To tide over his fans until the release of his next project, tentatively titled Rtv, RL of the R&B group recently released a four-song EP entitled The Letter J. The E.P. pays homage to the eighties and nineties sound I grew up on. RL opens up The Letter J E.P. with “Whatever You Need.” The singer puts a modern-day spin on Jodeci’s “My Heart Belongs to U.” The song also has a brilliant homage to the late great Roger Troutman.
For the next track, “Get 2 U,” RL flips Janet Jackson’s “Funny How Time Files” into a sentimental ballad about a long-distance relationship. I like about the song in the age of COVID; many fellas can relate to what RL is crooning about as relationships have changed as we know it.
The vastly underrated Jon B. is given his flowers on “I Do.” RL puts a smooth spin on the blue-eyed soul singer’s 1997 smash “I Do (Watcha Say Boo).” For his version, RL turns into a modern-day “clean up man” song. The interpolation that RL uses is catchy, and this was my favorite song on the E.P.
To close out the E.P., RL returns to the Jodeci catalog and incorporates elements of the group’s breakout hit “Stay” for his song “When Did Love.” The creative genius in the music and R.L.’s pen game comes into play. He flips the song from the man doing into a confessional where both parties are in the wrong.
It wasn’t until I finished listening to the E.P. that I noticed all of the artists RL sampled start with the letter J. I wouldn’t mind if the singer made this ongoing series and focused on other letters in the alphabet and paid homage to other legendary singers.
With pristine vocals, no guest rappers, and, more importantly, autotune free, The Letter J is worth the stream.
Final Grade B+
The Letter J is available to stream at https://soundcloud.com/justrl