Maxwell Maxwell

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

--

1. Maxwell

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.

Lauryn Hill performing2. Lauryn Hill

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.
d'angelo3. D'Angelo

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.

Erykah-Badu4. Erykah Badu

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.”

vibe-vixen-jill-scott-15.  Jill Scott

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.

Musiq Soulchild6. Musiq Soulchild

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.

raphael saadiq7. Raphael Saadiq

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 and Tarsha McMillan 8. Anthony Hamilton

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.

Angie Stone 9. Angie Stone

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.

Jazmine Sullivan10. Jazmine Sullivan

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.

From the Web

More on Vibe

Yvette Nicole Brown and Gabourey Sidibe were some of the actresses who were vocal about the treatment of actors of color when faced with beauticians in Hollywood.
Getty Images

Celebrities Use #ActingWhileBlack Hashtag To Point Out Pitfalls Of Hollywood's Beauty Scene

While being a working person of color in Hollywood is something to admire, those fortunate enough to be working in these spaces often have difficulties finding the right person to do their hair and makeup with the right amount of diligent care.

Model Olivia Anakwe took to Instagram earlier this month to detail the issues she faced before a runway show, when she was disrespected by haircare professionals who refused to work on her textured hair.

"Black hairstylists are required to know how to do everyone’s hair, why does the same not apply to others?” she wrote. “It does not matter if you don’t specialize in afro hair, as a continuous learner in your field you should be open to what you have yet to accomplish; take a class."

The hashtag #ActingWhileBlack began to spread on social media over the weekend, and people of color chimed in to share their stories.

Actress Yvette Nicole Brown shared that she often carries her own hair extensions and clothes for shoots, and that having stylists who are untrained in black beauty often runs the risk of them looking bad later on. Oscar-nominee Gabourey Sidibe shared a similar sentiment.

Insecure’s Natasha Rothwell hit the nail on the head in her tweet about the issue with not hiring the right people to work with ethnic hair.

“If you cast a POC— And thank you for doing so!—you also have to hire someone who knows how to do ethnic hair,” she wrote on Mar. 11. “Not someone who's "comfortable with it" but someone who actually knows how to style ethnic hair types.”

Check out some tweets from celebs on this issue below.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

This message is to spread awareness & hopefully reach anyone in the hair field to expand their range of skills. Black models are still asking for just one hairstylist on every team no matter where your team is from to care for afro hair. I was asked to get out of an empty chair followed by having hairstylists blatantly turning their backs to me when I would walk up to them, to get my hair done. If I am asked to wear my natural hair to a show, the team should prepare the style just as they practice the look and demo for non-afro hair. I arrived backstage where they planned to do cornrows, but not one person on the team knew how to do them without admitting so. After one lady attempted and pulled my edges relentlessly, I stood up to find a model who could possibly do it. After asking two models and then the lead/only nail stylist, she was then taken away from her job to do my hair. This is not okay. This will never be okay. This needs to change. No matter how small your team is, make sure you have one person that is competent at doing afro texture hair care OR just hire a black hairstylist! Black hairstylists are required to know how to do everyone’s hair, why does the same not apply to others? It does not matter if you don’t specialize in afro hair, as a continuous learner in your field you should be open to what you have yet to accomplish; take a class. I was ignored, I was forgotten, and I felt that. Unfortunately I’m not alone, black models with afro texture hair continuously face these similar unfair and disheartening circumstances. It’s 2019, it’s time to do better. || #NaturalHair #ModelsofColor #BlackHairCare #HairCare #Message #Hair #Hairstyling #Backstage #BTS #AfroTexturedHair #Afro #POC #Braids #Message #Spreadtheword #Speak #Awareness #Growth #WorkingTogether #BlackGirlMagic #Melanin

A post shared by Olivia Anakwe (@olivia_anakwe) on Mar 7, 2019 at 9:07am PST

#ActingWhileBlack Makeup & Hair in one bag. The other bags are filled with clothes because some wardrobe stylists don’t know that cute clothes exist in sizes larger than size 10. “Here try on this mumu, I know it’s a little big, we’ll just belt it!” #ActingWhileBlackAndChubby https://t.co/gl3b64Omtj

— yvette nicole brown (@YNB) March 11, 2019

Most black actresses come to a new set w/ their hair done (me) or bring their wigs & clip-ins w/them. It’s either that or take a chance that you will look crazy on screen. Many of us also bring our own foundation. One too many times seeing no shade that matches you will learn ya! https://t.co/mGAzpuoKtb

— yvette nicole brown (@YNB) March 11, 2019

Most black actresses come to a new set w/ their hair done (me) or bring their wigs & clip-ins w/them. It’s either that or take a chance that you will look crazy on screen. Many of us also bring our own foundation. One too many times seeing no shade that matches you will learn ya! https://t.co/mGAzpuoKtb

— yvette nicole brown (@YNB) March 11, 2019

If they don’t have the budget to hire a black hairstylist for me, or won’t, I just get the director to agree that my character should have box braids or senegalese twist.

— Gabby Sidibe (@GabbySidibe) March 11, 2019

PSA: If you cast a POC— And thank you for doing so!—you also have to hire someone who knows how to do ethnic hair. Not someone who's "comfortable with it" but someone who actually knows how to style ethnic hair types.

Congratulations on advancing to the next level of inclusion! https://t.co/A1Q9ZpvXmH

— Natasha Rothwell (@natasharothwell) March 11, 2019

Continue Reading
Kim Kardashian is seen on February 7, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Gotham/GC Images)

Kim Kardashian Credited For Making Crimped Hair Cool Like Beyonce, Janet Jackson And Naomi Campbell Don't Exist

Spring is nothing without doses of cultural appropriation from those out of touch with black culture.

Insert Vogue, who decided to give props to Kim Kardashian for bringing back crimped hair on Friday (March 15). The businesswoman has been on the move lately, rocking a mix of kanekalon and yaki ponytails during fashion month, Chance The Rapper's wedding and other Kardashian-related events.

“What makes this look so modern is that the front is sleek,” explained her stylist Justine Marjan. “This gives a cool contrast to the texture.”

The texture? 

With many trends from the aughts coming back to the mainstream, this is one that hasn't really gone anywhere. But black beauty markers (layered gold chains, perfect baby hairs, name chains) paired with media ignorance and the Kardashian's own fascination with black culture has made it okay for her to receive all the props.

But we can't forget those who have slayed kanekalon, yaki and crimped styles like...

Janet Jackson

The singer's look for her comeback has been a uniform-like one, with Ms. Jackson rocking all black and her now signature ponytail.

Beyoncé

This. was. last. year. How could anyone forget this? The entertainer rocked various styles of kanekalon hair for Beychella.

There was also this amazing look at Serena Williams' wedding.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Beyoncé (@beyonce) on Nov 19, 2017 at 9:01am PST

Ruth E. Carter

The Oscar-winning designer made the look all her own while on the red carpet for Black Panther. 

Nicki Minaj

Fans of the rapper are aware her early looks included fun crimped and wavy styles. When she made to move to ditch her color wigs in 2014, she's kept the crimped styles close to her heart.

And we cannot forget about our queen, Naomi Campbell

She's owned the look her whole career, from the runway to the red carpet, Ms. Campbell has always been on the forefront of casual beautiful looks.

Social media also got wind of Vogue's post, including actor O'Shea Jackson who like many of us, is just over it.

Maaaaaaan come on now. Come ooooon now. Bringing it back? Vogue stop this https://t.co/FEGSw3GM9V

— Stone Cold Shea Jackson (@OsheaJacksonJr) March 15, 2019

https://twitter.com/SassySouthpaw20/status/1106642402448732160

https://twitter.com/riridotxo/status/1106924628851728384

Perhaps there's a bit of truth of the theories of fashion outlets trolling readers but this just deserves a permanent eye roll.

Continue Reading
Video Screenshot

'Boomerang' Episode 6 Recap: Homecoming

On this episode of BET’s Boomerang, the love story between Bryson and Simone begins with a flashback to their freshman year of college. After several years of not seeing one another since their childhood, Bryson is shocked to see a slick-back pony-tail wearing Simone insert herself into his class during a presentation. Nothing has changed with her. Even pre-bob and with Bryson rocking a sharp Steve Harvey-like hairline, even from their younger days, they have always been the dynamic duo of marketing strategy. The product featured this week: Pro-Black T-Shirts.

The devastation of not having his secret love in his life spills over into their sophomore year when a beanie-wearing David and Crystal are happy in their fake hood love. By this time, a rapper named Prisoner has all of Simone’s attention and this makes Bryson big mad. The man can’t even hide it. In an apparent fit of jealousy, he calls Simone out for living under her father’s shadow, in front of everyone. It’s safe to say that sophomore Bry struck out badly.

This isn’t just about Simone and Bryson; they’re not the only ones who’ve made transformations over the years (and I’m not just talking about their hair ‘dos). In his earlier life, Ari was less eccentric and more focused on making his family proud as a young black man in college who isn’t running on BPT for class. Ari was as straight as 180 when he’s first put into a situation where he’s forced to confront his sexual identity. As big and bad as he looked while working as a “rough & tough” bouncer at a nightclub, a flirtatious patron sees right through that persona.  After being charmed by the man who helps him realize self, the rainy night sets the tone for a steamy kiss between the two in the front seat of Ari’s car. The look on Ari’s face is a blend of fear, then relief, then ultimately bliss as he seemingly reminisces on his random but welcomed encounter. Although he enjoyed it, Ari didn’t seem to embrace his identity totally. That same year, we see a less hood-David changing more into the Christian we now know and Ari isn’t buying it. Something about this “we can do all things in Christ mentality” rubs him the wrong way. Facing one’s true self is tough.

Junior year, Bryson has a much better barber but things haven’t changed; he’s still checking for Simone. She and Prisoner are still dating if you want to call it that. Prisoner is the type of dude you’d expect to see Simone date in college. He’s flashy, has money, probably doesn’t even go to the school, and he’s rude AF. As Simone and Bryson reconnect for the two millionth time, Prisoner’s pimp tone telling Simone to hurry up is a strong indication he’s not here for their friendship. In analyzing the hair, it’s clear that Simone is not herself. Seriously, at this point, she’s rocking a glueless lace wig.

With her new hairstyle, she realizes that she made the mistake of loving a man more than herself. Prisoner is officially a dub. To celebrate her revelation, she finds herself drunkenly wining and grinding on her childhood bae, Bryson. Does this look familiar? Well, think back to last week when they were doing the same in the parking lot before 5-0 arrived. Because she couldn’t hold it, Simone ends up using Bryson’s bathroom which leads to a very sober thoughts-type of conversation in the bedroom. It is recognized that Bryson has always had a thing for the kid and Simone regrets that she never said anything about her feelings. His commandeering attitude (like the day she walked into his class freshman year) reminded her of the Different World “Strangers on a Plane” episode. It was an iconic one because it’s where Dwayne and Whitley’s love story began. That’s a telling comparison.

With that being said, Simone always felt Bryson was the Dwane to her Whitley. Unfortunately, the timing was always off and just when we think the two finally catch up to one another, cue: the vomit. Poor Bryson. Did someone do brujeria on this kid? He has the worst luck. But, like the gentleman he is, he takes care of his queen to make sure she’s all comfy in her drunken slumber. He whispers, “I love you Simone Graham,” but on the wake up it looks like sis suffers from sudden amnesia. She pulls the “best friend” card, making it clear that it’s friend zone from here on out. Prisoner’s trifling friend calls to offer to take Simone out to eat and in an act of “let me solidify that Bryson knows this is going nowhere,” Simone agrees to go out with her ex's friend. Once again, a blue-balled Bryson is left sorting out his feelings that Simone continues to perpetually confuse.

It’s important to note that the story of Brymone is not a new one. We’ve seen it in many action movies, comic book flicks, and on “Strangers on a Plane” where the geeky male character is overlooked by the badass female, only to win her affection in the end. Nice guys don’t always finish last, but in Bryson’s case, could it possibly be heading in that direction and is Simone even the heroine worth winning? In browsing through what is essentially the best years of any young adult’s life, Simone had many times to figure out if Bryson was the one for her and yet she chose to ignore her feelings. Unlike David, it’s not like she found Jesus; she hasn’t yet found herself.

One thing she does know is that she cannot lose Bryson because it’s possible she may love and need him more than she’d like to verbally admit. He’s no Prisoner or no flashy member of the entourage. He’s the “gentleman who wears tuxedos and makes sure his homegirl is safe” type of dude and unfortunately, that isn’t one Simone is interested in, for now.

Continue Reading

Top Stories