Stepping away from the formula that helped his first two albums reach platinum-status, singer and writer Ne-Yo looks beyond R&B for his upcoming release, Year of the Gentleman.

Set to be his third Def Jam effort, the album was recently previewed by Billboard, which considered it “something a little different from traditional R&B.” Speaking about the album, Ne-Yo expressed his intent to make this project unique.

I wanted the third album to be something a little different from the first and second as far as the essence and the sound of what I was doing,” he told Billboard.

With the release date currently set for June 24th, Ne-Yo confessed his focus on taking time to develop what he envisioned as the final product and how ironically it came sooner than he expected.

I was going to chill for a minute and really take some time to figure out what I wanted that to be. Fortunately, it didn’t take me that long, which is why the album’s coming out now,” he explained.

Based on their review of the Stargate-produced club track “Closer,” Billboard confirms the artist’s experimentation by calling it a song “with pulsing strobe-light synths and a high-energy house beat that calls to mind Rihanna’s ‘Don’t Stop the Music’” while his ‘What’s the Matter’ is compared to “a Beatles-style rock record.

Regardless of the master version released this June, the new album is expected to cross the traditional R&B boundaries.

HipHopDX is live in the 215 thanks to our Philly-based Marketing Manager Michael Trampe, who will be in North East Illadelph tonight (around 10:00 p.m.) at The Black Pumpkin Lounge (600 E. Wyoming Ave.) for their “Tuesday Night Jam Session.” Every week Philly’s hottest emcees (previous performers have included Peedi Crakk and Nox) jam with a live band, creating a unique musical mesh of sounds and spitters in the club’s laid-back lounge environment. Tonight’s jam session will be hosted by electric lyricist Scholar (from LNS), and backed by house band Headzfalloff. For more info on the session call (215) 324-8464.

Reported by Cyrus Langhorne and Paul W. Arnold.