From 'I Gotta Make It' To 'Back Home': Trey Songz' Career In 10 Essential Songs
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Trey Songz is an R&B stalwart. Well into the second decade of his career, he’s continued to log hits working with the best newcomers and legends of R&B and hip-hop. It’s hard to discuss the development of R&B this millennium without mentioning Songz’ name several times so we thought it was time to take a trip through his career from his debut I Gotta Make It to his latest record Back Home.
- 1 Gotta Make It (Feat. Twista) (2005)
- 2 Can’t Help But Wait (2007)
- 3 Say Aah (Feat. Fabolous) (2009)
- 4 Bottom’s Up (Feat. Nicki Minaj) (2010)
- 5 Heart Attack (2012)
- 6 Na Na (2014)
- 7 Touchin’ Lovin’ (Feat. Nicki Minaj) (2014)
- 8 Slow Motion (2015)
- 9 Nobody Else But You (2017)
- 10 2 Chainz – It’s A Vibe (Feat. Trey Songz) (2017)
- 11 Back Home (Feat. Summer Walker) (2020)
Gotta Make It (Feat. Twista) (2005)
If your debut single is titled Gotta Make It you’ve got no choice but to succeed. Songz’ entrance into music in 2005 was a slick, mid-tempo R&B track sampling It’s Forever by The Ebonys. The song shot into the Hot 100 in the US, kicking off a chart run that would go for more than a decade. Twista comes through with a characteristically speedy verse that gives us all that mid-’00s nostalgia.
Can’t Help But Wait (2007)
By album number two, Songz was already being recognised as one of the most important names in R&B. The album improved on the chart position of his debut album and also spawned a track that has gone onto be one of his trademark songs. It’s produced by pop heroes Stargate, who were working with Ne-Yo, Beyonce and more at the time, and it’s a suave, soulful cut that defined his sound.
Say Aah (Feat. Fabolous) (2009)
On Songz’ third album Ready, he moved from king of the mid-tempos to king of the clubs. The album recruited Drake, Gucci Mane and Soulja Boy but it was his Fabolous-featuring track Say Aah that flew. The song became his first top 10 hit in the US, also charting in Canada and Belgium. The song kept his bedroom-centric sound but upped the tempo for Songz. Apparently, Fabolous was almost not on the song. He turned in his verse at the eleventh hour, after the song was already mixed.
Bottom’s Up (Feat. Nicki Minaj) (2010)
By 2010 record Passion, Pain & Pleasure, Songz was a household name and he delivered a hit to make sure that remained. Bottom’s Up was the first single from the album and his first collaborations with a very fresh Nicki Minaj. Where Say Aah was looking to leave the club, Bottom’s Up was getting lost in the drunk-haze of the club. It remains his highest-charting song in the US but it also saw him crack the Australian charts for the first time. Minaj’s frantic, dizzying verse is one of the greatest features of her career.
Heart Attack (2012)
Songz’ fifth album Chapter V saw him work with longtime producer Troy Taylor as well as new names like Benny Blanco. It was Blanco who produced the biggest song from the album Heart Attack. While the previous albums were full of club jams, Heart Attack was a bold, mid-tempo with Songz declaring, “I never knew love would hurt this fucking bad.” Kelly Rowland featured in the video as Songz’ lover but the song had no features. His soaring vocals left no space.
Na Na (2014)
If we thought Songz was done with club jams 2014 album Trigga proved that he was still capable of turning up. The album recruited a spectacular guest list including Nicki Minaj, Justin Bieber, Mila J and Juicy J. Lead-single Na Na was inescapable in clubs globally. Even if you weren’t a die-hard fan of Songz, you knew this hook every time it played out. DJ Mustard produced it during a landmark year which included productions for Tinashe, Jeremih, Big Sean and more.
Touchin’ Lovin’ (Feat. Nicki Minaj) (2014)
Nicki Minaj and Songz reunited once again for Touchin’, Lovin’ – the final single from Trigga. The song samples Notorious B.I.G.’s Fuck You Tonight and was another global hit for Songz. It may not have been as big as Bottom’s Up but it’s hard to deny the chemistry of these two on tape together. Minaj has a few zingers on this cut like “I ride his dick like a shuttle.”
Slow Motion (2015)
Trigga was one of Songz’ most successful albums launching at number one in the US and also finding popularity in Australia and the UK. So much so that he beefed it up with the Reloaded package. New song Slow Motion, produced by a fresh-faced Charlie Puth, ended up being one of the biggest singles from the project. The soulful, mid-tempo is his most-streamed song on Spotify and remains his most popular.
Nobody Else But You (2017)
Tremaine The Album came three years after the release of Trigga and was named after Songz’ given name. It was Songz’ fifth consecutive top 5 in the US, debuting just behind Drake’s More Life and Ed Sheeran’s Divide. Nobody Else But You dropped as the first single from the project and heralded a return to the mid-tempo R&B of his early work. It was written with Alexander Isaak who has also worked with Chris Brown and Robin Schulz.
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2 Chainz – It’s A Vibe (Feat. Trey Songz) (2017)
Songz has featured on songs by everyone from 50 Cent to Drake but it was 2 Chainz’ slick, Murda Beatz-produced It’s A Vibe that he really shone on. Also featuring Jhene Aiko and Ty Dolla $ign, it was an R&B masterclass. Songz delivers the instantaneous hook that was being echoed around the country in 2017. It became the biggest record from 2 Chainz’ Pretty Girls Like Trap Music.
Back Home (Feat. Summer Walker) (2020)
The title track of Songz’ eighth album Back Home sees him team with R&B’s finest newcomer Summer Walker. We’re firmly back in the mid-tempo zone with an intimate, melancholic cut that gives us vocals for days. The song was co-written by Nija who has had an incredible few years working with everyone from Cardi B to Lady Gaga.