Tank defies hearing loss on ‘R&B Money,’ his latest album | Entertainment

NEW YORK (AP) — R&B star Tank has begun considering his latest album after considering other ventures. However, this timeline was accelerated after the loss of one of his most important tools: his hearing.

“It just made me look at time differently. It just made me go, ‘Man, if I can lose one ear in three days, I might as well lose the other in the next three,'” said the singer, who released “R&B Money” this month. “You just realize you don’t have as much time as you think.”

Last year, he revealed that he suddenly went deaf in his right ear, while he lost significant hearing in his left, although the left has recovered.

“You start taking a drug that’s supposed to help your ear, but it hurts everything else,” Tank explained of the side effects. “So when the engineer is mixing and he’s doing really cool stuff going from left to right, and he’s like, ‘Did you hear that?’ I didn’t. …So there was a moment of depression.”

But the man born Durrell Babbs, a self-described racer, worked to create a 17-track, unmistakably rhythm-and-blues record during an era when the lines between R&B and rap were often sonically blurred. A rare solo artist who can write, produce and sing, he wrote or co-wrote every song.

Tank instantly sets the desired tone for his ninth studio album, expertly showcasing the lost art of slow jams with “When You Dance,” “Home” and “No Limit” featuring Alex Isley.

“You’re going to be drowning in sensuality,” the five-time Grammy nominee said with a smile. “I’d rather be with someone who’s attracted to you.”

For “See Through Love,” he linked up with superstar Chris Brown, whom he had known since Brown’s teenage years. Tank sent music to the superstar, who replied, “Bro, I love the record… I just really want to do some classic R&B with you.” So Tank continued, “I sent him ‘See Through Love’ and he sent back like 8,000 fire emoticons and said : “It will be ready tonight.”

The previously released singles “I Deserve,” in which he creatively sampled his own hit “Maybe I Deserve,” and “Can’t Let It Show,” which reworked the Kate Bush song that Maxwell introduced to black music listeners, also appear on the album; both reached No. 1 on the Billboard Adult R&B Airplay chart. And he managed to set the mood with ‘Make Sure’ featuring Feather and ‘It’s Nothing’.

Singing in the late 1990s for R&B icons Ginuwine and Aaliyah, Tank launched his solo career with 2001’s “Maybe I Deserve.” He released multiple hits such as “One Man” as well as #1 hits “Please Don’t Go” ” and “When We.” as of 2017. Five albums have reached No. 1 on Billboard’s Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart during his two-decade career, maintaining relevance through the changes in R&B.

The tank comes out at a special time; although some question the direction of the genre, R&B is experiencing a resurgence thanks to young, talented artists and fans yearning for more than party music. But the “Heartbreaker” singer wants to focus on shaping the next generation of talent while building his own record label, and helping to keep the genre popular while it still has “a little bit of steam” left.

Starring in last year’s Lifetime movie, “Lust: A Seven Deadly Sins Story,” Tank hopes to delve deeper into acting and even branch out into stand-up comedy. But he says he’ll still perform and release songs from time to time, but won’t commit to a full body of time-consuming work.

The music industry went through various iterations during Tank’s reign and he managed to weather all the storms. But his heaviest rain may be the one he’s currently harboring, sudden sensorineural hearing loss.

“I just refuse to let my ear win. I refuse to let the vertigo win. You should have killed me if that’s what you wanted to do,” he said. “But since you didn’t do that, I’ll figure out a way to be better and stronger.” ___

Follow Associated Press entertainment journalist Gary Gerard Hamilton as @GaryGHamilton on all social media platforms.

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