R&B is coming through swingin’ this week. Daniel Caesar has released NEVER ENOUGH, his third studio album, a first under his new deal with Republic Records. Mahalia, Leon Thomas, and Kiana Ledé tease their full-length projects coming later this year, while KEM commemorates 20 years as a Motown signee with the arrival of his live album.
Whether you’re in need of a reminder to focus on the bigger picture, have to circle back to read a relationship’s terms and conditions, are using your past experiences as a lesson to brighten your romantic future, or simply feel like enough is never enough, dive into VIBE’s top picks for this week’s new R&B music.
Daniel Caesar – NEVER ENOUGH
Daniel Caesar’s new album, NEVER ENOUGH, may fall into that “third time’s a charm” sentiment, but his past releases were far from flops. With his major label debut, this “cancelled” crooner is back with a story to tell. “I wanna make music that leads people somewhere. Truly inspiring music,” he told Apple Music R&B Now host Nadeska Alexis.
After teasing fans with a series of loose singles since 2019’s CASE STUDY 01, Caesar feels he found a “sweet spot” with NEVER ENOUGH. “I’m not good at faking things,” he explained. “So if I am making something and I’m not impressed by it, even if it’s really good or people… Everyone listens to it and they’re like, ‘I love it, this is the one. This is the one.’ If I’m not impressed by it, then it’s like, it’s painful to me.”
The LP boasts of limited features from Ty Dolla $ign, Omar Apollo, serpentwithfeet, and Mustafa. It’s evident he’s exploring more of his emotional range throughout the album and using his music to combat his selective privacy.
Pink Sweat$ – “Moments”
In preparation of his new single, Pink Sweat$ cleared out his Instagram profile as today’s way of digitally introducing a new chapter. With “Moments,” the Philly native invites listeners into the inner workings of his heart. It’s an innately vulnerable ballad laced together with dominant guitar strums.
In yet another record presumably for his wife, he sings, “Keep me there in your pocket/ The one right next to your heart/ Lock it up with a locket/ I promise, girl, we won’t stop.” It’s dreamy and sweet while also riddled with security and assurance. The singer-songwriter has not confirmed whether this is a precursor to his next album—a follow-up to 2022’s Pink Moon— but allow yourself to be immersed in the soft life with this enchanting record.
Mahalia – “Terms and Conditions”
After revealing her sophomore album’s completion, Mahalia has dropped her newest single, “Terms and Conditions.”
When speaking about the release, the British songbird gushed in a statement, “I’m quite emotional about this release finally being everybody else’s! It’s almost like a love letter to myself whilst being a warning to others. It’s all about setting boundaries and deciding what things I would no longer compromise on. I made this song with my wonderful friend and artist, Raye and two of my favorite producers, The Elements. This record is just the first taste from my upcoming second album and I can’t wait to see if people like it!”
Since the November 2022 release of “Bag Of You,” the 24-year-old has been experiencing deep growth both personally and professionally—which is evident in her new music. On “Terms and Conditions,” she welcomes fans to reminisce on the “lovely [and] painful situations” of their life in an effort to make themselves better (considering growth would otherwise be obsolete).
Leon Thomas – “Crash & Burn”
After reaching his “Breaking Point,” Leon Thomas is ready to “Crash & Burn.” His new single, the fourth from his long-awaited debut album, Electric Dusk, is an emotive albeit reflective musing about a series of past lovers. The crooner does take a few specific jabs at his exes when taking about living in Mississippi and dating a 23-year-old who sages yet exudes bad vibes.
The singer-songwriter did explain in a statement, “This is a song about yearning for a meaningful relationship, but only finding surface-level and materialistic bonds and the emotional toll it takes on you. It’s the journey of feeling numb to the possibility of finding true love at all.”
Electric Dusk will feature previously released tracks like the Ty Dolla $ign-assisted “Love Jones” and the fan favorite, “Breaking Point.”
Kiana Ledé Feat. Ella Mai – “Jealous”
To celebrate her 26th birthday and the third anniversary of her debut album, Kiana Ledé is back with a new single, “Jealous.” With the help of Ella Mai, the women get vulnerable about insecurities within their unhealthy relationships as their partner gets the reap the benefits of having their cake and eating it too.
Mai sings, “No, I ain’t never been good at hidin’ my feelings/ I don’t wanna comе across too strong/ I tried my best for so long/ But I’d be damnеd if I had to share” while Ledé adds, “I ain’t gon’ tell you to make a commitment/ Should know what you’re missing/ But that s**t ain’t my business.”
The latter took to Instagram to explain why she chose to name the record after this feeling. “Jealous. It’s the emotion a lot of us are scared to admit we feel bc it can bring out the worst in us if you let it. So instead of actin crazy just listen to this song,” Ledé wrote.
Dinner Party Feat. Arin Ray And 9th Wonder – “For Granted”
Dinner Party—Terrace Martin, Robert Glasper, and Kamasi Washington—enlist Arin Ray and 9th Wonder to sweep listeners off their feet with “For Granted,” the newest single from their forthcoming album, Enigmatic Society.
Following the March release of the Ant Clemons-featured “Insane,” which fuses Mtume‘s “Juicy Fruit,” the trio confirmed the full LP will be available on April 14. Ray is set to appear on three of the nine tracks—”Breathe,” “Love Love,” and of course, this week’s release. It’s their first follow-up since their 2020 self-titled album and its Grammy-nominated deluxe edition titled Dessert.
The arrival of the new album will coincide with Dinner Party’s Coachella debut. “I’m so happy people are putting us on that big of a stage, so we can give them some real beautiful, vibe-y a** music,” Martin told SPIN. “I’m excited, man. I’m always fascinated with seeing an idea grow and complete. That’s what I’m addicted to in this whole game.”
KEM – Anniversary – The Live Album
As his SOUL II SOUL Tour nears its end, KEM celebrates his 20th anniversary as a Motown signee with his first live album, aptly titled Anniversary.
“Celebrating the 20th Anniversary of my signing to the Motown label is exceptionally significant for me,” the crooner expressed in a statement. “As a young man creating music, only in my wildest dreams could I envision a life that could encapsulate the magnitude of a moment like this. My heart is filled with gratitude to my Motown family for having faith in my debut album, KEMISTRY, and continuing to support my musical journey of love. Having the last two decades of my career culminate in a live album recorded in Detroit, in the city and with the people who first heard ‘Love Calls’ and helped put me on the map, is epic.”
The LP proves the 53-year-old artist is still destined for longevity with its timeless gems like “I Can’t Stop Loving You,” “Why Would You Stay,” “Nobody,” “Lie To Me,” and “Stuck On You.”