Wednesday, 13 February 2013

#ESPspotlight Review: '7 Days, 7 Mixtapes To Set The Mood' Valentine's Special: 3. 'BORN II SING, VOL. II', ERIC BELLINGER

Eric Bellinger is a hitmaker that you may not know that you already know. Yes, you read that right. Justin Bieber, Selena Gomes, Chris Brown, Trey Songz, JLSChip. All of the above and more have benefited from the penmanship of this Grammy-nominated songwriter; some with #1's in constant rotation on your music players.

With a voice that could rival all of the above combined and two mixtapes proving he more than has the goods to stand tall amongst them under his belt, Eric Bellinger aka 'Eric B.' is a rare specimen of R&B at it's finest. Remember the 'good ole days' of 90s Artists making quality music? That Ladies and Gents, is what this Los Angeles native is all about.

After a 2 year hiatus to work on projects for everyone and their cousin; 'Born II Sing Vol. III' is set to drop any day now. We're going back to the last in though in this review - for those unfamiliar, let me introduce you to 'Born II Sing, Vol. II'...

'Freakin You' is exactly what you R&B heads would expect from the title - a cover of the Jodeci original. Whilst a good rendition, with some serious vocals showing on this boat, when it comes to these big guns, there's no way that you can escape being compared with the original - and found wanting 3 to 1. 'B fans' will know that his back catalogue is strong and thus keep listening, if not move straight to a more worthy track.

'Navigator' is that track. Featuring Mario and J Doe, the three blend well in this promise to their ladies. "Here to save you" is the hook, in lyric and theme, while harmonies from Eric and Mario are a dream. By the close, listeners cannot help but agree with the claim that "Clearly, this n***a was born to sing". Apart from the 'N' part. We don't like that word. Nice young gentleman - let's go with that.

Since this is about the sounds for your night and not the video, then it's thumbs up for 'Love & Lust' all the way. The melodies are out of this world; I, for one, would buy a concert ticket based on just the vocal acrobatics displayed in this track. The topic isn't rocket science, our leading man poses the question how can he tell if he's in love, or in love with some bombarse booty. On behalf of females everywhere Mr B (and every other male asking): if you have to ask, then We (the collective females of the World) can promise you - it's the latter. Problem solved.

Now if I'm honest, I went off Christina Milian some years back but, in 'Ride It' she reminds you of the promise that she once held. This isn't 'Dip It Low' Christina on this track, in other words, when she was at her mainstream best; this is the 'Get AwaySpending Time / Highway' version - in other words, at her absolute finest - no distractions, just great music. All about the bedroom battle, my money's on her, Mr Bellinger is owned in this one. Considering the stakes, it doesn't sound like you should be too sympathetic, I think he'll survive...Just.

'Cheater' is sexily misleading, as he's only feeling adulterous because he's been working on the mic, instead of his Mrs. For that he can be forgiven. Slow and sexy; fellas this one will help if all of your billable hours have been clocked in the board and not the bedroom. Consider it your warm up.

A tribute to the preggo, engaged ex that downgraded; 'Sarcastic' calls on British mate Chip (when he was still a 'munk'), to help avoid the 'drastic' response he's holding back from demonstrating, while still driving the point on home. Hot beat and those riffs...Ohhh, those riffs. The song doesn't even need lyrics if he's going to keep doing that. Who on Earth did she leave him for? If he doesn't run vocals like a Casey twin then I do not respect her. I doubt any of the ladies listening will disagree.

'25 to Life' is an interesting way of appreciating the female form... "If looks could kill then baby you'd be locked behind bars for eternity - 25 to life" You sort of want to be disgusted; if someone walked up and dropped that line in real life, it absolutely would not impress, but there is something about it being sung at you in a slick vocal arrangement that stops you vomiting over the forward button on your remote. I'm embarrassed to admit it works a little...much.

When I first read the title of 'Green Eggs & Ham' it immediately made me want to hop a plane, bound for my nearest iHop. I don't think I've ever actually seen green eggs (we're British, here that would probably just signal Salmonella or something); but after receiving the unique introduction in the form of that special bedtime story...well I think it's safe to say that most ladies end up keen to try some. The eggs sound good too...

In 'Such A Tease', you don't need to be told where and what this one is all about. A nice enough track, but after the sultry, hungry heat of  'Green Eggs & Ham', this is a 'spent' comparison and thus relegated to a 'take it or leave it' kind of track.

'Could've Had It All' is all about the silly female who didn't tell the truth about her relationship status and as a result, forfeited the world with a good man. Short and (sadly) sweet, this is Bellinger's most endearing track of the mixtape so far. Scoreworthy.

Now first of all, I want to go on record as saying that it's absolutely CRIMINAL that there is no video for 'Get It All' featuring Tank and Kevin McCall. Why would you deprave the female nation that way? Back to the track though and I think it's obvious that this is a pure ladies delight. Tank fires Cannons as always - this is most definitely what you need in your arsenal, gentleman. If you fail to hit the target with weapons like this, well...all metaphors aside, maybe you shouldn't be in battle. Ok, all bar one more.

Picking the pace back up, 'Fan of Me' Mann, this one goes toe-to-toe with the male competition. More suited to your car ride than your bedroom fairground, the ladies aren't really required for this. The bass will sound hot in your system, but in no way does it rev your motor...

Finishing fast, 'Help' featuring Chief waKiL, is something of a Superhero moment. Sent to "save the day", the beat is nice - yep, that 'N' word again - and it's a good track for ambience in the daytime, but I'd leave it off your 'Operation Flag Plant' playlist this Thursday.

From what I've heard on Eric's #InTheMeantime Soundcloud playlist, his teasers for 'Born II Sing, Vol. III' are infinitely superior to this overall strong body of work. I had the channel on repeat for hours on Saturday gone. Until that drops later this month however, employ these very strong tools at hand and download 'Vol. II' now...

Click to Download 'Born II Sing, Vol. 2' now...

Then connect with Eric via his Social Media Catalogue and be the first to hear all that 'Vol. III' news...

Claim your 15% off MFT order now

Now Ladies and Gents alike, you're running out of time to benefit on those pretty trinkets and baubles from using my Special Brand Ambassador Code - what are you waiting for?

Have you got a favourite from the selection so far? Let me know in the comment box below, along with your thoughts on today's pick!

See you tomorrow for the last but one selection before the BIG Valentine's Review AND Interview this Thursday...Ladies - you can't ever say I'm not good to you...

ES ;)