ALBUM: The Dream – SXTP4 (Sextape 4)

DOWNLOAD ALBUM The Dream SXTP4 (Sextape 4)

DOWNLOAD ALBUM The Dream SXTP4 (Sextape 4)

The-Dream has one of modern music’s most recognisable sonic imprints. His reimagining of R&B was silvery and ethereal yet pop-forward and in the language of hip-hop: When he sings about love—or, more often, sex—he doesn’t mince words or cater to prudish sensibilities. From his 2007 debut album Lovehate to SXTP4, he’s been able to evolve with the rapidly changing trends while maintaining a singular signature—a quality which he attributes to never allowing himself to get boxed in. “I’m probably closer to the idea of what musicians were, say, in the ’60s and ’70s or even beyond that, where it wasn’t a genre cast to you, like, ‘This is your genre, this is what you do,’” he tells Apple Music. “I feel like I don’t have that thing over me. Even when people say ‘King of R&B’, it kind of feels weird, because I do so many things. Whether it’s going from Pusha T back over to something that I’ve written for Céline Dion to something I’m singing on myself—to me it’s just music without any bounds.”

SXTP4 both returns The-Dream to his roots and advances the sounds and approach to writing that made him such a draw in the first place. The follow-up to his 2018 triple release Ménage à Trois: Sextape Vol. 1, 2, 3, this project breaks down our carnal impulses to their most raw and chaotic forms. To hear The-Dream sing about sex is to hear the myriad ways people feel about and engage with each other in and outside the bedroom. There’s sensuality, domination, home-wrecking and regret, all set off by a production style which takes as many cues from the funk-pop of the ’80s and gospel-infused R&B of the ’90s as it does from the rap-dominated present. “It’s about the banter between two people and the things that come up. Even though you might be making love to your girl or your guy, there are things that come up even before those intimate moments, and how you feel about an intimate moment can change,” he says. “All of those little nuances—on the surface, it’s like, ‘Oh, cool, they’re f**king, great,’ but I try to always inject some type of sophistication into it. A relationship is built on so many levels, and through the days or years, you can experience a person differently. This fourth is more locked in to The-Dream mechanism of those tricky things and those eloquent moments.” Here’s a guide to some of the key tracks from the project from Terius Nash himself.

Wee Hours
“I’ve talked to [Jhené Aiko] a lot lately. When I listen to her, I’m like, ‘Oh yeah, that’s me.’ I need the rawness of what it is. I don’t need you bulls**ttin’ around, and it rarely ever happens like that. The only other person that’s straightforward like that—more so probably on a personal level—is Rih[anna], like she’s about what she’s about. And that’s how I feel about Jhené. So when I was listening to this song, there was a demo on it at first, and it was just sitting there. I was like, ‘You know what? I can use this song,’ for one. Two, who in the hell could say, ‘Hair ties and scrunchies on me,’ and make it believable? Of course, Jhené. Some artists have it, and some artists want to have it but then don’t want to at the same time. I just think she fully embraces who she is, and that goes well beyond the idea of just talent. Those are the type of parents I grew up with, so I’m attracted to that type of thing when it comes to talent and how people get their art out into the world.”

Hard 4 Me
“It’s so pre-production, and I kept it like that on purpose. You know I could flesh out a record if it needs to be fleshed out. This one doesn’t need to be fleshed out. I just fleshed out four records back-to-back. Here’s one that’s simplified from a production standpoint—just straight to the point.”

“With ‘Notice’, number one, I didn’t want to kill your ears and give you like four minutes of a thing, so that’s kind of why I had the interluding type of thing. Sometimes interludes can be good in the feeling that it didn’t last long enough, so let me play the s**t back—especially when it has a transition from another song into it. So I wanted to make sure that ‘Notice’ and ‘Spiritual’ didn’t have those long, lagging, like, ‘Okay, all right, let’s end it.’ It feels sweet right where it is. I’ve been taking care of myself since 18, so I’ve been out here with women that were older, and they wasn’t about that bulls**t. They were like, ‘Yo, get your s**t together,’ and from there, you got your s**t together. There’s no playing around or sleeping on somebody’s sofa. So that’s what ‘Notice’ is about—it’s an ode to women that’s not playing no games.”

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“[‘Hard 4 Me’, ‘Notice’ and ‘Spiritual’] all ran together, that’s how I sang them. And then of course I had to just sonically make sure that everything made sense and I wasn’t trying too hard. In these three songs, this place is what we have to find. Like we have to, of course, love hard. We have to do that part, period. That’s the hook. Now, how do I make this person my only person? And then that’s where ‘Notice’ comes in. Then ‘Spiritual’ becomes a combining of two people that are looking for the same exact thing, that are on the same page. And not this idea of the cookie-cutter American type of love—where this is how this person is and you fit together, then you’re going to live happily ever after. No, there’s a bunch of individuality in love, and that part is never taught, especially when it comes to men. There was no person waiting to greet me to talk to me about my body when I was a certain age. And I think of all of those things, as we try to downplay the spiritual aspect of a man. It’s there; you probably can’t see it, but just because you can’t see it doesn’t mean it’s not true—which is of course what spirituality is actually about. And so the song is merely about something that two people can’t see, but let’s work towards it and make it true amongst both of us.”

Say Something
“This is a conversation happening between me and somebody else, and it’s literally a real conversation that happened, and I decided to write it verbatim. We’re in a place now where I can’t even think of the idea of handling a woman in any type of way other than how she would want to be, but this is not the time for anybody else to even guess that. I’m a pretty good communicator based on my job, so it’s different for me versus even just friends of mine to say the things they’re trying to say. They come off either corny or aggressive. The idea of ‘Say Something’—the undertone of the whole s**t is ‘I’m not making no move and none of my n*ggas are making a move either.’ And that’s a hard place to be in, because you want to be courted, but you can’t be.”

Take Care
“It’s kind of what I was just talking about: ‘When the last time you let somebody take care of you?’ And it’s crazy now, in this time, because my wife has a lot of friends who are like, ‘Man, what the f**k? I’m probably going to lose my job and s**t. There’s probably no jobs. I didn’t work on this part of my life.’ People just take for granted the idea of companionship. It may not be the same way it was in the beginning, but it goes into almost like a self-piloting mode, but you—from the outside—are overlooking the idea that person has a companion, regardless. If all the lights go out tonight, if there’s a storm, if a tornado comes and knocks the house down, you have a companion. There’s somebody to die beside. And nobody understands what it means to have somebody hold your hand when you’re going into the next life or even having that chance to have that person. And so the stuff that’s become so minute and small, we chase. We get on the hamster wheel and just run around, run around—I’ve got to do this, I’ve got to do that, I’ve got to make this amount of money. But it does matter when s**t happens, and s**t can happen. In an R&B way, that’s the element of [‘Take Care’], but putting that much and how I just said it into an R&B song would probably have me without a job.”

“Most of the time, I give you where I am right now, and that was just like a timestamp. I’ve got Coltrane playing in the house. Like, it’s just playing. Man, this is how I’m feeling—how I want to feel right now and for a while. I don’t want to feel too fast, I don’t want to feel too slow, I just want to feel like Coltrane. I don’t want to overdrink, I want to drink just enough. I don’t want to oversmoke, I want to smoke just enough. That’s what that is. I’m sure there’s definitely certain parts of it that’s incorrect. The idea of it, though, based on people who do that, understand it. And that was my point.”

Sex Tape 4 Track list:

  1.  Passion
  2. Nothing Will Feel the Same
  3. Sang
  4. Wee Hours (feat. Jhené Aiko)
  5. Hard 4 Me
  6. Notice
  7. Spiritual
  8. Ecstasy
  9. Body Work
  10. Fuck My Brains Out
  11. Say Something
  12. Take Care
  13. Coltrane

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