released June 29th, 2010

from the album - Love King

from all music

R&B singer/songwriter and producer Terius Youngdell Nash, better known as the-Dream, was born in Rockingham, NC, but moved down to Atlanta, GA, with his mother at the age of three. He first learned to play trumpet in elementary school, later picking up the drums and guitar. Nash's singing career got off to a slow start once he graduated from high school, but he found success in selling song lyrics after he met R&B producer Laney Stewart in 2001. Stewart helped the-Dream land his first publishing contract in 2003 in light of his penning "Everything" for B2K's platinum 2002 album Pandemonium! Paired with producer Chris "Tricky" Stewart (Laney's brother), he continued to write songs for various artists over the next four years, such as the Britney Spears/Madonna duet "Me Against the Music." His watershed moment came when he and Tricky created Rihanna's 2007 international smash hit "Umbrella."

Several labels began approaching him so he could churn out more hits for their artists, particularly Def Jam, Rihanna's label, which was reluctant to sign the singer/songwriter at first. Def Jam finally stopped dancing around the issue of signing the-Dream after he sold number one R&B single "Bed" to Capitol Records newcomer J. Holiday. In fall 2007, the-Dream released his first single, "Shawty Is da Sh*!" (known on radio as "Shawty Is a 10"), on Def Jam, following up with his solo debut album, Love/Hate, at the end of the year. The album peaked at number five on the R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart, while its three singles -- including "Shawty" -- reached the Top Five of the R&B/Hip-Hop Singles chart. A second album, Love vs Money, followed in March 2009; though it did top the R&B chart and narrowly missed the top spot of the Billboard 200, only one song -- "Rockin' That Thang" -- received significant airplay. The-Dream declared that Love King would be his final solo album, but he retracted the statement prior to the disc's June 2010 release. Even while recording his own material, he managed to dish out songs for a wide range of popular artists, including Mary J. Blige ("Just Fine"), Mariah Carey ("Touch My Body"), Beyoncé ("Single Ladies [Put a Ring on It]"), Electrik Red (the entirety of How to Be a Lady, Vol. 1), Justin Bieber ("Baby"), onetime wife Nivea (whom he divorced in 2007), and Christina Milian (whom he married in 2009).

album review

Terius Nash, Carlos McKinney, and Christopher Stewart had long seized possession of the belt -- the belt for the electronic pop-R&B division, once held by innovators Leon Sylvers III, Kashif and Morrie Brown, Prince, Jam & Lewis, Teddy Riley, Timbaland and Missy Elliott, and the Neptunes -- when details of Love King materialized. Perhaps the conquest is one reason why Nash, aka the-Dream, declared that this, his third album, would be his last. As a solo artist, he had nothing left to prove. Love King, however, shows that he has plenty left to give. That goes for running his mouth, wearing out every contemporary R&B lyrical cliché, and coming off like a classless, materialistic, womanizing jerk. Once again, his way with a melody, an outrageous line, and an exquisitely adroit rhythm, all components in his immense crazy-quilt song cycle -- full of recurring lyrical themes and sonic flourishes -- transcend the flaws. Though this is the least collaborative Dream album, with McKinney and Stewart absent on six of the dozen songs, its layer upon layer of synthetic opulence and greater range of lushly detailed arrangements sometimes make the first two sound spindly and small-scoped in comparison. The drawback is that snappy singles aren’t as common, but the album is an absolute embarrassment of riches for those in love with the indulgent artist side of the-Dream. That’s not to say that those who prefer the hitmaking side are shut out. “Make Up Bag,” all boom and snap filled with swirling fluff, gives the object a second meaning with a hook worthy of a double dutch chant: “If you ever make your girlfriend mad, don’t let your good girl go bad/Drop five stacks on the makeup bag.” “Yamaha,” roaring and ecstatic, is an upgrade of “Fast Car” and his most energizing song to date. At the other end, or the bottom, is “Abyss,” an elegiac mini-epic several shades darker than anything off Love vs Money: “Bitch, I could give a damn how harsh this may seem/But I’m here to put your heart in its place/Chained up at the bottom of the lake.” “Turnt Out,” set on the slow-spin cycle, is one of many songs in which Nash broadens his range as a singer. He has sung in falsetto before, but never with such softness; it’s a charmingly imperfect guide vocal for one of his female collaborators. Evidently aware that it’s too soon to confine himself to writing and producing for others, he doesn’t wait more than 15 minutes into the album to boast “Who the fuck’s gonna replace me?” and “Six-seven-20-11, I’m-a drop that Love Affair.”

Track Listing

1 Love King 4:11
2 Make Up Bag 4:43
3 F.I.L.A. 4:11
4 Sex Intelligent 5:10
5 Sex Intelligent 4:02
6 Yamaha 4:55
7 Nikki, Pt. 2 2:41
8 Abyss 4:38
9 Panties to the Side Stewart 4:06
10 Turnt Out 4:25
11 February Love 6:15
12 Florida University 5:27