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R&B singer-songwriter Ro James brings his liquid flow to the fore on Eldorado



Before releasing his 2016 debut studio album, Eldorado (ByStorm Entertainment/RCA), singer-songwriter Ronnie James linked up with a musician he met through MySpace to cowrite one of the best R&B tracks of the decade. It’s not easy to pinpoint exactly what James gave his friend Miguel for “Use Me,” but the slithering metallic bump of that track from the latter’s second album, Kaleidoscope Dream, courses through Eldorado. James approaches his role as an R&B singer like he’s the T-1000 from Terminator 2: his sumptuous performances have a liquid flow, he appears approachably human but can turn superhuman at the drop of a hat, and he’s deadly accurate. On his hit single “Permission,” James samples the lilting guitar melody from Willie Hutch’s “Brother’s Gonna Work It Out,” which has become a familiar presence in hip-hop through recent appearances in Chance the Rapper’s “Lost,” Chief Keef’s “Nobody,” and ASAP Mob’s “Put That on My Set.” But only James matches Hutch’s tender touch when he busts out a gilded falsetto.   v

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