Various Artists

R&B Sessions, Vol. 3

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Following the release of the two previous R&B Sessions records, volume three in the series also offers a selection of contemporary R&B from the U.S. and U.K. Because the label claims to want to show the diversity in the 2006 definition of R&B, there is quite a bit of variety between the songs, from hip-hop (Lifesavas' "Fa' Show") to pop anthems (Blu Cantrell's "Hit 'Em Up Style") to funky soul (Soulive and Chaka Khan's "Back Again") to slow jams (D'Nell's "Lace"). There are a fair amount of big names on the record, too (though not always their biggest songs), and though the focus seems to be on music released in the past four years, the second disc in the compilation also includes some big hits from the '90s (when's the last time you've heard "No Diggity," "Pony," and "Whatta Man" on the same mix?), which actually fit pretty nicely with the rest of the album. R&B Sessions, Vol. 3 is definitely not all-encompassing in any sense of the word -- there are some important contemporary names missing (TLC, Lauryn Hill, Mary J. Blige, and Alicia Keys for example, all of whom are, or were, seminal R&B musicians), and in an attempt to show the changing face of the genre, there is a good amount of obscure and indifferent British artists included as well -- but for those interested in the past ten years of R&B, the compilation still contains a lot, and is a fun mix that brings the work from a lot of talented songwriters together.

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