Let’s face it, the dynamics of rhythm and blues has changed. Graduating from a celebrated smooth tone to a more electronic vibe, R&B has witnessed a sonic change in the form of releases from some your favorite artists like Usher, Mariah Carey, and more. While change can be welcome, R&B has advanced so far from the standard classics of the early 90’s that it’s nice to see a resurgence of appreciation for the music that came from that time period. The following list spotlights 6 acts that are managing to keep the essence of old-school R&B alive.
LOVE DOLLHO– USE
Ryan Destiny, Jasmine Pore and Chelsea Stone form Detroit’s own, Love Dollhouse, the new group that’s taking the R&B world by storm. With sultry melodies and a throwback vibe, this is the first urban girl group to emerge after the later 2000’s with a sound that marks a return to R&B and not an escape from it. Their debut single, Can I, above, invokes sounds reminiscent to an early TLC or Destiny’s Child. A much welcome sound, if you ask me.
August Alsina is an artist that will surprise you due to the fact that he typically stays true to his genre. The R&B crooner continues to pump out effortless melodies that feature his smooth vocals over usually toned down beats like on Make It Home featuring Jeezy, above.
No one knew what to expect when the infamous sister of Toni Braxton and Braxton Family Values star, Tamar Braxton, announced her return to music. The result was a set of beautifully sung R&B songs that showcase true vocal talent, not sex appeal alone. Tamar’s Love and War was one of my favorite albums to be released in 2013 and the single All The Way Home, above, was a personal favorite from the collection.
Jhené Aiko has a modern style that invokes essences of classic R&B. Featuring a deeper subtext in most of her work, Aiko shines in releases such as The Worst, above, showcasing her talent for witty emotive wordplay.
Miguel tends to trade the typically fast-paced modern R&B of his industry colleagues for a slower, more smooth vibe. Showcasing his vocals in songs like the How Many Drinks? (Remix) featuring Kendrick Lamar, it’s easy to see why he was chosen by the resident queen of R&B, Mariah Carey, for her 2013 single Beautiful.
TAMIKA “TINY” COTTLE
Launching a solo career years after her departure from the hit R&B girl group of the 90’s, Xscape, Tameka “Tiny” Cottle is proving that she’s not only got the talent to pull it off but a signature style that fits the present in a way that simultaneously manages to throwback her former sound. In What The Fuck You Gon Do WTFYGD, Tameka’s vocals shine, exciting R&B fans with hope for a full album from the reality star and wife of popular rapper, TI.