Every fan of R&B seems to hold a similar gripe with the direction of the genre. “I miss the days of Aaliyah or old school Ne-Yo.” Relying on the ignorance of their wishes, I wanted to know exactly what about the sound of the late 1990s/early 2000s they deemed wasn’t in today’s R&B. Was it the sensualist figure of D’Angelo vocally yearning over dark, creamy brass instruments and guitar strings? Was it the somber piano vibrations shown in the song “Let Me Hold You” that led young females to fawn over young Bow-Wow’s caricature?
The universal advent of the internet allowed the progress of music itself to push forward at an exponential rate so that genres like R&B could experiment and perforate into different definitive soundscapes. As if now, I could listen to The Internet’s ‘Hive Mind’ and enjoy the breezy coolness of their progressive arrangement, or I could listen to Anderson .Paak and hear him explore all kinds of grooves and uplifting sensations.
The simplicity is gone, which may answer the aforementioned question. When Bow Wow released his magnum opus ‘Wanted’ in 2005, we were still strutting elementary school students. The simplicity of the time may have been reciprocated by the simplistic sappiness from the album, emblazoning itself for nostalgic need.
Along the way, aspiring New York R&B/Hip-Hop duo Majix may have returned with the answers to the yearnings of my youth. Mea Wilkerson and Taylor Nirvana Jones hold the perfect outline for a CD cover of an R&B album from the early 2000s. They hold the perfect vocal intonation matching that to Aaliyah’s vigor. Their new single entitled ‘Thirsty’ holds up the old platform with inspired roots of modern Hip-Hop.
The piano chords that pelt in accordance with Taylor’s level-headed dialogue. There is a definite inspiration coming from the era reigning nearly twenty years ago, from the way Taylor ranges her youthful voice to the accelerating speeds of the MPC drums. Mea delivers in similar synchronicity, allowing the flow of the single to flow seamlessly in sound.
Young, female African American singers following the buried souls of their inspirations is an honorable approach to heighten their image within the music industry. It feels fresh to hear the sounds that attracted so many listeners to the world of sobering Blues instrumentation and seductive narratives. Narratives that spoke to our most primal desires.