Top Dawg Entertainment is best known as a rap label, but between SZA’s 2017 and the 2018 SiR’s newest effort promises, the Los Angeles-based imprint just might corner the market on R&B as well.
November — ironically released in the middle of January — is the perfect cold weather album to get listeners through the snowy season (or the rainy one, if like SiR you hail from the more-temperate climes of Southern California). Featuring soothing, soulful grooves and heart-stopping harmonies, SiR has crafted the rare classic R&B long-player that still harnesses the freshness and harder edge of his TDE contemporaries.
It doesn’t hurt that Kendrick Lamar, Isaiah Rashad, and Schoolboy Q (who appears on “Something Foreign”) regularly use more downtempo backdrops than many of their rap peers, leaning into menacing funk grooves more heavily than the preferred 808-laden trap favored by many of the day’s top rappers. SiR utilizes that TDE aesthetic to maximum effect on tracks like “I Know,” where he taunts a romantic rival in much the same way K. Dot would bait a hip-hop challenger. “I know who your baby momma really is,” SiR jibes, sounding every bit as cocky as his more rap-centric coworkers.
Yet, that doesn’t stop him from being able to deliver a candlelit bedroom anthem with Etta Bond on “Something New” or lamenting lost love and collapsing relationships on “Never” or selling romantic come-ons on “Dreaming Of Me.” November may embrace the cuffing season vibes implied in its frigid title, but the warmth of its more passionate songs will keep it in rotation long after the weather has thawed.