What The 10 Best Neo-Soul Artists Have Been Up To
Neo-soul has become a genre that has sadly fallen under the radar. After its prime in the late 90s and early 2000s, many artists have been fairly quiet and outshined by other contemporary R&B artists. But fret not, many of the defining acts of the neo-soul era are proving they're not going anywhere and have plans to continue to make beautiful music—that kind you can feel from your soul.
Flip through to find out what our favorite neo-soul artists have been up to recently. —Shannon Powell
The sexy singer (who just turned 40) made fans wait eight years after his chart-topping album (NOW), before hitting the studio again to drop BLACKsummers’night. When he swaggered across the stage at the 2009 BET awards with a flawless falsetto, we knew he was back with a bang. The album was rumored to have been a part of a collective, but after another hiatus, many fans have been left wondering the status of the soul man. Would he be coming out with any more music? And more importantly, when?!
He teased us with his dynamic duet with fellow soulful singer and good friend, Alicia Keys, with Fire We Make. He has since taken to his Instagram and Twitter accounts to hint at an apparent new album and complementary tour.
No word yet on when the album is expected to drop, but it seems fitting that it will hit shelves sometime this summer. Until then, catch Max at his upcoming concert dates: July 03 at Landers Center in Southaven, Mississippi; July 05 at Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans; and July 06 at Chastain Park Amphitheatre.
The woman often regarded as the queen of hip-hop and R&B made a name for herself with her groundbreaking album, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill in 1998. Her legendary performances on the album made her not only a standout singer, but also an equally gifted rapper, gaining her 10 Grammy nominations.
Earlier this month, Hill’s newest single “Neurotic Society” hit the internet waves amidst her ugly tax battle. The 38-year-old made a deal with Sony Records to launch a label and release records (including the single) with hopes to collect enough money to pay off her tax debts. But, unfortunately the soul diva still came up short and landed a 3-month prison sentence. Hopefully some good will come out of the situation.
With his erotic visual to “How Does it Feel”, D’Angelo proved that he is one fine man who looks pretty damn amazing greased up with no clothes on.
Not only was he sexy (as hell) to look at, but ooh-wee, he had the voice to match. But then again, you already knew that after listening to his debut album, Brown Sugar.
After years of dealing with legal troubles, the sensual crooner hit the stage once more at the 2012 BET awards showing that he still had it. The 39-year-old is now working on his third studio album, James River, alongside Questlove. There has been no release date for the album yet, but we’re anxiously waiting.
A true afrocentric queen, Miss Erykah Badu has been her own woman since day one. Whether rocking a headwrap, a badass fro or an iced out ankh, Erykah has always been the embodiment of black beauty.
She further expressed this through her songs and made a name for herself in the neo-soul genre with an extensive list of awards including 19 Grammy nominations, four of which she has won.
This year, she was featured on Janelle’s Monae’s "Q.U.E.E.N." track and in a recent interview with Billboard, she hinted at new music in the future.
"Soon. Me soon come,” she said. “I'm writing right now. Sometimes it takes a little while. When it happens, it does.”
Jill Scott has been noted for her smooth, sensual voice and telling it like it is in her songs—whether it’s about her sexual escapades, dealing with haters or simply what food she made this morning—and she tells it all so sweetly.
She first hit the scene in 2000 with her album, Who is Jill Scott, but after 3 more albums, 13 Grammy nominations (including three wins), and a successful acting career, the world surely knows who she is.
She continues to show off her acting chops, hitting movie screens nationwide in Baggage Claim, set to be released September 27, but Jill Scott hasn’t completely left behind what got her to where she is today: music. Jill is likely performing at a festival in a city near you this summer.
When Musiq Soulchild hit the scene in 2000 with his chart-topping singles, “Just Friends,” and “Love”, the Philly native let the world know he was a force to be reckoned with.
Thirteen years and five albums later, the Grammy-nominated crooner continues to create magic whenever he hits the studio. Unlike many artists within the neo-sould genre, Musiq has proven that he truly is a child of soul, consecutively cranking out album after album, without any long breaks in between.
With his latest studio album, 9nine, we’re sure the 35-year-old will continue to give fans what they want and we look forward to hearing it.
A member of the 80's and 90's R&B sensation Tony! Toni! Toné!, and the short-lived Lucy Pearl, Raphael Saadiq has been in the game for awhile. With his unique tone and creative genius, he has been a part of some of the most defining tracks of R&B and neo-soul music.
After nearly 30 years of doing his thing in the industry, Saadiq hasn’t slowed down. He continues to tour and has a spot on a 2013 Toyota Prius SOULED commercial. He also acts as a mentor to fellow Oakland-native, R&B up-and-comer Adrian Marcel. But we don’t think he’ll stop making music of his own any time soon. We only expect him to continue to make classics.
Anthony Hamilton has that sort of voice where you can just feel what he’s saying with every note. The grittiness of passion, hurt, love lost, love found—he can make you feel it.
It’s this voice that has made him a standout performer. He began his career with Nappy Roots and has since made five studio albums and the 42-year-old is still at it.
He was nominated for two Grammys for his 2011 album “Back to Love,” as well as having his track “Freedom” included in the Django Unchained soundtrack. This summer he’ll be touring at intimate venues nationwide.
Her track, “Holding Back the Years,” was a hit in the classic love story, Love and Basketball, and her single, “No More Rain in this Cloud,” made Angie Stone a standout soul performer.
After six studio albums and multiple movie appearances, many are wondering what the soulful songstress has been up to. She continues to promote her 2012 album, “Rich Girl” by touring at intimate sold out venues nationwide and we can only hope she continues to sing her way through our speakers.
With only one album, Jazmine Sullivan has set the R&B world on fire. Her vocal capability is like no other. Her passion could be felt with every verse—take a listen to “In Love With Another Man,” we trust you’ll get chills.
Sadly for her fans and the music world alike, the 26-year-old Philadelphia native is said to be done with music. Shortly after her successful debut album, “Fearless,” Sullivan took to her Twitter to express that she would give singing a rest.
“I'm making an official announcement that i am taking a break from music ... i'm trying to figure out who i am ... w/out a mike, paper or pen. i promised myself when it wasn't fun anymore i wouldn't do it. and here i am. i love u all and appreciate u soooooo much ... u have no idea how much u've inspired me and fed my ego. but the truth is that i have to believe in me whether you all do or not. and thats what i'm lookin for. that belief in myself. me. I. i love us. thanks for being here for me and riding with me on this journey. let us continue.”
That was in 2011. We haven’t heard too much from her since, but we hope she’ll have a change of heart. A voice like hers needs to continue being shared with the world.