Thing". His gorgeous string-inspired large sound is no surprise, as Mr. Kennedy has instrumental albums for sale on iTunes. If you didn't know, now you know!

Honorable Mention: Ryan Tedder, simply because he is the only producer in the last few years who has been able to cook up a ballad that radio would actually play (Leona Lewis' "Bleeding Love", Beyonce's "Halo", Kelly Clarkson's "Already Gone").

BONUS! In addition to the "musical soulmates" I mentioned above (Darkchild & Brandy, Danja & Britney, Missy & Monica), here are five more you may or may not be aware of:

1. Amerie + Rich Harrison = Touch
2. Ashanti + Channel 7 (formerly known as 7 Aurelius) = "Foolish" from Ashanti; "Only U", "Focus" from Concrete Rose
3. Toni Braxton + Harvey Mason, Jr. = "I Wanna Be (Your Baby)" from Libra; "Hero", "Why Won't You Love Me" from Pulse
4. Cassie + Ryan Leslie = "Me & U", "Addiction"
5. Janet Jackson + Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis = "Together Again", "That's The Way Love Goes", "Someone To Call My Lover", "If", "I Get Lonely", "Go Deep", "Every Time", "Doesn't Really Matter", "All For You"...


#1) As if the all-too over-exposed music of The Black-Eyed Peas wasn't damaging urban music enough, has even taken the likes of Usher, who himself has claimed that R&B music has gone to pot, over to the dark side with the bloody awful "OMG". R&B is NOT mediocre dance music! When will the madness end!!

#2) David Guetta: Speaking of The Black-Eyed Peas' insanely overrated music, does the fact that the Guetta-produced "I Gotta Feeling" is the #1 digital single of all time not scare the living daylights out of everyone else, if not simply for the sake of the quality of music?! The only reason David isn't at the top of this list is because when considered dance, his music might be slightly above mediocre... &, well, I do quite like Kelly Rowland's "Commander", but that has NOTHING to do with him because the urban remix is >>>!

#3) Ne-Yo: As if his own music wasn't bad enough, Ne-Yo is trying to infect the rest of R&B with his unoriginal mess that is neither here nor there. Is it current? No. Is it retro? No. Which is it trying to be?! And, I mean, Rihanna's "Take A Bow" or "Stupid In Love", or poor Jennifer Hudson's "Spotlight"... what's the difference?! #sityobuttdown & let the professionals work!

Honorable(?) Mention: J.R. Rotem, dated, dated, dated! Sean Kingston was fun & all while it lasted, but Jason Derulo... sheesh!


Valon said...

I must say I absolutely loved this post. Whats more is that I copletely agree. We love a looot of the same music: Janets All for you-singles: Epic!

Chris said...

Speak that truth! Dont agree with Darkchild as numero uno, but we're always in the same vein of who's great. Im adding the Neptunes and Dr. Luke (because they're brilliant) and then JD and B. Cox to the "good" simply b/c of what they did with Dondria's album (LOL). Im surprised Stargate wasnt on your bad list.

vmars08 said...

@Valon Thanks!

@Chris LOL I decided to be nice to Stargate. They're redeeming themselves with "Rude Boy" & Alexis' "Happiness"... & you know how I am about my Darkchild!