RSVP — the R&B group comprised of Ray J, Sammie, Bobby Valentino and Pleasure P — might be the most fun supergroup of all time
OPINION: I don’t know about you, but I couldn’t be more excited about this unpredictable collection of folks who decided to be an R&B group.
Editor’s note: The following article is an op-ed, and the views expressed are the author’s own. Read more opinions on theGrio.
If you had asked me during the June 2022 Verzuz between Mario and Omarion if the absolute travashamockery that was the pre-show would spawn an R&B “supergroup,” I’d have laughed you out in the most sincere of fashion. In fact, when it was announced that Ray J and Bobby Valentino would sing-a-long spar against Sammie and Pleasure P, I was truly confused as to why THAT was even a thing.
What is funny, though, is that the most interesting thing to come out of that Verzuz now is the formation of an R&B group, brilliantly titled RSVP (how has that NOT been a thing already?) using some part of the letters of each member’s name. And just like Ray J tried to do when suggesting that the non-Omarion members of B2K should align with him and tour as Ray2K, he finally got his name first on the marquee. I could not be more excited for the potential. There is so much foolishness and shenanigans available. The group’s first single, “Money Everywhere” is proof-positive of this fact. For starters, the song isn’t great, but it’s fun. It’s a song about making love, except in this version, the fellas will turn the bedroom into a strip club; money will be thrown everywhere.
I can’t pretend to be supremely familiar with how Sammie gets down. And for the most part, Bobby Valentino seems pretty easygoing and about his business. But Ray J and Pleasure P? Ray J alone makes the entire project worth listening to, and I don’t think that’s a stretch. Vocally, Ray J is the least talented of the entire group. In fact, I’d wager you could easily say he’s the only one who can’t actually sing very well. And yet…
…and yet Ray J is the party. You pay attention because you literally have no clue what can happen when Ray J shows up. Shoot, I’m wondering why there isn’t a reality show tied to this group. Can you imagine how ridiculous the studio sessions would be trying to create this album with Ray J showing up late, singing terribly and then promoting his products while Pleasure P and Sammie try to write songs for an album? And I’m assuming an album is coming. I actually have no clue what the plans are here short of just four dudes who have various levels of fame and accolades deciding, why not?
With that said, I do have a suggestion or two for them. For instance, while I enjoy the first single for what it is, it is wholly unremarkable short of who is involved. The verses are pretty unremarkable though I do enjoy the singing, again, for what it is. But you know who I thought of immediately after listening to the song? Jagged Edge. More specifically, Bryan and Brandon Casey. I feel like those two songwriting brothers could put together quite a project for these gentlemen. “Money Everywhere” sounds like the first draft of what could have become an amazing record on Jagged Edge’s last album, “A Jagged Love Story.” I don’t know who makes calls here, but somebody needs to call the Casey brothers immediately.
Similarly, I kind of view Ray J as the Eazy E of the group. While he is the least talented musically (and I say that with all due respect to the fact that I’m both a Ray J superfan and I believe “One Wish” is one of the greatest songs ever), he is the show. Ray J should be made front and center in as many ways as possible. And the more ridiculous they make him, the better. Let Ray J just go ham with some vocal coaching but give him verses that all sound like levels of fun from songs like “Gifts” and “Sexy Can I.” Also, I have no idea who gets to be Dr. Dre or Ice Cube in RSVP, but I really believe in this Eazy E analogy I just came up with. I’m now happy.
Look, I have no idea what is going to come of RSVP, and, shucks, they might not either. This could just be something they’re doing to have fun, and if something comes of it then great. Lord knows, Ray J doesn’t need it, and I’m assuming Pleasure P is out here continuing to write songs with and for other artists. Point is, this first single might be as far as this train goes. As an example, a few years ago the new version of Dru Hill featuring Sisqó and former members of the group Playa, Smoke and Black, released a single titled “What You Need” and well, we haven’t heard hide nor hair of them since, though Dru Hill has continued to tour with, like, seven members singing old songs. Maybe you can live in the past forever just fine.
Point is, I don’t know where this is going, but you can count me as being along for the ride because this group feels fun. The social media posts and potential television opportunities scream Black joy. And I’m here for it. There is, after all, money everywhere.
I’ll see myself out.
Panama Jackson is a columnist at theGrio. He writes very Black things and drinks very brown liquors, and is pretty fly for a light guy. His biggest accomplishment to date coincides with his Blackest accomplishment to date in that he received a phone call from Oprah Winfrey after she read one of his pieces (biggest), but he didn’t answer the phone because the caller ID said “Unknown” (Blackest).
Make sure you check out the Dear Culture podcast every Thursday on theGrio’s Black Podcast Network, where I’ll be hosting some of the Blackest conversations known to humankind. You might not leave the convo with an afro, but you’ll definitely be looking for your Afro Sheen! Listen to Dear Culture on TheGrio’s app; download it here.