It’s giving albums. It’s giving artists have locked themselves in the studio to gift fans full bodies of work, instead of popcorn singles. It’s giving proper rollout…for most. It’s giving R&B artists have collectively stepped up to hone in on the fact that R&B has never died and good music takes time.
6LACK kicked off this week’s New Music Friday with the lead single and title track from his forthcoming album, Since I Have A Lover. The LP to end the five-year hiatus since East Atlanta Love Letter is slated for release on March 24. Today, however, Musiq Soulchild teases his new HitBoy-produced album, Victims & Villains, set to debut on March 10. Masego unveils his long-awaited sophomore album, aptly named after himself.
Kali Uchis returns with Red Moon In Venus, her sultry dive into femininity and love while rising sensation, WanMor share their debut EP with adoring fans. With more from Chiiild, Yazmin Lacey, and Jordan Ward, we can assure you there’s something here for both traditional and contemporary R&B lovers.
Masego – Masego
Masego’s self-titled sophomore LP is finally here. Following his 2018 debut album, Lady Lady and holdover EP, Studying Abroad: Extended Stay, this new release is a grown, eloquent, rascally flow “from an artist who thrives on mixing contemplation with extroversion, smoldering romance with knowing humor, studied musical discipline with exhilarating flights of intuition.” He doesn’t rely on the balance of another as this album boasts no features. Masego overall is jazzy, charming, vulnerable, and earnest.
As for the album’s creation after his hiatus, the 29-year-old explains, “I’m very thankful of the journey. This went from a hobby to a job. I was getting all the things that they say that you’re supposed to be fulfilled by and I wasn’t fulfilled by it. I had to do a re-evaluation of a lot of things. I said, ‘I can’t make this what I imagined it to be. So I cannot remain here. I need to move.’”
WanMor – WanMor
WanMor got next. After the brotherly quartet signed to Mary J. Blige’s imprint, Beautiful Life Productions, Inc., under 300 Entertainment and made waves with their nostalgic performance at the 2023 GRAMMYs, the group has finally released their debut self-titled EP.
“We created this EP so y’all can take a peek into our musical minds individually and as a group. With this project, we just wanted to bring the love, fun, and excitement back,” WanMor said. The six-track project exudes the charisma and playful innocence of youthful pining but also highlights their impressive vocal abilities.
Musiq Soulchild – “i remember you my ex”
The second single from his Hit-Boy-produced album, Victims & Villains, serves as a reminder about why a past relationship ended in a particular manner. Coming off the heels of the LP’s lead single, “beat of a slow dance,” both of these releases are strong representations of the crooner stepping into a light.
During a listening session, Soulchild spoke about the album. “It’s not all dark as gloomy,” he explained. “There are conversation pieces. Having an opportunity to work with someone with so much depth, allowed Hit-Boy to just create. This energy was instilled.”
The album lands on March 10.
Kali Uchis – Red Moon In Venus
Kali Uchis’ soft and sultry examination of love is an ode to astrology enthusiasts. As explained by the Colombian-American, 28, “Red Moon In Venus is a timeless, burning expression of desire, heartbreak, faith, and honesty, reflecting the divine femininity of the moon and Venus. The moon and Venus work together to make key aspects of love and domestic life work well. This body of work represents all levels of love—releasing people with love, drawing love into your life, and self-love. It’s believed by many astrologers that the blood moon can send your emotions into a spin, and that’s what I felt represented this body of work best.”
With three sole features from Omar Apollo, Summer Walker, and boyfriend Don Toliver, Uchis doesn’t need many outside energy sources to channel the new light beaming from her work. She’s now more in tune with her purpose as opposed to being driven by materialistic means and it’s evident with this spiritually aligning work of art.
Jordan Ward – FORWARD
Up-and-coming singer Jordan Ward’s debut album is layered with triumph, introspective musing, and triple entendre. “FORWARD, not only pushing our sound and creativity, but pushing to evolve and break cycles,” explained the 27-year-old. “FOR WARD, a dedication to my family and our future. FOUR-WARD, my fourth project, but also a FOREWORD in my story being the debut album!”
With features from the likes of Ryan Trey, Joyce Wrice, and Lido, Ward brings elements of jazz, funk, and softer contemporary R&B to the forefront as the newcomer asserts himself as a force to reckon with.
Yazmin Lacey – Voicenotes
From across the pond comes rising singer Yazmin Lacey with her debut album, Voice Notes.
“I wrote this album for me,” said the songbird in a statement. “Music is the place where I make sense of my feelings, it always has been and ‘Voice Notes’ is no different. It’s a collection of responses to what was going on in my life and the world around me. I wrote this for my own peace of mind… and by track 14 I think I gained some. I hope this record makes people feel good, I want people to feel seen and heard.”
Penned in two years, Voice Notes is a personal reflection of lived experiences where loose thoughts turned into full-fledged storytelling.
Chiiild – Better Luck In The Next Life
Chiiild makes his way back to the home within himself with Better Luck In The Next Life.
It’s an explorative take on his influences merged with the innate passion of someone willing to take risks in every way. When speaking on the LP, Chiiild revealed in a statement, “Better Luck In The Next Life is a bit of an autobiographical record that covers all of the things that I love and some of the things I have gone through. It’s a very honest record that begins to tell my story and answer some of the questions about why I’m doing this in the first place as well as who I am.”
So, if you’re a newer fan of his, this is a solid starting point into his musical journey.