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RHYTHM AND FLOW Finale: Samples, Collaborations, and Winner

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The final three episodes of Rhythm + Flow are highly emotional, energy-packed, and seriously impressive how creative and passionate these individual artists prove to be when it comes to their music. This competition truly challenges the contestants to push the envelope every single day of the competition to see how amazing they can really be. When it comes down to it, all of the final contestants have the potential to be superstars, but there can only be one winner of the Rhythm + Flow competition!

SAMPLES

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The new episodes pick back up at the cliff-hanger from the previous music video challenge, from which they sent Ali Tomineek home. The final five contestants (Sam Be Yourself, Londynn B, Caleb Colossus, D Smoke, and Troyman) are immediately given their new challenge to choose a famous sample and write a new banger from it. DJ Khalid welcomes them into his home studio to give them advice on choosing their samples and the high expectation of writing new “hit” tracks with them. They’ll need to write lyrics, lay down vocals, and produce a new song true to them while still holding the original flavor.

  • Troyman and Denaro Love went in on “Darkest Light” by Lafayette, previously recorded by Jay-Z, Teddy Riley, and Ice Cube. Troyman’s new track had a suave sax line and trap snare all throughout. He amped up the crowd during his live performance with a call-and-response, “Fuck em’ all; where’s my money?” in true Troyman fashion. This energy and the beautiful angel sculptures on stage really impressed the judges. 
  • Caleb Colossus and Off-the-Wall worked on “A Little Bit of Love” by Brendan Russle to create a fresh new tune. Ariana Grande and Mac Miller previously recorded with this sample, so that may have had a little too much influence on Caleb’s new track. The judges felt his identity was lost in the song, but he did impress them successfully using autotune for the first time and creating a “hit” melody. 
  • Londynn B and Off-the-Wall recorded with “A Little Bit of Love” by Brendan Russle, which has also been used by Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, and 50 Cent. It was not the judges favorite from Londynn B, as they felt her persona, musical gift, and strong performance were lost in this one. 
  • Sam Be Yourself and Kal Banx worked on “Hung Up On Me, Baby” by Isaac Hays to create a super bouncy, fun and light, heartfelt track that felt true to Sam. He was in tune with the audience and could change the energy of the room, and the production was phenomenal, but unfortunately the song didn’t really hit. The judges agreed that his hook was the best part. 
  • D Smoke and G-Dav whipped up something that would stand out, which D Smoke never fails to do. Using “Atomic Dog” by George Clinton, which Snoop has done and Erykah Badu ft. Lil Wayne, is a statement in and of itself. This song was about his childhood, poetic and groovy, with a very theatrical and creative performance. He messed up and forgot an entire verse but was still the judges’ favorite song and performance. 
  • Flawless Real Talk and G-Dav used “What I Am” by Edie Brichell to create a song that would show off the fun, happy, flirty side of Flawless. The song was great, but the judges felt he didn’t utilize the sample to its full potential, and so it sounded more like an original song. 

Getting closer and closer to the finale is obviously really tough for the judges. T.I. begs, “Cardi, will you please gather yourself? Tell them who’s going to stay!” Card exclaims, “I can’t do it!” Chance has to save the day, give constructive feedback to the bottom two contestants, and ultimately send Sam Be Yourself back home to Detroit. 

COLLABORATIONS

raf_108_unit_00610rBefore the final five leave the stage after their “Samples” performances, John Legend hops up on stage to announce their next challenge. Each contestant is paired with an R&B icon to write their own verse on a pop song and perform with a live band three days later. 

  • D Smoke and Miguel were kind of a perfect pairing since they both have the dread and Spanish things going on. “Skywalker” is a celebration song about transcending all the things that hold you back, so D Smoke could really connect with it, and the two of them really vibed on stage together. Smoke’s line “Cut the bull like a Matador” leading into the hook really impressed T.I. and the judges as “superstar quality.” 
  • Troyman and Ty Dolla $ign had a really fun and chill performance of “Paranoid” with lots of wordplay and funny setups by Troyman. T.I. even complimented Troyman on his stylish red jacket and wardrobe elevation since his . 
  • Flawless Real Talk got to show off his suave and sexy side with his verse in “Stay Ready” by Jene Aiko. The two of them had smooth chemistry on stage, and Flawless represented himself well and did exceptional service to the song. 
  • Caleb Colossus and Tory Lanez collaborated on “Talk to Me.” There must have been a hand in fate with this pairing because Caleb shared a sentimental story of having seen Tory Lanez in Atlanta right before Rhythm + Flow auditions. Tory had said, “There’s somebody in here who wants to do what I do, who wants to do music, and someday we’re going to make a song together.” 
  • Londynn B and Teyana Taylor put together a powerful collaboration of “A Rose in Harlem.” Their motherly bond created unbreakable emotional chemistry on stage. Londynn B flubbed at one point, but Teyana literally wouldn’t let her give up. Their passion and strength fueled each other to finish an incredible performance. 

The judges complimented Caleb Colossus on steadily growing over the course of the competition and assuring him this was his best performance yet. Unfortunately it was his time to go home, but it seems like he couldn’t have imagined a more fulfilling final moment on this show. 

FINALE

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The last episode was so bittersweet because you knew everybody was about to completely kill it, but it also meant that this was for real the last hoorah. For the final challenge each contestant was paired with an incredibly talented producer to write an original song and put on an “award show” level performance. They were all so respectful and professional with getting feedback from their producers and articulating their vision in the studio and in rehearsal. Rhythm + Flow surprised the contestants with their families showing up at their hotel doors to give them that extra fire they needed to push them into their final performance. The camera crew captured private moments right beforehand of Londynn B’s empowering self-mantras, D Smoke doing push-ups and throwing punches, Flawless Real Talk praying, and Troyman splashing his face with water and looking in the mirror for a vibe check. They really showed the ins-and-outs of this entire experience, and it was a beautiful emotional rollercoaster to witness. 

  • Troyman worked with grammy-nominated Tay Keith, who has also worked with Drake and Travis Scott. He took it back to the urban streets by writing his new trap track entitled “Streetlight,” playing with puns and double entendres that really impressed the judges. He went hard on his final performance; there was so much energy in the edgy choreography that was amplified by pyro and cryo effects. Hit-Boy straight up offered the opportunity to do a tape with Troyman before the judges even got a chance to ask him what it was like working with him. Cardi B loved the trap song and even said she could see Troyman working with the Migos. “As a founding forefather of trap music,” T.I. complimented him on “a prolific example of trap.” Chance commented that he had the most consistent growth throughout the season and truly transformed on that stage during his “Streetlight” performance. 
  • Flawless Real Talk got to work with Hit-Boy, a grammy winner whose production catalog includes Kanye, Jay-Z, and Eminem. Flawless wanted to show a part of himself that was important before the competition was over and come up with something more heartfelt. “On My Way” is a song about never giving up on her your dreams. Vibing with his family out in the crowd really brought the audience into his world for a moment. The judges could tell his undeniable passion and sense of urgency, integrity and artistry. 
  • Londynn B was of course paired with none other than London On Da Track, who has produced T.I., Post Malone, 2 Chainz, and Drake. It was London’s idea to write multiple tracks with Londynn B in the studio to find “the one,” but he said, “They all were, so we put them together” to create the track “Only One.” Londynn B did not hold back one bit. She had three songs in one and she truly gave an award show level performance. She left it all on the court, executed with great skill, and most definitely left a lasting impression. Afterwards London On Da Track assured everybody, “No matter what happens after this, we’re going right back in…” alluding we can expect an album in the near future. As T.I. said, “Londynn B has arrived.” 
  • D Smoke was paired with Oscar and Grammy-nominated producer of the Black Panther Soundtrack, Sounwave. Together they created a masterpiece of a song, “The Last Supper,” and D Smoke left his heart on the stage during the performance which was an execution of skill and art. Sounwave’s expressed that he’s “never met anyone as hands-on” as D Smoke. Cardi was impressed that with such little time, he was able to come up with “such an amazing song and content.” Chance even admitted that “in a workspace like this, you don’t expect to find someone you believe in believe in,” but it’s obvious that no matter what, D Smoke has got a lot of people who believe in him. 

After taking everything into consideration, evaluating the growth and performance of each contestant challenge after challenge, week after week, the judges would be defining the next hip-hop superstar, having a hand in history. Troyman, Londynn B, Flawless Real Talk, and D Smoke are all strong and insanely talented and creative artists, with guaranteed support from the industry. The judges assured them all that they’ve already won, regardless of the winning title, but that $250,000 belongs to D Smoke. 

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