Top Dawg Entertainment singer and songwriter, SiR, is easily among the best R&B/Soul artist’s to emerge over the last half decade. His evolution from a little known songwriter and engineer that worked with everyone from Stevie Wonder to Jill Scott, Ginuwine and Tyrese, to now being one of the top R&B/Soul artist’s in music is quite undeniable. But as good and undeniable a masterpiece as his second album, November, was, his newest album and major label debut with Top Dawg Entertainment/RCA Records, Chasing Summer, is even better. A truly soulfully smooth masterpiece album that really moves him up in to the very upper echelon of today’s music scene that’s on the verge of breaking mainstream, but still having such creative freedom to push boundaries in the ever-growing contemporary R&B genre that still has hints of Neo-soul roots in it as well.
SiR manages to blend silky smooth sounding instrumentation and production with great and engaging songwriting, amazingly masterful silky smooth vocals and great guest features throughout 14 tracks that make you feel as if you’re in Summer, no matter the season. As the TDE crooner just like his last album, November, sings about everything from falling in and out of love, and its many roller-coaster of emotions it brings. To always seeming to be in the wrong place at the very wrong time with the right person. Which he really hits home with on one of the albums most ambiguous written and standout tracks, John Redcorn. That truly has SiR bringing his emotional all out over the very bluesy Kal Banx and Jeff “Gitty” Gitelman production that blends so well with his beautifully amazing vocals. As he sings such lonely and guiltful induced lyrics as, “Alone, every night alone. Why am I alone when I know that you want me too? Am I wrong? Tell me that I’m wrong. Tell me that I deserve all the pain you put me through.” That’s also the perfect followup to lead single and opening track, Hair Down. A very smooth and beautiful record that so beautifully shows off SiR’s amazingly smooth vocals over the thumping drums and bass of the stellar production. With his TDE labelmate, Kendrick Lamar adding the perfect complimentary guest verse.
One of the biggest strengths of the album that really makes it so great too. Is how smoothly and seamless each track from LA Lisa to the very fire and appropriately titled, Fire to New Sky, the Lil Wayne assisted Lucy’s Love and everything else in between so seamlessly blend so well with one another. With the Smino assisted, LA Lisa, being one of the most peak writing moments of the whole album. As SiR sings and Smino rap/sings about the danger and excitement of chasing after a love interest on the very smooth R&B ballad. That’s not only very smooth, but also has a slowed down dynamic funk from the D.K. the Punisher and Bradford Tidwell production that would make George Clinton, the late great Prince and any other Soulquirian-funk master proud. While arguably the most soulfully smooth track on the album, the Soul Sirplus and Tae Beast-produced, New Sky, is about the struggles one goes through getting past and accepting a breakup to welcome a, “New Sky.” As SiR and singer, Kadhja Bonet suggest on part of the chorus. It’s also in a way a followup to arguably the best track on the album in the SHROOM and Kal Banx-produced, You Can’t Save Me. A very smooth record that has one of SiR’s best and most emotional vocal performances of the whole album. As he sings so beautifully about his love for someone he is really in love with like a significant other, but he can’t have.
Moving to the second half of the album, it only seems to get better too. Whether it be on the very sensually smooth and sultry lust-filled collaboration with fellow talented upcoming singer and songwriter, Sabrina Claudio, That’s Why I Love You, or the very deliberate and slowly amazing instrumentation of the Boi-1da and Nick Brongers-produced banger, Touch Down. The very sensual lust-filled lyrics about a sexual relationship that both parties privately ponder the possibilities of beyond that, but don’t go any further than that. Really truly brought to life with SiR and Claudio’s very lovingly passionate silky smooth vocals that shows the undeniable great chemistry the two have on the LordQuest-produced ballad. Which one can argue if not the very best track on the album, is one of the top two or three, as well as by far one of the most standout records. While, Touch Down, is such a masterpiece that finds SiR using the most unique usage of his truly great and God-given vocal ability. Which is why it’s almost quite appropriate part of the post chorus is, “I’ma get you open, one day at a time. Put that on God, man, I put that on God.”
The very silky smooth production and instrumentation is yet another very strong point of the album too. Which is probably most felt on the short, yet amazing The Antydote and Carter Long-produced, Wires in the Sky. In which SiR sings about a love of his ending their relationship before it really began, but he himself would be fine with starting a new again and getting serious with her if she were to hit him up again. Another example of that type of production is on the very inspiringly smooth and great Sounwave and J.LBS-produced, Still Blue. A very beautifully soulful amazing bridging-the-gap record of sorts featuring Jill Scott that shows how great and amazing Scott still is. As one of the most soulfully angelic voices ever.
Elsewhere the radio slick pop-sensibility of the Kelvin Wooten and Kal Banx-produced, Mood. That features his TDE labelmate Zacari, is one of those vintage slick pop with hard drums produced records that couldn’t have a more fitting title for such a smooth summer nights type vibe. While the very smooth and sax backed D.K. the Punisher, Amaire Johnson, Kelvin Wooten and Kal Banx-produced, The Recipe, as well as the Kiefer, Tony Russell, Rob “Freaky Rob” Gueringer-produced, LA, really show how sharp SiR’s pen game is. Not to mention show how beautiful his church grown vocal pipes can be when he uses them. Which he likely got from his mother, brothers, and cousin being Gospel singers where he grew up in Inglewood. The last two records being two of the most beautifully smooth and amazing you will ever hear to so perfectly close out such a soulfully timeless masterpiece album. That’s by far not only his best work to date, but one of the best albums of 2019 and one of the most definitive albums of the last half decade.