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August 15, 2009

The Heir Apparent.

I've been writing this review for months. Literally. I knew it would be difficult to create a creative review of more than likely, the summer's hottest mixtape and I wanted to make sure that my first review on this blog of an artists work was done right. Research, preparation, and an understanding of the project and the history leading up to its creation are essential to any piece one writes about another person's art. That being said, this has begun to resemble more of a story and less of a blog post...vibe with me on this one.

"I'm a man. I don't have anything to hide..." -Trey Songz

I recently had the opportunity to see Trey Songz live in Dallas at the House of Blues VIP Lounge hosted by 97.9 The Beat. The interview portion allowed him to dive into questions asked by fans, one such question focused on his latest full length release which happens to be FREE and easily downloaded on his blog www.seefurtherthaniam.com

The latest mixtape from the Prince of VA entitled "Anticipation" contains 13 songs (listed below) and came just weeks after releasing "Genesis", a collection of early vocals and demo tracks recorded prior to his inking a deal with Atlantic.

In the opening song "Famous" its hard to hear the dream-like beat and the infectious hook and not create a music video in your head complete with wind blown hair, Bentley convertibles and flashing lights. Songz's "Showerlude" is reminiscent of something straight off of R. Kelly's TP-2.com LP (2000) with the repetitive background vocals, candy-shop melody and the sound of an actual shower (insert furious blushing), Trey Songz invites us into the private confines of his bathroom excursions. Dirty boy.

The true meat of this mixtape comes with tracks 3, 4, 5, and 6 respectively. In "Scratchin Me Up", Songz tells of his experiences with a scratcher...lol. The creativity on this song only goes to show more of the lyrical genius we've heard on his remixed versions of other artist's hits:

"...Rockin to the rhythm and the rhythm of the beat is your body on my body//Clap, clap, clap when I'm back, back, back//Smack, smack, smack when I act like that//She be actin right back//Pullin on the sheets, the pillows//The dresser//The covers//The mattress//The passion makin love//Girl, your scratchin me up..." -"Scratchin Me Up" by Trey Songz, Anticipation

Songz goes a few steps further with tracks 4 ("Does She Know") and 6 ("You Belong To Me"). In "Does She Know" Songz professes his perpetual longing for a woman who is not accessible and in "You Belong To Me" also known as the baby-maker, Songz shows his tremendous vocal range, and a slight MJ-ish sound around the 3:01 mark. Producers John "SK" McGee and Troy Taylor should give themselves two claps and a bravo for these joints. Heavy drums, snare, intense vocals and the distinct sound of harp strings make these songs necessary additions on every playlist.

In "Infidelity" and similarly in "Your Side of the Bed" we see a bit less of Trey Songz the playboy and more of the man who loved and recognizes his loss. Its a poignant and intimate look at a someone who cheats and faces the reality that his actions have placed him in. Ultimately, Trey Songz utilizes the production on these records to help you understand his thoughts and actually believe him. Trey's longtime producer Troy Taylor utilized legendary guitarist Patrick Hayes for "Your Side of the Bed", this invokes a certain Prince/Purple Rain/circa 1984 feel and makes me literally want to give the man a hug.

The rest of the songs are, in my personal opinion, CD quality material for any of Songz's next commercial releases and he gave them to you for free. Make sure you tell him thank you.

Finally, Songz re-introduces us to the now 22-year old Sammie of "I Like It" (1999) and "Crazy Things I Do" (2000) fame in "She Ain't My Girl", and provides listeners with a live version of his hit "Successful" with the Toronto/Houston (H-town stand up) phenom known as Drake.

Ultimately, this project is one that not many artists could put together and give away. The material is fresh, edgy, honest and most importantly: quality. I applaud Troy Taylor, E. Miles, John "SK" McGee, T. Scales, Johnta Austin, Eric Hudson, Patrick Hayes, Young Yonny and of course, Tremaine Neverson for the incredible production and lyrical content found in each track of this release. Side note: John "SK" McGee is only 21-years old. If his 5 production credits on this release are any indication of the future, I would look for him to make very significant waves.

In conclusion, fans should be excited. Songz releases his 3rd commercial CD entitled READY on September 1st and I have a feeling it will be another blog topic. Songz is at the forefront of a R&B revival and with the disappearance of the King of R&B himself, R.Kelly, Songz appears to be next in line for the crown. Step your game up Kells.

Trey Songz: Anticipation
Must Listen To: "Scratchin Me Up"; "Does She Know"; "Infidelity"; and "You Belong To Me".
Do Some Research: Check out Songz' remixed version of "Misunderstood". You'll respect the man's hustle. Believe that.

Your girl C. and the man Trey Songz and the 97.9 VIP Lounge at HOB. Nice guy.

Anticipation Song Listing:
01. Famous
02. Showerlude
03. Scratchin Me Up
04. Does She Know
05. Indefintely
06. You Belong To Me
07. More Than That
08. On Top
09. It Would Be
10. Make It Rain
11. Yo Side Of The Bed
12. She Ain’t My Gurl (Feat. Sammie)
13. Successful (Live) (Feat. Drake)

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