R&B is in a weird place right now.
A lot of artists want to lift the genre to new heights but Ashoka‘s new music video to his January 2020 song “whats the vibes” just hammers home my point about R&B suffering at the hands of this post-Drake era. In the song, Ashoka’s vocals sounds just like what vocals from Tory Lanez and Bryson Tiller would sound like if you put them in a metaphorical blender for your own amusement. I would rather hear Drake sing this song. It’s one of those forgettable R&B numbers that needed a video more than it needed a song.
The video’s saving grace is the hat that Ashoka dons in a number of its scenes, the hat that pays homage to George Floyd and pleads the viewers to Fight For Justice. An artist sharp enough to slip in a socially conscious piece of apparel in a song and video which largely regards the circumstances that can make or break energies between man and woman is an artist in this for the long haul, an artist with other things on his mind and an artist with enough wind under him to sail on to the next release with nary a bruise or affliction. Today would have also been George Floyd‘s 47th birthday.
I also give the artist bonus points for an alias that may or may not intentionally call back to Ashoka, also known as Ashoka the Great. This historical figure was an Indian emperor of the Maurya Dynasty, who ruled almost all of the Indian subcontinent from c. 268 to 232 BCE. The grandson of the founder of the Maurya Dynasty, Chandragupta Maurya, Ashoka promoted the spread of Buddhism across ancient Asia. For the artist Ashoka‘s next music video, he may want to play the role of the late emperor as he sings and raps about women. I’d love to see that.
Stream the song and the video below. The video is directed by Lonestar.
Follow Ashoka on Spotify.