‘On Repeat’ is VIBE’s R&B Reporter Mya Abraham’s New Music Friday column. Each week, she covers one R&B song or album that has the most replay value heading into the weekend (but don’t worry, she’s also got a roundup of honorable mentions below).
In 2018, Ant Clemons rose to prominence after Kanye West interpolated his track “Pootie Tang” on “All Mine.” Capitalizing on the momentum, the New Jersey-bred crooner released his debut album, Happy 2 Be Here, which garnered a Grammy nomination in 2021. Now, the 30-year-old is back with a teaser in the form of a 4-track, 12-minute EP titled 4Play.
While some fans feel there isn’t enough traditional-sounding R&B floating in the airwaves, Clemons delivers a lo-fi, contemporary, soulful project that takes foreplay beyond the bedroom. The Brian Kennedy & James Fauntleroy-produced opener, “Sticks & Stones,” is a subtly sexy ballad that details the erotic positions Clemons would like to have his lady in without overtly saying so. In the song’s refrain alone—”Four point five times two/ That’s where I’m tryna go/ Whatchu you holdin’ out for, holdin’ out for?/ Two hand, love handles, I’ve been told”— it’s all there, the elements of classic R&B.
Back in the day, explicits weren’t needed to make a point when it came to love-making. Clemons reminds fans of that clever, understated poetry without his wants getting lost in translation. “Head Over Heels” echoes the notion of wanting the one you’re with to not be for the streets. The singer begs, “Girls like you shouldn’t be wasting time/ ‘Cause who got time to just waste time?” Yet, his situationship isn’t ready to advance.
Later, he whispers on “In Between” about the desire to do just that—get in between, but not in a home-wrecker way. Neither distance nor noise are viable obstacles because the end goal remains the same. “Come out up your comfort zone soon as you get comfortable/ You gon’ come again, come again, again and again,” he sings. This standout track is the epitome of foreplay and ties the project together. Wrapping the project is the Eric Hudson-produced “Come With Me.” The calm bass, interestingly, reminds of D’Angelo’s “Untitled (How Does It Feel),” though Clemons’ track is a bit more uptempo and isn’t as blatantly sexual. As he says, he’s playing for keeps, but the desire is very much evident.
With 4Play being a literal teaser, it’s the perfect project to have on repeat during the weeks leading to Valentine’s Day.
Check out some other notable R&B releases from this week’s New Music Friday below: