Photo: UMG

Almost nine years ago now, I was listening to the radio, back when that was a thing, and I heard a song that sounded so much like a Lauryn Hill song, or one that should have been a Lauryn Hill song, that I absolutely yelled out the window, “LAURYN BACK LAURYN BACK GOT ALL THESE NWORDS SCREAMING THAT LAURYN BACK!”

Well, I was wrong as hell. Not only was Lauryn not back, the song wasn’t even by Lauryn Hill. I came to find out that song was Jazmine Sullivan’s “Holding You Down (Goin’ In Circles).” Granted, Jazmine Sullivan doesn’t sound exactly like L-Boogie, but she definitely sounded like one of her (non-biological) children. It has a Fugees-esque beat, you know, a sample-driven drum breakbeat and distinctive, impassioned singing. For the entirety of the summer of 2010 I was WAITING for Lauryn Hill to jump on a remix and take back the crown. Of course, that never happened.

Nicole Bus, “You” (2018)

The reason I shared that whole-ass long intro was because I had the EXACT same feeling when I heard Nicole Bus’ “You,” another song whose vocals were clearly inspired by Lauryn Hill. “You” is some of that new-age Mary J. Blige hip hop/R&B. The Needlz-produced track is the R&B version Wu-Tang’s “C.R.E.A.M.” (using The Charmels’ “As Long As I Got You” as the foundation, of course), but with Nicole Bus, a Netherlands-born-and-raised singer with some powerhouse pipes. The song is about her boo in all of his glory. It’s such a modern version of a throwback R&B era when singers would just crib whole ass hip-hop records and just sing over them (think Teedra Moses, “Be Your Girl”), turning them into doooope new records with new shelf lives. There are literally only good things to say about this record. It’s been stuck in my head since I first heard it. AND it bumps in the whip.

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I heard “You” driving down the highway on some satellite-radio station and immediately Shazamed. I mean, she’s shouting out ball players (i.e., Steph Curry), fictional TV characters (Ghost from Power) and ’90s movies like Love Jones. Bus does this over “C.R.E.A.M.,” sounding like a version of Lauryn Hill that had me wishing she’d hop on a remix to this song. For that, Nicole Bus is all good in my book and I look forward to her future musical offerings.

By the way, every single linked song in this article is bomb as hell. Sure this is about highlighting Nicole Bus’ “You,” but you got five for the price of one today.

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You’re welcome.