R&B star Ne-Yo recently took time to address his critics and the notion he has left his signature crooning sound to venture into the world of pop.
The mega singing sensation promised his upcoming R.E.D. album would silence naysayers.
“I know where I came from. I know that R&B is where it started at for me,” Ne-Yo said in an interview. “When this new album comes out [September 18th], it will shut the mouths of everybody who feels like I have ‘crossed over.’ … I’ve just paid attention to the fact that I have a very broad fan base. I have my diehard R&B fans, I got my pop fans. … This album is an equal mix of both. If there’s six R&B records, then there’s six pop records so that everybody can come to the same damn concert and stay for the whole damn show.” (“The Angie Martinez Show”)
Last month, rap veteran Nas lashed out at the pop genre during an album release party.
“This is music that I just put together, I’m praying will be the inspiration for my brothers that’s in the rap game. I think a lot of us are confused about who we are. It’s important that we stay ten toes down at all time. F-k pop, f-k all that sh*t. We don’t imitate pop, pop imitates us! So that’s why we go back to the gutter. We’re number one in about 5 or 6 countries around the world. And none of this is pop. Stick to your guns, do what you do….” (Miss Info TV)
In February, Young Money rapper Nicki Minaj addressed critics who labeled some of her music pop.
“I would hope that people know at this point that I’m smart enough to know what I’m doing all the time. But I guess they still kind of waiver. I always intended on putting out something urban after ‘Starships,’ because I knew ‘Starships’ was a monster,” she explained. “Maybe it would be a problem if I couldn’t deliver records like ‘Roman Reloaded,’ but I can. I write my own lyrics. Once again, I write my own lyrics. So it’s never a problem. Whatever I feel, I can write, I can create it. So I’m good. I think people sometimes get blown away by the magnitude of the pop stuff, because the pop stuff, it reaches everywhere and then I feel like my hip-hop fans or hip-hop culture starts getting a little bit afraid that I’m going to leave. But this is who I am. I’m not going to change – I’m just adding on to my brand. And if you don’t understand that, then it’s probably why you don’t travel and you don’t see the world and I probably can’t even have a conversation with you anymore.” (“Funkmaster Flex”)
A few months ago, Ne-Yo spoke to SOHH about his various hip-hop and soulful inspirations.
“I grew up in a household that was very soul-funk oriented,” Ne-Yo told SOHH this past week at the Malibu Red New York City party. “My mom was a huge Anita Baker fan, Teddy Pendergrass, the O’Jays, a lot of that. It wasn’t until I got around my uncle that I even got to experience hip-hop. My first hip-hop experience, I can’t even front, was N.W.A. That was the first hip-hop I’d ever heard. Then I fell in love from there. It was on a tape that my uncle had that I wasn’t supposed to listen to, but every time I put it in and listened to it and said, ‘What the h*ll is this?’ She started listening to it and all of a sudden she was playing it in the house and it was all good.” (SOHH)
Check out some past Ne-Yo footage below: