You think you know struggle? Try being a male R&B singer. Forging a
unique path in a field saturated with dozens upon dozens of becornrowed
hopefuls, in an industry that gives .75 of a damn about the little man
can't be easy. Social networks, video countdowns, and inboxes are
endlessly cluttered with singles, mixtapes, and videos from crooning,
emoting, almost admirably persistent R&B Dudes (several notches
behind the "Rapper Dude" on the People Who Are Annoying list) and there
is no end in sight. Bless them and their texturized hair, seductively
opened shirts, voicemail interludes, and spoken intros starting with "Hey
girl..." Since they live in the studio "writing hits," they largely
haven't received the memo that spastic, passionate Jodeci-esque fits of
emotion in videos are no longer mandatory, mind you. So bear with them.
After the bounce
The R&B Dude's entire life is an uphill battle. He's relegated to a
life of outrunning mediocrity and walking the tightrope between
unquestionable masculinity and endearing, romantic sensitivity. The
R&B Dude is, according to universal law, required to take himself
embarrassingly seriously. You see those veins straining in that neck?
That means he's a big deal, goddamn you. So don't you forget it. R&B
Dude typically has some enormous and insurmountable
shortcoming, which they'll compensate for -- or distract you from -- with
some other often annoying tactic. It could be Tank's unjustified
cockiness (tactic: aggressively attacking naysayers). Or Drake's Treacher Collins. Or, even Musiq
Soulchild's...um...well...the point is: It's not easy. Ask Trey Songz. He must at once be the
ideal husband and an ever-shirtless womanizer. He must tend to/plow his
loose-legged fans and still make his mama proud. He even had
to make a new genre out of rhythmic yodeling. Give that man an award.
And unless you're lucky enough to have a decent face, R&B Dude is
forbidden from removing his shades, regardless of location, occasion, or
time of day. It's exhausting, I tell you.
What's prompted all of this? The video for Bobby V's "Sweetness." The clip from the upcoming Fly On The Wall (no Miley Cyrus) finds Bobby getting X-rated with a well-paid video model. No disrespect to the "actress," as booty
enhancements surely won't pay for themselves, of course. It's no secret
that the R&B Dude's biggest battle is not producing trash. "How can I
separate myself from the pack and not suck?," he asks himself. That
struggle, and every other R&B Dude struggle can be witnessed here.
From the nearly two minute failed comedic opening -- Jerome from Martin,
anyone? -- to the decidedly 106 & Plantation-friendly production
values, there are many larger issues represented within this video. By
law, R&B Dude is required to have at least one pointless, soft porn
video. Song quality is irrelevant. Chris Brown had "No Bullsh*t" and Trey Songz invented sex.
Bobby would like you to know he can be sexy, too. In actuality, it's
about as enticing as a Tyler Perry sex scene. With a woman. Fast forward
to the 3:59 mark. Most. Unsexy. Thing. Ever. Filmed. If you've ever
been an awkward, virginal teenager fondling an insanely hot, experienced
but uninterested girl, then this video will speak to you directly.
Otherwise: no. It does, however, signify a staple of the R&B Dude's
existence: the flop.
At least he didn't attempt a D'Angelo.
I haven't followed Bobby V much since he surrendered his budget over at Ludacris' Disturbing Tha Peace imprint. Apparently I'm not missing much. This being his fourth album, he has yet to, in his words, break through. Don't get your hopes up, dude. Word to Kelly Rowland,
High Priestess of the Non-Breakthrough. To his credit, he can carry a
tune; his voice is not as terrible as the video. He's just living the
R&B Dude life, fighting the good fight: being unable to locate a
person who gives a sh*t. See what the fuss is (not) about below.