The RX is Uproxx Music’s stamp of approval for the best albums, songs, and music stories throughout the year. Inclusion in this category is the highest distinction we can bestow, and signals the most important music being released throughout the year. The RX is the music you need, right now.
It’s 2017, and R&B may as well be a subgenre of hip-hop. Rappers are singing, singers are rapping, DJ Mustard is putting his signature vocal tag on romantic ballads, the walls between the two continue to crumble. While singers like Ty Dolla Sign, Jeremih, and Chris Brown and rappers like 6lack, Bryson Tiller, Drake, and Quavo increasingly moonwalk the line between what were once distinct musical genres, vocal technicians like Gallant, John Legend, Tank, Daniel Caesar, PJ Morton, Leon Bridges, and Luke James are increasingly shifted to the margins, relegated to Adult Contemporary or — in the best case scenario, as with Legend — pop categories.
Fortunately, October’s Very Own signees DVSN are here to make the case that melodic, romantic R&B can stand on its own merits musically and commercially — no guest rap verse needed.
DVSN first appeared in late 2015 with little fanfare, no music videos, and almost zero press. No one even initially knew if DVSN was the name of a solo performer or a group. Little by little, the details came out: The mellifluous voice heard on tracks like “Too Deep” and “The Line” belonged to Toronto singer Daniel Daley, the bass-heavy but velvety backdrops were designed by Nineteen85 (also known as Anthony Jeffries, producer of absurdly successful Drake singles, “One Dance,” “Hotline Bling,” and “Hold On, We’re Going Home”), and their Sept. 5th project, where sample-heavy, satin sheet-soakers “With Me,” “Do It Well,” and “Hallucinations” lived, was executive-produced by Drake’s right-hand man, Noah “40” Shebib.
Sept. 5th, was widely hailed as a critical success, ending 2016 on a number of “Best Of” lists, but it seemed to fly under the radar as far as mainstream coverage and radio play. Their only song to hit Billboard‘s coveted Hot 100 chart was “Faithful,” a Drake song taken from his mostly-panned Views. And while their new album, The Morning After, delivers more of the trunk-rattling, window-fogging, mirror-gazing soul of its predecessor, it is a different beast entirely, and stands poised to bring Daley and Jeffries into the spotlight they deserve.