Well, well, well, it’s that time again. While combing through this week’s new R&B, it felt like an indie takeover. Though somewhat unrelated, this bar—”I never put my faith in a n***a/ b***h I’ma die independent”—from Megan Thee Stallion‘s “Plan B” replayed on a loop in my mind. So, please note that the key word for this week’s selection is independence.
Budding acts like Jon Vinyl, Lendryx, and Taite Imogen are making vulnerability cool again. Keke Palmer has returned to music with her second solo release since giving birth to her first child. Angie Stone tapped Musiq Soulchild for their new duet, “The Gym”—and no, it’s not about what you think it is…technically. Meeanwhile, Bree Runway and Khalid’s “voices marry together perfectly” on their new collaboration, “Be The One.”
Whether you’re waiting for music from someone whose career you’ve followed from the beginning or someone you’re discovering today, check out VIBE’s picks for this week’s R&B tunes.
Keke Palmer – “Waiting”
Keke “booked and busy” Palmer is reminding her fans that she is a multihyphenate mogul— an executive, a new mom, an actress, and an artist. Her new single poses the question, “Is love one big waiting game?” She sings, “I been waiting, impatient/ For you to show me love/ I been waiting, impatient/ For you to be about us.”
With the accompanying visual, which premiered on her network KeyTV, viewers can’t help but wonder if it was love that landed her in this high security prison. The feeling can make you do irrational things. Like any good concept, it has our minds racing, but this mini-movie reminds us of the days when artists put true effort into their visuals—so yeah, let’s keep that going.
Jon Vinyl – “No Feelings”
Jon Vinyl’s “Feelings” bleeds of a failed romantic encounter.
“I’m here to speak the words that a lot of people in relationships find hard to confront,” he explained. “Growing up, my mom would tell me the things that bother you about your partner at the beginning of your relationship will most likely be the same reason(s) why you break up; and she was not wrong. With the release of ‘No Feelings,’ the goal was to ensure a profound level of ruthless honesty was maintained, while taking my listeners on a personal journey through realization and heartbreak. I truly loved putting this piece together because it feels ferocious and liberating to cut the strings loose.”
Q featuring Baby Rose – “UNDERSTAND”
Q Marsden and Baby Rose are the duo nobody knew they needed. Following news of the co-headlining Through The Soul Tour, the pair has released their new single, “UNDERSTAND” from Q’s new LP, Soul, PRESENT.
The alternative track centers around the best part of partnership: mutual understanding. The release also comes a week before Rose’s new album, Through and Through. The LP is apparently nothing like her previous release as she’s since been in the habit of carving out her own lane and creating records rooted in a newly found sense of self and daring audacity.
Angie Stone Feat. Musiq Soulchild – “The Gym”
One thing Angie Stone fans don’t have to worry about is the singer switching the formula. Her new record appeals to her core audience as it has a classic foundation with a modern flair. It is soulful, relatable, and attracts those ready to shed dead weight. Tapping Musiq Soulchild for the feature was a clear indicator that the assignment was understood, especially coming off the heels of his joint album with HitBoy.
“Why he keep testing my strength/ This ain’t gon’ work out with him/ It’s nothing like the gym,” she sings as she realizes that doing a HIIT workout would be easier than forcing this dead relationship. “The Gym” is the second single from her upcoming album under her new label deal.
Taite Imogen – “Here”
If you’re a fan of Monica, Solange, and Mahalia, then Taite Imogen is for you. The UK-bred songstress has unleashed her new single, “Here.” Her angelic vocals power the ballad and it’s easy to get lost in the melody.
“Here” ends her three year hiatus and is the first single from her forthcoming, untitled EP slated for release this summer. With Imogen bellowing the pain of missing someone, we encourage you to turn this record on when the distance seems unbearable and you need to find solace in music.
Bree Runway Feat. Khalid – “Be The One”
Bree Runway and Khalid’s duet oozes blossoming romance. The two detail the blissful experience of falling in love, but nervously fighting the process of it. Do you know how scary that actually is?
“This collaboration is special to me for more than one reason,” said Bree in a statement. “I’m obsessed with this song; our voices marry together perfectly. It magically came together from a hangout in the studio; I love Khalid for his light and his incredible character, I’m really proud to call him a friend, and now musical collaborator. This release will be major, very excited for the world to hear!”
Khalid added, “I’ve been a supporter of Bree since long before I even met her, and I have always been a fan of her artistry. She has always been a superstar in my eyes and I’m beyond excited to share this moment and collaboration with someone who I can call a genuine friend!”
The pop undertone keeps the record playful, enforcing the notion that falling in love should be fun as they sing, “I can see the tears in your eyes when you look in mine/ Told you for the thousandth time, you should be the one for me/ Should I stay here tonight? Baby, you decide /Hopin’ you’d be the one/you could be the one.”
Lendryx – “Just My Turn”
Meet Lendryx—a Los Angeles based singer-songwriter with an affinity for traditional R&B and a falsetto that’d impress any R&B OG. On his new record, he combines his romantic strife with his tenure in the military. Lendryx emotionally conveys the fears of losing a love so crucial that it seems scarier than fighting in a war.
In a statement, he revealed, “I’ve always wanted to create a record that blends my love for R&B with my experiences serving in the military, but is still relatable to all. Many men & women in service agree that no combat scenario is scarier than losing the ones they love at home, so I hope this is able to express those feelings on their behalf.”