Has R&B ever sounded this smooth? Probably not but the combination of Shakeel and Nef The Pharaoh certainly creates something a bit special as smooth rhythms, mellow vibes and late night grooves weave together into a sound which both ambient and exciting, understated and intoxicating. It echoes with 90’s tonal qualities and 21st century production but is very much a product of the modern R&B genre, looking forward whilst fully understanding the musical traditions it is a continuation of.
It is easy to try to point at a musical connection between Shakeel and the likes of R Kelly, there is definitely a tip of the hat passing from the newcomer to the old hand but unlike the obvious sleaze that drips from Kelly’s songs, Shakeel manages to navigate similar territory but do so using tease and suggestion rather than out and out crudeness. R&B has long been a genre where you get to say things which might seem out of place in normal conversation, but the art is the language you use and where some people in the same field sound lewd and suggestive, Shakeel instead is all about the tease and the knowing wink.