Man, R&B producer/singer/songwriter/legend Terius Nash, better known as The-Dream, is so, so good, even if his last full-length album, 2014’s IV Play, was not. But this year has brought us the old Radio Killa we know and love. Last month, he dropped the excellent six-song Crown EP; on July 10, he’ll follow that up with Jewel, an eight-track offering that will most likely kick ass as well.
The proof is in “Black Magic,” which just surfaced online this week. It’s a mesmerizing little song that benefits from endless repetition (I’ve had it on a loop for two hours myself), and would work as well in a park on Sunday afternoon as it would in a club late on Saturday night. The-Dream is very good at constructing a song, forming something catchy by layering pretty melodies over vibrant beats that have a little hint of old soul, joined with production that brings the verses together like they always existed as a whole piece. “Black Magic” is a pretty good example of that; The-Dream isn’t nicknamed “Radio Killa” for nothing. This particular track is evidence that Terius has bars, too: Most times you don’t want to hear a singer rap (or a rapper sing), but this is a rare, spellbinding exception.
You may think you’re unfamiliar with The-Dream, but you’re not! He’s written and produced some of the biggest pop hits of the past decade, including Beyoncé’s “Single Ladies,” Rihanna’s “Umbrella,” and tracks for Mariah Carey, Ciara, Jay Z, and Usher. He may not show up on the radio much as a solo artist—even though his first three albums, 2007’s Lovehate, 2009’s Love Vs. Money, and 2010’s Love King, are a near-perfect pop-R&B trilogy—but the radio would be much worse without him. And so would we.
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