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The Boy Is Mine Brandy, Monica 04:54
Full Moon Brandy 04:08
I Wanna Be Down Brandy 04:51
I Wanna Be Down (feat. Queen Latifah, Yoyo & McLyte) [Remix] Brandy feat. Queen Latifah, McLyte and Yoyo, Brandy, Queen Latifah, McLyte 04:16
Missing You Brandy, Tamia, Gladys Knight, Chaka Khan 04:13
Angel in Disguise Brandy 04:48
Best Friend Brandy 04:48
Have You Ever Brandy 04:33
Almost Doesn't Count Brandy 03:38
Baby Brandy 05:13

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In the Good Book, the number seven symbolizes completion and perfection; exoneration and healing,and oftenaccompanies the fulfillment of promises and oaths.Brandy’s seventh album is the manifestation of the singer’s hard fought journey towards liberation, healing, and the fulfillment of promises she made to herself long ago.Brandy is back, yes, but you’ve never heard her like this. “I bare it all on this album,” she says. “I really don’t hold back anything. ”B7(Brand Nu / eOne) is Brandy’s first release since 2012’s Two-Elevenand the eight year gap between projects—herlargest hiatus—is the result of the singer/actress doing serious alchemy on herself after years of personal and professional turmoilput her in a dark place. “I was feeling down and out, like I didn’tknow my worth or my valueand that is not a great place to be creativelyor in life. And I had to muster up the strength to fight for myself,” she reveals. “In moving forward I had to overcome a lot of things in my life that I had experienced andI had to rediscover who I amas a woman and who I am as an artist. ”It was a slow path towards self-discovery. Her acclaimed 2015 Broadway debut in Chicago helped the R&B legendregain her love of performing and being onstage. She rediscovered her voice, which she showcased on one-off singles like her fiery, trap-blues banger "Beggin & Pleadin"and the triumphant “Freedom Rings,” whichsaw her declaring her independence as an artist and was released last year to mark the 25thanniversary of her eponymous debut. Brandy started to feel inspired again andwas on a spiritual journey that she wanted to put on recordand her newfound independence as an artist afforded her with an opportunity she hadn’t hadin her career: Complete creative control. “Because this was such a personal project for me, I wanted to make sure the music was right and the best for me—and it took a minute,” she says. “I was trying to find my sound... and get to a place where I could express myself as honestly as I could creatively.” And she does just that on the album that she co-wrote and co-produced from top to bottom (another career first) over a three year period. B7 isa deeply confessional body of work she sayshelped her heal from the personaldemonsthat have held her back. It’s easy for some to over look Brandy’s influence now. She dominated pop music in the‘90s with her blend of hip-hop soul and contemporary R&B paired with a richly unique tone that led to genre purists hailing her as the “Vocal Bible.” We met has as a younggirl from McComb, Mississippiand raised in Carson, California with a head full of braidsand powerful gospel-raised voice. A generation of R&B fans can tell you exactly where they were the first time they heard “I Wanna Be Down” or saw her Bankhead bouncing in the middle of Times Square in her iconic “Baby” video. By the time she was 19, Brandy was arguably a peerless pop star. Her groundbreaking sophomore album Never Say Never had catapulted her to higher heights asshewas in our living rooms every week on Moesha. Brandy wasthe first black artistto be the face of CoverGirl, had a line of Barbie dolls, and was the first black woman to play Cinderella in a film—that she did all of this with micro braids down to her hipsmade her all the more inspirational for young Black womenacross the globethathad never seen this kind of Black girl magic.She continuously pushed creative boundaries on Full Moon and Afrodisiac but always found herself compared to her past commercialglories and lambasted for not matching her early successes or upholdingthe image of beinga perfect, goody two-shoesthat predicated her teenage stardomand followed her throughout her twenties. Somewhere along the way Brandy seemingly disappearedfromthe mainstream R&Bconversation asartists worked to keep up with whatever trendwas dominating the market. Even as younger generationsof R&B, rap and pop stars foundgreat inspiration in Brandy’swork and her voice, mainstream audiences didn’t gravitate towardseffortslike Human and Two-Eleven. The Brandy that shows up on B7is a woman that has reckoned with all the parts of herself that she’s suppressed and avoided, starting with the confidence that had slipped away after Two-Eleven. “When you’re faced with huge amounts of pressure and expectations, it can be tough to live up to,” the 41-year-oldreflects. “I’ve overcome so much ... And I honestly left my entire soul on this project. I feel like an elephant has lifted from my spirit.” “Saving All My Love” sets the tone for B7. Over a lush, midtempo grooveshe addresses her lengthy hiatus and details the journey towards self-love and healing that providesthe frameworkof the album. “Sorry for my tardy / Long time I was broken-hearted ... and guarded / A target goddamn, can we let me live,” Brandysings on the record that isalso a nodtoher hero, the late Whitney Houston. “When it comes to love, and my experience, I haven’t experienced love at its best yet in my life, except for when I started to truly love myself,” she reveals. “When I realized I am the one for myself and I’m not looking for love within someone else to complete me or make me whole, that’s when I started to overcome a lot of the demons in my own life—the things I’m not proud of that I have doneor how I’ve handled things. I didn’t have the love I needed for myself. It sounds cliché, but it's a real thing. I’ve taken the time to really be by myself and go into a God solitude with myself and confess and repent and keep it allthe wayreal with myselfso that I can move past the things that I have experienced and become a better version of me for me and my daughter.” “Every day, I work on being a strong individual—not a perfect individual, a strong one. I work on my mental stability and well-being every day,” she says, her voice breaking with emotion. “At times it can be a struggle, but I’m here and I’m doing the work. When you do the work you feel encouraged and empoweredthat you can keep going.” Brandy went back to basics for B7, assembling a small core team she would write and produce the entirety of the project with,anchored by DJCamper (H.E.R., Tamar Braxton) and the late LaShawn Daniels, who helped pen some of her biggest hits including “TheBoy Is Mine” and “What About Us” and passed away unexpectedly last year. Working with writers and producers that studied what she’d done in the past and could push her gave Brandy the confidence to completely shed herself. “When I teamed up with DJ Camper, it seemed like the perfect fit. His tracks were so different, but still connected to me in a way where it didn’t feel so different from what I’ve done. It was almost like a continuation. When I would hear his music it was like, ‘This is what Never Say Never would sound like in the future,’” shesays. Brandy’s magic has always been her voice. The way shemanipulates her tone, thosehoneyed riffsthat seemingly go on for daysand the way she stacks her harmonies have long been her hallmarkand the reason why so many of us worshipher voice. B7 marries the silky, smooth vibe she established on Never Say Never with the groundbreaking experimentation of Full Moon, albums that arerevered asR&B blueprints for their use of multi-layered harmonies, unconventional song structures and forward-thinkingelectro-soul beats. The 15-track confessionalexploresBrandy’s journey over the last few years, and how she came to be the resilient, spiritually grounded women she is today. She fantasizes about the simple pleasuresof a kiss on the languid “Rather Be,” teams with her daughter Sy’rai on the empowering, high energy ladies anthem “High Heels,” questions a lover’s integrity on “Say Something” and powerfully confronts her struggles with her mental health on the metaphorical “Bye BiPolar.”The album also includes “Love Again,” her sultry duet with Daniel Caesar that has been a mainstay on R&B radio and scored the pair a Grammy nomination. “This project was a way for me to heal myself. It felt like being able to be as honest as I could. I was able to release a lot of agony and pain that I was feeling,” Brandy says. “It felt like I was coming clean. Not to anyone in particular, to me. I needed my music to be medicine for me. And I felt like if I can'ttell my story, then what am I doing this for? If I can’t heal myself the way I hope to heal others in music, then why am I doing it? What’s the point? It was healing to be as vulnerable as possible and it just makes me so proud that every song on this album is honest, and real.” Brandy is still discovering new textures to her voice, which will stun even her most ardent followerswhen they hear the new records,all of which were built around the complex melodies and harmonies she was coming up with in the studio. She points to a conversation with LaShawn Daniels while recording the heady love ode “Unconditional Oceans”(which she produced with produced by DJ Camper and Alonzo “Lonnie” Smalls II)as a turning point. “LaShawn was able to break me all the way down. There was point where I didn’t think I was getting the song and he said, ‘You have to remember your toneand the way you sound when you’re singing, it’s not about the harmonies or the range. It’s about your tone.’It was moving because I never really got that until he said it,” she says. “I’ve never been the main writer on my projects, and I’ve never done songs from my own melody. And I was super moved, and inspired by the fact that I was basicallypenning a lot of the things that I was singing and it flowed like water. In that I found my sound: These melodies and lyrics that were coming from my own heart. It felt like the songs were writing themselves but it took me awhile to trust that it was it.” Another breakthrough was recording the album’s second single “Borderline.” Overahypotonic, downtempo groove produced with DJ Camper and LaShawn Daniels, sheinterrogates her relationship with love with searing honesty. It’s a darker, edgier flip on the traditional Brandy ballad andas revelatory as the song is, it’s her chilling vocal delivery that makes the song the centerpiece of the album. “When I first heard the beat, it put me into a mood. I felt like the music told this amazing story,” she says of the record. “The melody was so me, but new. It was something I had never heard me do but it reminded me of a lot of the ballads I had donein the past. It touched me in such a wayand it isone of my most favorite songs I’ve ever done.” She admits doubt got to her along the way. Betweenthe pressure to deliver—especially considering how long she’s been gone from music—and doubting herself as a writer and producer she recorded a wealth of songs that she scrapped because they didn’t feel like her. Remembering the way she felt when listening tocertain songs or the way others felt when she played them helped Brandytrust her intuition. The result led to hermost cohesive album since Afrodisiac. But B7 is more than that, it’s a body of work that sees a woman finally at peace with herself. “I’ve been able to hear all of my music back and live with it and I feel complete,” she says. “Theseare the songs that saved me. I'm no longer trapped in my story, or my own agony. All of the experiences I sing about on this album, are no longer a part of me in the way they once were. I feellike I went through all of the things I went through to sing thesongs that are on this album. And I feel complete. Now that that’s done, I can get to higher purposes in my life.” --Gerrick Kennedy