So much of what passes for R&B on the radio these days is boring, syrupy synth-pop that tastes good for a minute but, like all sugar rushes, hits quick and wears off a few minutes later. Then, there are the rare artists like The-Dream, a singer / songwriter / music mogul who is currently the most exciting performer in the genre.
Perhaps it's because his creative reach is ambitious beyond usual urban-radio genre conventions. You probably know him best for the songs he's penned for other people, which include mega-hits like Rihanna's "Umbrella" and Mariah Carey's "Touch My Body," and a bunch of others that you've hummed. (His handiwork is often recognizable when a singer repeats those "Umbrella"-style "ehhh-ehhh-ehhh" vowel noises for rhythmic effect.)
On his own albums, though, The-Dream goes markedly darker and more conceptual, over the past couple years rolling out the first two entries in his Love trilogy of albums. The first entry, 2007's Love Hate, yielded singles like "I Luv Your Girl" and "Falsetto," and 2009's Love Vs. Money yielded "Rockin' That Shit," a single that performed decently but also sadly went a bit overlooked.
The final installment in the set, though, Love King, is due out June 29, and was recorded here in Miami rather than The-Dream's hometown, Atlanta.
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Billboard.com just released an extensive online feature about the album, detailing his songwriting and recording process:
"It started in my basement at my house in Atlanta, dubbed the Nash Estate, which is where I actually worked on Ciara's 'Ride' and Rihanna's 'Rockstar 101'," he recalls about the album, which he began working on this January.
The recording efforts quickly shifted over to Miami, and the entire songwriting process -- alongside the album's producers and songwriters Carlos "Los Da Mystro" McKinney and Christopher "Tricky" Stewart -- lasted about two weeks.
Most importantly, though, you can stream the entire album on the site as well, from the title track/lead single all the way down to a song about the fictional "Florida University." Click here to check it out.