Hip-Hop and R&B have always forgone a solidified conjugal effort in favor of an on-again off-again schtick. Perhaps the dynamics of this hot and cold relationship are based in the paradigm of a couple whose personalities are too similar: rather than providing complementary hues to one another’s personalities, either risk reinforcing all aspects — good and bad — of a sort of unified ego. Or perhaps it’s as simple as the fact that R&B and Hip-Hop in 2012 are not so much genres as they are comprehensive umbrellas: its not that these two styles are fundamentally akin yet incompatible, it just takes the right kind of Hip-Hop and the right kind R&B to coalesce successfully.
To my mind, Neo-Soul has always been the most fruitful union of the two — J Dilla, Erykah Badu, Common, D’Angelo, and the rest of the Soulquarians weaved pillow talk and percussive throbs almost seamlessly. And in the same vain, Seattle’s THEESatisfaction have occupied themselves with finding their take on the tension between these two genres.
“QueenS” not only challenges the typical sounds of R&B with an assortment of spoken word and melodic hooks over an infectiously monochromatic beat, but the song appraises the current condition of Hip-Hop. “Leave your face at the door; turn off your swag” comes off as one the most critical statements about the recent resurgence in the Hip Hop scene. Rather than focusing on ego or persona in their music, THEEsatisfaction appears more concerned with content and its effect: “Whatever you do, don’t funk with my groove.” Let the music speak for itself, and personality will inevitably emerge. THEEsatisfaction don’t have to force it.