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Rediscover The Love: 15 Best Love Songs To Rekindle Your Love

It happens. The moment you hear a song that reignites an outpouring of emotions from the past; a slow jam inspires you to go back to your record stash as you are reminded of your love for a particular song or artist. It could be something as obvious as D’Angelo’s 2000 “Untitled (How Does It Feel),” the gorgeous track that had fans recalling some of Prince’s most storied ballads. Or it could be Sevyn Streeter’s underrated 2017 standout, “My Love For You,” which would have fit in nicely during a recording session for Aaliyah’s 1996 R&B landmark, One in a Million.

Indeed, all of the tracks chosen for this list recall some of the smoothest, romantic songs from the ‘60’s, ‘70s, ‘80’s and ‘90s whether through sampling or recapturing a signature melody or feel. Which is why coming up with the following 15 love songs was a laborious exercise. Our diverse range of ballads goes as far back as 2005, the same year that pop diva Mariah Carey–who is also featured on our list–made one of music’s biggest comebacks with her bleeding heart single “We Belong Together.”

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15. “Do U Wrong"—Leven Kali feat. Syd (2018)

This is 4 minutes and 41 seconds of attraction and agonizing self-doubt. In other words, the laid-back funk of “Do U Wrong,” courtesy of Santa Monica vocalist and rapper Leven Kali–with some sensual backing from the Internet’s critically-acclaimed front woman Syd–is the perfect nuanced love song. With lines like, “I can do you wrong if you want babe/Would it keep you on your mind long enough babe?” the newly released head-turner was made for a generation too self-aware to get bogged down in sentimentality.

Reminds You Of: George Duke’s 1977 jazz-funk opus, "Reach For It"

14. “Hard To Do”—K. Michelle (2015)

When you are one of the last true believers of traditional soul and guts R&B you tend to get right down to the point. A focused K. Michelle wants to re-connect with an estranged lover, and really, who could say “no” when she brags, “What you gonna do when I put that pretty thing on you?” This seductive number, which has climbed up to no. 23 on Billboard’s Hot R&B Songs chart, has no time to play around.

Reminds You Of: A clever nod to Total’s breezy, Raphael Saadiq-penned 1996 gem, “Kissing You”

13. “Muse”—PartyNextDoor (2014)

So, who exactly is Canadian import PartyNextDoor? Is he OVO’s resident secret weapon, a mercurial talent who has at times had a strained, complicated relationship with omnipresent label boss Drake? Is he the chart-topping songwriter who helped transform the seemingly unstoppable Rihanna into a supreme dancehall queen with “Work”? Or is PartyNextDoor the loveable scoundrel on the trippy “Muse.” Answer: All of the above.

Reminds You Of: Ginuwine’s 1996 standout, "Only When Ur Lonely”

12. "Play No Games”—Big Sean feat. Chris Brown and Ty Dollar $ign (2015)

It’s a testament to the sheer lasting power of the Guy, the kings of New Jack Swing, that Big Sean’s throwback favorite “Play No Games” comes off so…infectious. Not the prototypical “love song,” this Chris Brown and Ty Dollar $ign assisted cut proudly mines the past even down to its light-hearted tribute to ‘90s sitcom fixture Martin. Somewhere Bruh Man is smiling.

Reminds You Of: Guy’s gospel-tinged, Teddy-Riley produced 1988 ballad, “Piece Of My Love”

11. “Déjà Vu”—J. Cole (2016)

The controversy surrounding J. Cole’s “Déjà Vu” came close to overshadowing its love-sick brilliance. The issue? The unpretentious track, featured on the North Carolina superstar’s 2016 platinum statement 4 Your Eyez Only, shares a close musical resemblance to Bryson Tiller’s “Exchange”–which is also featured on our list. Where Tiller goes for a more soulful emotional gut punch, Cole secretly pins away for another man’s girl (“He introduced you as his girl and I was heartbroken…”) and plays it cool.

Reminds You Of: If you listen close enough, you can hear a sped up sample of K.P. & Envy’s bass-fueled, 1998 R&B mash-up, “Swing My Way”

10. “Exchange”—Bryson Tiller (2015)

On Trapsoul, Bryson Tiller’s genre-expanding 2015 debut album, the Louisville, Kentucky crooner drew a line in the sand. In his mind, the ever-Lit hardcore frenzy of the trap movement could just as well co-exist with his own quiet storm sensibilities. And so “Exchange” succeeds by never forgetting what it feels like to have a broken heart.

Reminds You Of: K.P. & Envy’s 1998 R&B mash-up, “Swing My Way”

9. “Say It”—Tory Lanez (2015)

Tory Lanez’ “Say It” follows a three-year trend of rhythm and blues trap-fueled slow jams sampling the ‘90s soul explosion. Larenz has the good sense to speak his piece and let the Pop Wansel-orchestrated, driving groove do the rest.

Reminds You Of: A clever reworking of Brownstone’s 1994 signature song “If You Love Me”

8. “That’s What I Like”—Bruno Mars (2017)

The Grammy-winning “That’s What I Like” continues Bruno Mars’ ode to the power of late ‘80s/early ‘90s black music with a wink and knowing smile. Playful, but never diving into the realm of silliness, you can honestly envision Justin Timberlake all over this randy sing-along. That is if Timberlake actually had the chops to pull off such a grown-folks-business pleasure.

Reminds You Of: The best R&B from the New Jack Swing era.

7. “Lotus Flower Bomb”-Wale feat. Miguel (2011)

Who knew that the usually closed Wale was capable of so much committed bliss? “Lotus Flower Bomb” works as a love song because it hits all the spots: “Turned on” mood music? Check. Heart-grabbing vocals from Miguel? Check. Wale’s witty pillow talk (“Shawty, where’s your baton, racing through my mind…”). Triple check. It all works.

Reminds You Of: Listening to Maxwell’s Urban Hang Suite (1996) on a Saturday night

6. "Take You Down"-Chris Brown (2007)

Let's get right to it. No matter what Chris Brown achieves his legacy will forever be overshadowed by his controversial relationship with Rihanna. But Brown’s early career, before he was branded R&B’s most infamous bad boy, has its high points, most notably on the slow burning coolness that is “Take You Down”.

Reminds You Of: The hook on Michael Jackson’s pulsating 1991 workout, “Keep It In The Closet

5. “Poetic Justice”—Kendrick Lamar feat. Drake (2012)

Before Kendrick Lamar became hip-hop’s most important voice of the decade, he was just a rookie trying to carve out his niche in the cluttered rap landscape. Listening to “Poetic Justice” takes you back to a time before K. Dot and Drake became polar-opposite rivals. Here Kendrick showcases a softer side and a glimpse of his future as a radio staple.

Reminds You Of: Janet Jackson’s criminally-underrated “Anytime, Anyplace,” chopped up gloriously.

4. “Love On The Brain”-Rihanna (2016)

It’s clear that Rihanna enjoys toying with the public’s perception of who she is as an artist. The Barbadian beauty has boldly jumped from pop, reggae, hip-hop, synth rock, adult contemporary balladry and R&B. So it came as no surprise that Rihanna could pull off the ‘60’s inspired soul of “Love On The Brain.” No, RiRi does not possess the muscular pipes of the legendary Etta James. But what she does have is the unbridled emotion of a woman who is so beyond enraptured that she is “fist-fighting with fire.”

Reminds You Of: A Chess Records-stamped torch song

3. “Redbone”—Childish Gambino (2016)

The man doesn’t even try to hide it. Yes, Childish Gambino’s simmering, slinky “Redbone” is basically a P-Funk love letter. And that’s okay because it soars with the kind of uncut black love (“My peanut butter chocolate cake with Kool-Aid/I'm trying not to waste my time…”) that finds its allure in a potent bass line that lays it on heavy.

Reminds You Of: Booty’s Rubber Band’s 1976 strutting funk ballad “I’d Rather Be With You”

2. “We Belong Together”—Mariah Carey (2005)

Mariah Carey’s monster comeback single and album (The Emancipation of Mimi) relied heavily on the hit-making mystique of the record-breaking chart-topper. How mammoth was “We Belong Together”? The summer burner spent 14 consecutive weeks no. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and on the R&B. Hip-Hop Songs charts. The regal Carey is not one to beg. Maybe that’s why it resonated so deeply with the public. Even super women need love.

Reminds You Of: The Deele’s 1988 Babyface and L.A. Reid-produced single, “Two Occasions”

1. “Drunk In Love”—Beyoncé feat. JAY-Z

This is the hypnotic sound of Beyoncé deliriously smitten. That much is clear when she muses, “Why can’t I keep my fingers off you, baby?” Of course we all know what happened next: Beyoncé unleashed 2016’s empowering Lemonade. And an inspired Jigga produced the cathartic 2017 self-examination 4:44. But “Drunk In Love” paints a united portrait of a couple that today stands as the most powerful duo in popular music.

Reminds You Of: The more laid-back twin sister of Queen Bey’s anthemic 2003 hit, “Crazy In Love

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CIRCA 1980: Photo of Bill Withers
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Bill Withers' Greatest Hits: Remixed, Sampled And Covered

The recent loss of legends in jazz, soul and classical music have saddened the music industry and reminded us of their touching gifts to music. The passing of Manu Dibango, Krzysztof Penderecki, Ellis Marsalis Jr., Bucky Pizzarelli and Alan Merrill brought endless tributes from peers and fans with the recent loss of soul singer-songwriter Bill Withers doing the same.

With a mirage of hits, the iconic songwriter left his mark on music with the release of his debut album Just As I Am in 1971. "Ain't No Sunshine" put a spotlight on his songwriting while 1977's "Lovely Day" reminded the industry of his signature vocals. Withers released eight studio albums, one live album and garnered three Grammys for his powerful songs that gave hope and love to fans to this day.

Hip-hop and R&B have gained the most from Withers as his music went on to inspire records like "No Diggity" by BLACKStreet, "Roses" by Kanye West and other songs from UGK, Dr. Dre, Jill Scott and more.

Take a look at some of Withers' finest tunes covered, remixed and sampled below.

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8. “Lovely Day” | Menagerie (1977)

Sampled On: T.W.D.Y., “Player’s Holiday” | Derty Werk (1999) LunchMoneyLewis - “It's Gonna Be A Lovely Day” feat. Aminè | Pets 2 Soundtrack (2019) Swizz Beatz - “Take A Picture” |One Man Band (2007)

Standout: T.W.D.Y., “Player’s Holiday” | Derty Werk (1999)

Short for "The Whole Damn Yay," the group used Withers' sample while throwing a splash of The Bay's laid back flavor. With cameos from future legends like E-40 and Ray Luv, the single already embodied the best of R&B and hip-hop with guest verses from Too Short, Mac Mall and Otis & Shug. The mimosas and yacht are also a great touch.

Covered By: Jill Scott, The Original Jill Scott from the Vault Vol. 1 (2011) Alt-J, This Is All Yours (2014) Robert Glasper Experiment, Black Radio 2 (2013) Kirk Franklin, The Nu Nation Project (1998)

Standout: Kirk Franklin, The Nu Nation Project (1998)

Who was going to beat a chorus singing to the lordt? Franklin's take on the classic gives us stirring gospel and appreciation for Withers and God. There are plenty of covers that have lifted the same vocals as Withers, but the ones listed have put their unique spin on the track.

7. “Ain't No Sunshine” | Just As I Am (1971)

Sampled On: DMX - “No Sunshine” | Exit Wounds Soundtrack (2001) Lil B - “Up And Down” | Based Jam (2012) 2Pac- "Soulja's Story" |  2Pacalypse Now (1991)

Standout: DMX - “No Sunshine” | Exit Wounds Soundtrack (2001)

"No Sunshine" served as the only single from DMX's film alongside Steven Seagal, which gave everyone the perfect backdrop to the movie and X's intricate storytelling. Both the original and flipped version points out the dark elements of our lives. Withers penned the song after watching the film 1962 movie Days of Wine and Roses, he pondered over the toxicity in his life. "Sometimes you miss things that weren't particularly good for you," he said in 2004 to SongFacts. "It's just something that crossed my mind from watching that movie, and probably something else that happened in my life that I'm not aware of."

Covered By: Soul For Real | Candy Rain (1994) Michael Jackson | Got to Be There (1972) The Boris Gardiner Happening | Is What's Happening (1973) The Temptations | Solid Rock (1972)

Standout: Michael Jackson | Got to Be There (1972)

At 14, the future King of Pop gave a riveting cover of Withers' hit for his debut album, Got To Be There. From his vocal control throughout the track to the instrumentation, his cover takes the song to another level of heartbreak.

6. "Grandma's Hands” | Just As I Am (1971)

Sampled On: BLACKstreet - “No Diggity” feat. Dr. Dre and Queen Pen | Another Level (1996) Big K.R.I.T. - “I Gotta Stay” | K.R.I.T. Wuz Here (2010) Brother Ali - “Waheedah's Hands” | Champion (2004)

Standout: BLACKstreet - “No Diggity” feat. Dr. Dre and Queen Pen | Another Level (1996)

R&B heads are well aware of BLACKstreet's neverending ballads and the genius of Teddy Riley. But the pivot of their sound for their sophomore album Another Level was due to Withers and the William “Stylez” Stewart. Speaking to Fact Mag in 2017, the creator of New Jack Swing gave credit to Stylez for bringing him the sample of "Grandma's Hands."

“If he hadn’t played that sample for me, there would never be a ‘No Diggity’ And if he didn’t write it according to the melody I gave him so it would sound that way because I wanted it to sound funky,” he said. “I wanted it to be appealing to everyone, but mostly to women. I wanted every woman to feel like they were the ‘No Diggity’ girl and that song was about them and it came across. And now, still, today, that song plays and people are on that dancefloor.”

Covered By: Gil Scott-Heron, Reflections (1981) Merry Clayton, Merry Clayton (1971) Barbra Streisand, Butterfly (1974)

Standout: Gil Scott-Heron, Reflections (1981)

Gil Scott-Heron's version of the soul classic reminded us of his versatile talents. From spoken word to his vocal abilities, the Godfather of rap music always came through with his own sound and style. Reflections was one of four albums the late artist dropped in the 80s with critics looking to it as one of his finest projects. Other cuts from the album included "Inner City Blues (Make Me Wanna Holler)" and "B Love."

5. "Use Me" | Still Bill (1972)

Sampled On: Kendrick Lamar - “Sing About Me, I'm Dying Of Thirst"  | Good kid, Maad City (2012) J. Cole- "Dollar And A Dream II" | The Warm-Up (2009) Leela James - “So Good" | Fall For You (2014) UGK - "Use Me Up" | The Southern Way (1992)

Standout: Kendrick Lamar - “Sing About Me, I'm Dying Of Thirst"  | Good kid, Maad City (2012)

Lamar's take on "Use Me" blended right into the themes of his debut album, Good kid, Maad City allowing the artist to create another world on the project. To make things even better, Lamar also sampled Al Green's "I'm Glad You're Mine" for the track.

Covered By: Grace Jones, Indigo Nights, Live (2008) Mick Jagger feat. Lenny Kravitz, Wandering Spirit  (2004) Issac Hayes, Dr. Dolittle Soundtrack (1998)

Standout: Mick Jagger feat. Lenny Kravitz, Wandering Spirit (2004)

On his third solo album, Jagger linked with Rick Rubin to test his creative energy, allowing him to work with Lenny Kravitz on their version of "Use Me." Colliding worlds was one thing but to hear Kravitz's vocals come in on the bridge, set the track apart from the rest.

4. “Kissing My Love” | Still Bill (1972)

Sampled On: J. Cole - “The Cut Off" featuring kiLL Edward  | KOD (2018) Dr. Dre - "Let Me Ride" featuring Snoop Dogg, RC and Jewell | The Chronic (1992) Masta Ace- "Movin On" | Take A Look Around (1990) Master P- "Bastard Child" | The Ghettos Tryin To Kill Me! | 1994

Standout: Dr. Dre - "Let Me Ride" featuring Snoop Dogg, RC and Jewell | The Chronic (1992)

"Kissing My Love" is one of most sampled from Withers catalog, thanks to its feverish drums. It's also why it fits into Dr. Dre's single and the G-funk era.

3. Grover Washington's “Just The Two of Us” featuring Bill Withers | Winelight (1981)

Sampled/Covered On:  Will Smith - “Just The Two of Us” | Big Willie Style (1997) Eminem- "Just The Two of Us" | Slim Shady EP (1997) Keri Hilson- "Pretty Girl Rock" | No Boys Allowed (2010)

Standout: Will Smith - “Just The Two of Us” | Big Willie Style (1997)

Touching and soulful, Smith's dedication to his eldest son Trey is just too cute for words.

2. “Let It Be” | Just As I Am  (1967)

The Original: The Beatles - “Let It Be” | Let It Be (1968)

"Let It Be" is a pretty special record. Aretha Franklin recorded a version a year before the release of The Beatles' version and Withers gave his take on the record in the 70s. Slightly faster, his upbeat take on "Let It Be" just hits different.

1. “Rosie” | Menagerie Re-Issue (1977)

Sampled On: Kanye West - “Roses” |  Late Registration (2005)

As the somber part of Late Registration, "Roses" brings us into Kanye's world where he contemplates the mortality of a loved one. It's a sentimental take on the sample and one of the artist's most underrated songs. It's also a hidden gem for Withers as it isn't featured on Menagerie's LP. It was added as a bonus track on

Enjoy the jams in playlist form below.

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Remain Calm: 5 Ways To Curve Negative Effects Of Coronavirus Isolation

Self-isolation during the coronavirus outbreak seems to be best practice in keeping our families and peers safe but it's also a shift in our normal social behavior. As millions of families around the country get adjusted to self-isolation, the state of our mental health and how our bodies react to the practice are changing by the day, especially lower-income and marginalized groups.

Speaking with Wired, John Vincent, a clinical psychologist at the University of Houston, shared how apathetic behavior can rise to the forefront, making space for anxiety and depression.

“People start getting lethargic when they don’t have positive inputs into their small worlds,” Vincent says. “We can expect depression to kick in, and depression and anxiety are kissing cousins.”

But the biggest reason behind the uneasiness isn't the self-isolation but just how long it will last. Details of COVID-19 are changing by the day with the most cases now coming out of New York. Yet, there's still little to no information on what happens next.

“Open, transparent, consistent communication is the most important thing governments and organizations can do: Make sure people understand why they are being quarantined first and foremost, how long it is expected to last,” Samantha Brooks of King’s College London told the outlet. “A huge factor in the negative psychological impact seems to be confusion about what's going on, not having clear guidelines, or getting different messages from different organizations.”

Uncertainty hitting low income and marginalized groups is also a problem within itself. As virtual parties and celebrities opening up on social media happen on a daily, there are people who might not access fun distractions on the web.

“Some people have posited technology as a means of connecting people, but lower-income groups might not even have FaceTime or Skype or minutes on their phone,” Thomas Cudjoe, a geriatrician researching the intersection of social connections and aging at Johns Hopkins University says. “People take that for granted, using their devices can be a strain on people’s incomes.”

To make self-isolation less than a bore or a daunting task, experts suggest creating a schedule to dictate control in your home.

1. Work It Out

Gyms are closed, but your home can be transformed into a personal training center. Use heavy bags for weights and if you can, create a playlist of workouts on YouTube. For those who have memberships for Blink or Peloton, the platforms have streamed their workouts on apps.

2. Mindful Meditation

Meditation isn't about dumping your thoughts, it's about staying aware and mindful. AQUA has developed online that leverages the power of "Mindful Meditation and Mobility Movements" for flexibility and fluidity in the body. Classes are free of charge but feel free to donate.

3. Take It Back To High School

Give your friends a call or indulge in a FaceTime party. Feel free to use the Wifi in your home to reduce the amount of data used on your phone. Lala Anthony held a too-cute FT birthday party for writer Kiyonna Anthony with a 70s theme. You can also find creative ways to hop on the phone with friends and family instead of constantly chatting about 'rona.

 

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We made the best out of our quarantine situation🎉‼️FACETIME 70s Party💃🏽🎉HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO MY NIECE @kiyonnathewriter ❤️❤️💃🏽💃🏽SHOUT OUT TO ALL MY ARIES ♈️ MAKE THE BEST OF IT!!!😘

A post shared by ℒᎯ ℒᎯ (@lala) on Mar 23, 2020 at 7:14pm PDT

4. Start A Journal

Journals just aren't for kids. The practice not only gives you something to do, but it fuels creativity and a new level of self-awareness. Former First Lady Michelle Obama recently developed Becoming: A Guided Journal for Discovering Your Voice, with over 150 inspiring questions and quotes that connect to key themes in her memoir. The journal will also help bring readers to terms with the importance of family and personal reflections as well as the goals they'd like to make a reality.

5. Have a Dance Party or Enjoy Lo-Fi Beats To Quarantine To

If you don't have data or battery power to watch a virtual DJ party, make your own. If you have to pull out your record player, do it! You can also hop on your favorite streaming service and create a playlist all your own.

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From Teen Sensation To Vocal Bible: Brandy's 15 Best Songs

September 27, 2019 marked the 25th anniversary of the multiplatinum self-titled debut album by one of R&B’s greatest voices, Brandy Rayana Norwood, or simply Brandy. She was already well on her way to stardom prior to her debut as a background vocalist for Immature and one of the stars of the short-lived ABC series, Thea. However, it was the album Brandy that set her on the path to tremendous success.

Since officially bursting onto the scene in 1994 sporting her well-known braided crown of glory, she has been a force to be reckoned with. She was handpicked by her idol, the late Whitney Houston, to portray the role of the first Black Cinderella in the 1997 film Rodgers & Hammerstein's Cinderella. Her show Moesha was one of the longest-running black sitcoms. Brandy was also a CoverGirl in 1999 and became a friend of Barbie that same year when Mattel released the Brandy Doll. In music, she’s released six studio albums, sold more than 40 million records worldwide, headlined three world tours, and won more than 30 awards including seven Billboard Music Awards, a Grammy and the Soul Train Lady of Soul Award. Brandy deserves her flowers.

Let’s check out the top 15 songs that helped solidify Brandy as your favorite singer’s favorite singer (just ask Solange) and earned her the title of the “Vocal Bible.”

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