Singer/songwriter/producer The-Dream may be known as the secret weapon behind Billboard Hot 100-topping hits like Beyonce’s “Single Ladies (Put A Ring on It)” and Rihanna’s “Umbrella,” but he also has carved a lane for himself as a lauded solo act, rewiring the soundscape of R&B as early as 2007 with hits like “Shawty Is A 10” and “I Luv Your Girl.”
Two years after leaving Def Jam Records (where he was signed as an artist, and also held the title of executive vice president) and releasing one half of his Crown Jewel album as an EP titled Crown, Billboard caught up with the crooner at the BET Hip Hop Awards red carpet on Saturday (Sept. 17) to check in on his upcoming project.
In May, The-Dream (real name Terius Nash) uploaded an Instagram video, sharing that he would continue his “The Love” series with a new project called Love Affair. “I’m finished with a new album,” he revealed. “There’s an incredible song that me and Rick Ross did on the album. I think people are going to love it.” He continued, “I may put out a new EP before that but the new album will be slated at the top of [next] year.”
When asked about the current state of R&B, The-Dream was very supportive of the new artists that have recently hit the scene, in addition to the genre-fusing sound up-and-comers are bringing to the table. “I think it’s a really important time for hip-hop, and it’s definitely a good time for R&B because of it,” he said. “I think that the new music kind of shows a distinction between the two, which is why we’ve seen the surge in R&B sales and what they mean to streaming, so it’s a good time to be here.”
The-Dream particularly praised breakout star Bryson Tiller, whose trap/soul sound has landed him co-signs from DJ Khaled to Fabolous. “I think that has a lot to do with how I came out,” Nash says, comparing his vocals to Tiller’s talents. “I wasn’t the natural R&B singer, but it was heartfelt… When you think about it, it’s rhythm and blues, it’s not the about the vocals but how you feel. I love what his message is and what he talks about.”