R&B is in nostalgia mode. As the genre continues to experience a long existential crisis over where it’s going next, record companies are finding success repackaging the recent past for a murky present, by updating sounds audiences are familiar with (See Summerella’s “Do You Miss It,” Chris Brown’s “Undecided”); it’s a kind of business as usual approach, if you squint at it. This year, Roc Nation has two stars finding success on radio and the charts through this recently tested strategy for plumbing nostalgia: updating ’90s and early ’00s hip-hop samples. The first was Nicole Bus, who used Wu-Tang Clan’s “C.R.E.A.M.” and lyrics from the Charmels’ “As Long as I’ve Got You” to launch her song “You” onto the airwaves.
Angelica Vila‘s “More In The Morning” pulls from the same playbook, employing a sample of Grace Jones’s 1977 cover of “La Vie en Rose,” which was recognizably sampled on Shyne’s 2001 song “Bonnie & Shyne.” To the Bronx singer’s credit, she’s exploiting a hole in the marketplace that’s high on meandering slow jams and low on high energy R&B singers who still care about things like choreography. Sensual, bright and simple, “More In The Morning” sounds indebted to early Jennifer Lopez, and its tropical Cool & Dre-produced beat is well positioned to dominate the spring.
The song’s video has garnered over a million views in two weeks, appears on Shazam charts throughout the Tri-State area, and is finding early success on radio. Vila was discovered by Fat Joe, who made sure to position her as an heir apparent to R&B’s most recent golden age during an interview with Angie Martinez.
“I think she has the best album, the best debut album from an artist since Mary J. Blige [What’s The] 411,” Joe emphatically explained. “That’s just my opinion. As a Latina we ain’t never seen nothing like Angelica Vila. That’s just the bottom line.”