Post By: Lee Mcintosh
Although Hip-Hop/Rap is amongst the most popular and impactful genre of music in the world, R&B is not that far behind. There are lots of Rap artists who teeter the lines of Rap and R&B–whether that be from the composition of the music, the lyrical content, or even just the way the lyrics soothe over the track. Ever so often, it can be difficult to decipher if an artist is in fact a rapper or a singer. Artists such as Bryson Tiller, 6LACK and Sy Ari Da Kid are amongst the best to master the art of both genres. Singing over rap beats, or rapping over singing beats–that just shows the amount of influence that R&B has on the culture today.
Often so, Hip-Hop delivers a new wave of emerging artists every few years or so. The R&B world once did not operate on that fast of a time schedule–usually only bringing in the new “it” singer every 5 years or so. In the new digital/social media era, the rate at which new R&B artists transpire is almost as often as the rappers. Here at Lyrical Lemonade, we are most known for our coverage in Hip-Hop, but that does not take away from our credibility and being well versed in the realms of R&B. Here is a list of some of the newest R&B artists that are coming to the forefront and should definitely be on your radar–as they will be the next ones to blow.
Snoh is one of the most talented singers to emerge to the states from overseas. Originating from Sweeden, She would begin her early career under the stagename “Sheri”. She managed to release a handful of singles and her very first studio album First Sign back in 2010. Her style of music would be compared to the likes of none other than the great Sade. In fact, her first album included a cover of Smooth Operator by Sade as well. After years of being identified as Sheri, she then rebranded her self as Snoh Aalegra in 2014. Shortly after, she received her first big break in her career when she landed on the Chicago-legend Common’s album Nobody’s Smiling.
Ever since then, her career began to skyrocket–bringing in more and more attention to her music as the months went by. She released her first EP as Snoh Aalegra in 2014 titled There Will Be Sunshine. She then signed to the legendary Chicago producer No I.D. under his newly founded label ARTium, where she would released her 2016 EP Don’t Explain and her debut studio album as Snoh in 2017 titled Feels. That same year, she managed to gain even more notoriety when her song “Time” was sampled on Drake’s 2017 album More Life on the song “Do Not Disturb”. Her latest project–follow up to her album Feels–titled -Ugh, those feels again received nothing but great criticism and really is a cumulation of her talent up til this point.
Being an R&B singer is one thing, but bringing that should factor back to the music is a completely different story. Ari is special in regards to the fact that she is one of the singers getting back to the basics of providing soothing, soulful music. Her style is like no other, even cementing her signature “eeee” elongation note at the end of certain lines, distinguishing her from the rest of her peers. She began her early career back in 2012 when she would independently release her first projects titled Five Finger Discount and Ariography the following year. Her music then began to pick up enough traction to make it onto the radar of J. Cole–when he would begin to collaborate with Ari writing reference tracks for none other than Rihanna.
Her talent level was enough for J. Cole to sign her to his Dreamville record label. This moment was special due to the fact that Dreamville is seen to be more so of the “lyrical miracle” type of team and it wasn’t normal to sign R&B artists to rap groups. Ari received her first major placement on the Dreamville compilation tape Revenge of the Dreamers II back in 2015. She released her first project as a Dreamville artists the following year titled Pho. She started off her 2019 on the right foot, releasing her debut album Shea Butter Baby where she would handle most of the album with no features besides her labelmates JID and J. Cole. Her contributions to the highly-anticipated Revenge of the Dreamers III that same year gave Ari that push that she deserves not only as a singer, but as a true artist as well.
Despite being signed to Top Dawg Entertainment, SiR still is one of the artists who tend to live a little in the shadows and still has not fully made his way onto the masses of the industry. From Inglewood, California, SiR began his early days in his career as an engineer for Tyrese Gibson. All while still working for him, he still knew that he wanted to be a singer and a songwriter. He was fortunate enough to have co-writing credits with Ginuwine, Anita Baker and Jill Scott. After that is when his solo career began to flourish. Having been surrounded by R&B basically his whole life, it was only right that a career of his own would transpire.
SiR was signed to TDE back in 2015 and landed his first placement on Jay Rock’s album 90059 on the song titled “The Ways”–furthermore going on to collaborate with more TDE artists as well. He released two EPs under the label titled HER and HER TOO. He released his debut studio album under TDE November back in 2018 and he just recently released his sophomore album Chasing Summer with features from label mate Kendrick Lamar, Smino, Jill Scott & many more. He is another artist who is best known for bringing the soul back to the R&B scene in an era where most artists have left that aspect behind. His Chasing Summer is the perfect end-of-summer album providing those vibes meant for cruising, reflecting, and feeling.
Los Angeles-based group Emotional Oranges could be easy to glance over, due to the fact that there is a certain mystique to the way they like to live and create in the shadows. The name alone is not your typical R&B group name–but then again, they are not your typical R&B group as well. Similar to the way The Weeknd emerged, E.O. always find a way to hide their identities. From performing with heavy smoke on stage, to blocking their faces on their Instagram posts. It seems to have been working for them, because their music has been blowing up lately to the point where it may seem to come out of no where if you weren’t hip to them during the initial come up.
Their sound is very groovy, mixed with a dash of pop, and some R&B–creating a mixture of smooth instrumentation and soothing vocals over their tracks. Their come up is slightly documented, having released their singles “Motion” and “Personal” in 2018. This year, they released their debut project The Juice, Vol. 1. and have been teasing that their follow up The Juice, Vol. 2 is coming October 25th. They are also getting ready to hit the road on their very first world tour starting this month. Masking their identity seems to be the best fit for them, for it creates a level of mystery and not knowing what they will be up to next. Whether you see their faces or not, they will always make sure that their sound is heard across the globe no matter what. Not only making sure that their sound is heard, but making sure that their sound is felt all around and all throughout all walks of life.
Hailing from Virginia, Kali Uchis is a Columbian soul singer who has been making nothing but huge imprints in the R&B world–with her music being described as a jack of all trades of R&B. Her style is heavily inspired by doo wop & reggae/Caribbean music, of course with R&B mixed in there as well. Her vocal cadence has often been compared to likes of the late great Amy Winehouse. Having been releasing music since 2012, her first big break came when she was able to collaborate with Snoop Dogg on his mixtape That’s My Work Volume 3.
Someone who has always showed Kali a huge amount of love would be Tyler, The Creator–who would produce “Speed” and “Call Me” from her 2015 EP For Vida. He also included her on his 2015 album Cherry Bomb supplying guest features and background vocals on a lot of the album. The year 2018 is when Kali began to receive a lot of the success she deserves as a solo artist when she released her debut album Isolation which had features from a wide array of artists like Jorja Smith, Steve Lacy, Tyler, The Creator–who also provided production on “After The Storm”–and none other than the soul legend Bootsy Collins. This year has been looking even brighter for Kali as she would go on to tour the world again, this time with the songstress Jorja Smith. Fans have been eagerly awaiting new music from her ever since her debut album, and many fans speculated that her and Jorja would release a project together to follow up their tour. Who knows if that’s true–however, she should definitely be on the radar of artists to watch.
The UK R&B scene has been really great to us in the past few years when it comes to providing some very talented singers. Amber definitely is one of those who has been buzzing overseas for a while now and is expected to expand her horizons and reach an entirely new fanbase to digest all of what she has been working on. Originating from North London, Amber’s soothing and calm voice could first be heard on Instagram where she would release clips of her musical ability. Her early influences include Sade, Erykah Badu, and her cadences are often compared to the great Aaliyah.
The year 2016 is when she discovered Brent Faiyaz’s music, to which she instantly fell in love with his sound. After connecting with him, she then began to work very closely with him on a musical level and he would then include her on the work for his collective Sonder. Building that natural connection worked out the best for her when Brent loved her music enough to produce for her self-titled debut EP Amber Olivier. It is still very early in Amber’s career, but thats not to say that she has bright path ahead of her in her future. With becoming so close to Brent Faiyaz as they are both emerging artists onto the R&B scene, Amber is set to do bigger and better things in the years to come. Currently working on herself and her next body of work, taking the time to approach perfection is key–and music lovers all around will not be dissatisfied with her next moves.
Artists who are able to take the best elements from both hip-hop and R&B and do it effectively deserve lots of praise. Coming from St. Louis, Layton Green is a vocalist who never really took her career serious. Not to say that she never wanted a career, but the fact that she ever thought it would get her anywhere. Her moment of fame was brought upon her in 2017 when she released a clip of her singing Kodak Black’s “Roll In Peace” and putting her own twist to it. In time, the clip went viral and from that moment she knew it was go time–eventually dropping everything and focusing on music full time. The range of her vocal ability is of a high caliber that could not be overlooked much longer.
Despite not having lots of catalogue under her belt, her pure vocal ability was enough to be discovered by Quality Control’s Pee and Coach K. They took her in and signed her to their label–releasing singles to gain even more momentum for her. Being signed to arguably some of the best executives in the game right now, she is headed for more success. Her single “Leave Em Alone” features PnB Rock, City Girls and Lil Baby. This song is more of an upbeat R&B record–one that she can handle very well. This song was featured on the Control The Streets Vol. 2 compilation album this year–and her newest single “I Love You” was released shortly after as well. Coach K and Pee will assure that the world will hear her voice, see her face, and remember her name for years to come.