Sexify - Leah Labelle
I went to bed around 2:30am last night, after hours of multiple Facebook/Gmail chats with topics ranging from realizing the Oklahoma City Thunder are probably going to crush the Lakers this year to discussing hypothetical scenarios where ASAP Yams explains overly elaborate music video ideas to a not very receptive ASAP Mob. Obviously or not obviously, I’m back home from finishing my second year of college, and I know I’ve got many similar nights ahead of me. So as I’ve done the last few summer, I wake up at 6am turn on MTV, because this is the only time of the day when they show videos and fall back asleep. Half-awake my dad was says he was going to work, I say something intelligible and turned my hazy vision to the TV screen.
I see this women singing on the phone throughout a very colorful apartment as she is getting ready for her evening. Halfway through, Jermaine Dupri, looking a bit like Too Short, knocks on the door and I wonder when was the last time I saw Dupri in a music video. Then Pharrell shows up for a similar cameo, and this late 90s sounding R&B song continued to confuse my drowsy self. I stumble out of bed to a computer and discover the song is “Sexify” by Leah Lebelle, and that she is working on an album with Durpi and Pharrell, explaining away those seemingly random appearances.
I don’t want to speak too strongly on R&B music, because I usually don’t engage enough with it outside of radio singles, so my familiarity is very surface (also, I don’t like The-Dream, which probably means I’ll be excluded from future secret music writer meetings). Yet, for all the 90s R&B IS RELEVANT AND IMPORTANT TALK, the simplicity in production here lets Labelle’s voice shine and doesn’t sound too far from the R&B selection on Elijah and Skilliam’s recent 90s R&B show. But, “Sexify” isn’t overly ambitious sounding or busy trying too hard to sound like Timbaland (see: Alunageorge “You Know You Like It”). Labelle has a 5 song album sampler out, and its fine, but hearing the other songs shows that “Sexify” was the correct choice for her first single.
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