Ne-Yo On Trey Songz, Frank Ocean, and R&B

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Ne-Yo has never been known to hold back from offering his honest assessment of any given situation. So it’s not surprising that the singer-songwriter, A&R exec at Motown, and actor didn’t mince words when asked about the state of R&B right now during an interview with Power 105.1’s “The Breakfast Club.” Ne-Yo also gave some constructive criticism to his R&B peers, and answered the longstanding question about Beyoncé’s contributions to the megahit “Irreplaceable.”

Is he inspired by R&B music that’s out right now?

No. Not at all. I feel like there’s an emotional disconnect in R&B right now.

His thoughts on Frank Ocean:

I dig Frank. I like the album. I feel like on some records, it’s a little too cool for the room, where its like “What the hell are you talking about?” But I dig the fact that when you listen to his records, you can tell that he means what he’s saying, even if you don’t know what the hell he’s saying, its like ‘he meant that. And i feel like that’s the emotional disconnect in R&B right now. It’s like okay you hear dudes singing about love, but you don’t believe them.

Even if you go back to the days of Jodeci. These were the thuggish, ruggish R&B singers period. They were walking around with jeans belted at their thighs with machetes talking about ‘Forever My Lady’ and you believed it. So I think that’s what’s missing in R&B right now. Everyone’s trying to be too cool. It’s too over-sexed right now. That’s why R&B is suffering.

On Trey Songz:

I’ve talked to Trey before and Trey is one of them dudes, I feel like could be a serious problem in this R&B world, if he decided to just really put that emotion in there. No disrespect to Trey, love Trey to death. But I feel like, again, the emotional disconnect is there.

Has an artist ever tried to not give him his writing credits for a song?

That’s happened before. Here’s my thing, when I write a song for an artist I want that artist to take that song and make it their [own]. If you listen to my version of “Irreplaceable” and listen to Beyonce’s version of “Irreplaceable”, its two damn totally different songs with all the harmonies and extra stuff she put in there. So yea, I gave her her writer’s credit because that counts. That’s writing. That harmony that you put right there. That little background part, I didn’t write that originally. You put that in there, so for her to take the song and make it her’s, I didn’t mind her saying ‘I wrote this song for my girls’ at a concert or whatever the case may be. Because in a way, technically, she did put her spin on it. If you gonna do it the exact same way I did it, you might as well let me keep it.

— Michael Arceneaux

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