The-Dream IV Play

The-Dream IV Play
6
Unbridled ambition, thy name is Terius Nash. A true product of the post hip-hop/soul era, The-Dream is no doubt a talented producer, having crafted earworms such as Rihanna's "Umbrella" and Beyonce's "Single Ladies," but one wonders if Nash would be better served with a few less yes-men in his corner for his fourth studio album. There's an abundance of high-profile guest stars on IV Play, but even so, it sounds like Jay-Z and Beyoncé are slumming it on "High Art" and "Turnt," respectively. A Fruity Loops-fuelled chorus like, "I make love to my girls / I get high with my niggaz" might do it in the club, but it hardly has the makings of a classic. It's a modern school of thought that traditional R&B is too "soft" for today's audience and an f- and n-bomb-laced R&B/hip-hop hybrid sound is what's needed for street cred. At this point, The-Dream has his R&B template down cold (see dreamy numbers like "Self-Conscious" or "Where Have You Been"). "New Orleans" is a catchy track, but the "this bitch" tag at the end of each line gets tired. His self-indulgent tendencies crop up in "P*ssy" (featuring Big Sean and Pusha T) and "Slow It Down" ("I know you ain't gonna play this on top 40 radio"). And while he's been vehemently denying it, "Michael" sure sounds like subliminal shade thrown in the direction of the Weeknd. Ultimately, The-Dream is a big part of today's R&B/soul sound, but IV Play isn't the classic many want it to be. (Universal)