Arin Ray Talks New EP, Kehlani, & King of R&B Debate
Nearly two years since the release of his critically-acclaimed debut Platinum Fire, Arin Ray continues to show why he’s one of R&B’s most exciting new voices.
On Friday, the Cincinnati singer-songwriter dropped his EP, Phases II. The five-song set, which follows 2016’s Phases, features the singles “A Seat” and the 112-sampled “Change” featuring Kehlani.
The collaboration came together organically. Moments after he texted her, the Oakland songstress showed up—with her newborn daughter–to cut her part. “Kehlani was low-key like the first thought,” Arin tells Rap-Up. “It was just a cool collab all the way around.”
While everyone from Jacquees to YK Osiris is calling themselves the “King of R&B” these days, Arin has no interest in the crown. “I don’t want to be the King of R&B,” he says. “I just want to make the best music in general. I think that’s selling myself short.”
And he’s not buying his peers’ claims. “I don’t think anybody who says they’re the King of R&B really thinks that,” he adds. “I think it’s just trolling ’cause you gotta have hit records to do that. To say you’re the king, you gotta have done something. Me, by far, I can’t say that.”
So who does he think is deserving of the crown? “Maybe Usher just because he’s been around,” he reveals, while also acknowledging his “Always” collaborator Babyface. “When you create the records, that’s the vibe.”
Plus, he shares why Pharrell is his dream collaboration. “Just to be able to learn from him would be great.”
Phases II is out now. Stream it below.