The worlds of hip-hop and R&B have been intrinsically linked for as long as the genres have existed; they seem to represent two perspectives on many of the same ideas. Whereas hip-hop can be seen as the bleaker and often-acidic aesthetic (party rap not withstanding), R&B tends to house more narratives concerning love, lust and jealousy. And in the case of Chattanooga musician Teddy Bando, this sense of wanton affection is what drives his groove-addled rhythms to their well-earned conclusion. Marked by dramatic stories of affecting relationships and the ensuing emotional roar that often accompanies them, his work is built on the adaptation of free-form melodies and serpentine arrangements that highlight his ability to evoke great musical landscapes from familiar sounds.
For the video to “C.R.E.A.M.,” he teams up with AD Dinero to create a series of images that reveal the necessity of love. The song is a general ode to that certain special someone, full of both subtle and overt sexuality and emotional context. This kind of blatant romanticism can often seem woefully unbalanced when juxtaposed against the contours of modern R&B, but Bando keeps his thoughts precise and free of sentimentality, giving the track room to breathe and continually shift on its rhythmic axis. But it’s the inherent earnestness and authentic look at the kind of everyday love we so often take for granted that really position him as one of the leading purveyors of this elastic sound.
The song is filled with sultry movements and musical physicality. The rhythms speed up and slow down at regular intervals, creating a pattern of tension and release that plays to the loving nature of his words. Phased vocals and clacking beats provide the foundation on which he constructs his paean to the essence of affection. The melodies are molded around his mercurial voice but never strain against his intentions. With the addition of a subdued female vocal counterpoint at specific moments, the track becomes less a one-sided discussion and more a conversation about sustaining an active relationship. With such a precise vision of his own influences and aspirations, it’s no wonder that his music feels so distinct and fully realized.
Joshua Pickard covers local and national music, film and other aspects of pop culture. You can contact him on Facebook, Twitter or by email. The opinions expressed in this column belong solely to the author, not Nooga.com or its employees.