R&B is doing great, sweetie—contrary to what select out-of-touch individuals have to say about it.
While we collectively wait for Beyoncé’s highly anticipated RENAISSANCE visuals, musicians like Robert Glasper and PJ Morton have released the deluxe editions of their already-impactful albums. Meanwhile, we have phenoms like Pink Sweat$, Sebastian Mikael, and Tiara Thomas with new records available for our listening pleasure and rising talents, Eli Derby and Mikhala Jené, ready to enter the R&B ring with their latest offerings.
Whether you’re in the mood for some quiet time with Bae or need some music that awakens your soul, choose from our top R&B picks for this week.
Robert Glasper – Black Radio III (Supreme Edition)
Black Radio III already had fans in a chokehold earlier this year with dynamic releases like “Better Than I Imagined” with H.E.R. and Meshell Ndegeocello. After teasing this follow-up with the posthumous Mac Miller collaboration, “Therapy pt. 2,” we couldn’t have expected bonus tracks like “My Queen” featuring Luke James and the reimagined rendition of “Voyage To Atlantis” with Bilal and Alex Isley. The latter just spoke with VIBE about honoring her legacy as an Isley and with this Supreme Edition, which is definitely better than we imagined.
PJ Morton – Watch The Sun (Deluxe)
PJ Morton, who we’ve already said is in the midst of his greatest musical life, proves that just when you thought it couldn’t get any better, it does. With Watch The Sun Deluxe, not only has the genre-bending hybrid gifted fans with all the original tracks’ instrumentals, but he has added two bonus tracks: a harrowing ballad, “If It Wasn’t For You,” and a female-led sequel of “The Better Benediction,” featuring Lisa Knowles-Smith, Le’Andria Johnson, Keke Wyatt, Kierra Sheard and Tasha Cobbs Leonard.
Fans can listen to the extended LP below, but tune in for the “The Better Benediction Pt. 2.” music video at 12 p.m. ET on Sunday, Oct. 16 on YouTube.
Sebastian Mikael – PHILEO
Stemming from the Greek word for meaning a strong affection between friends, PHILEO, the latest project from Sebastian Mikael is all about platonic love and the act is a general sense. Thus far, we’ve found ourselves obsessed with “Security Code” and “Scene 1.” If you’re more neo-soul/alternative R&B leaning, this is the perfect EP to add to your favorites.
Mikhala Jené – The Missing Piece
Def Jam’s newest artist, Mikhala Jené, is here to earn her place as a R&B darling. The Missing Piece, follow-up to her debut EP, Carolina Blues, is a layered path that highlights her search of peace.
Jené expressed in a statement, “The Missing Peace has a few meanings for me. First is my journey to find peace and make peace with a lot of the heartbreak and disappointments I’ve experienced. The second is my passion to plant seeds of self-accountability to choose peace instead of toxicity. A subject I feel is often missing from the popular conversation. The last is my journey as a woman to activate the divine feminine within myself and others to heal whatever is missing. Healing is never final it’s forever. Overall, I strive to make music that can be a mirror of the human experience and inspire evolution.”
Before you get into the project, ease into the emotional ride with its accompanying short.
Pink Sweat$ Feat. A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie – “Lay Up N Chill”
Pink Sweat$ brings A Boogie along for the ride with the arrival of his newest ballad, “Lay Up N Chill.” The loving crooner shared with VIBE exclusively the details on the birth of the record. “That song really came about having an actual good time,” he explained. “[My wife and I were] chilling, we start sipping and realizing when the vibes get high, and it’s just like, ‘All right, I want to lay up and chill with you.’ Anybody in a relationship or if you’re dating in general, sometimes you meet a person and they have their character on, like we all do. And once you start sipping, the characters start going away, and all of a sudden they’re saying things they wasn’t saying before, doing things.”
Sweat$ recently ended his time opening for Alicia Keys during the domestic run of her Alicia + Keys Tour and headlined an intimate tour across Asia soon after.
Eli Derby – “Recognize”
Eli Derby has all the makings of the next best thing when it comes to the men of R&B. As part of the thriving LVRN crew, he may be young, but the budding sensation sure is ready to take over the game. This sweet track with subtle 808s is about giving one the attention they deserve and being honest enough to admit you have eyes for nobody else. Now, fans are just wondering when the full length project is coming because we need it immediately.
JON VINYL – PALISADE
This enchanting, emotive project is a pleasant listen. Though hard to select a favorite, overall, it’s something worth sitting with. Processing feelings takes time and introspection isn’t meant to be rushed.
For Jon Vinyl, “Palisade is a curated soundtrack of my thoughts and emotions.” He explained in a statement, “A lot of people aren’t comfortable confronting their feelings. When they’re upset, they lash out. When they’re happy, the whole world sees it on the gram. There’s almost this subconscious friction between what one feels versus how they choose to act on those feelings. This project really allowed me to regain internal awareness and ride the wave of emotions, rather than letting them control me. And I take those experiences straight to pen and paper. It all came to life in the most perfect way possible through Palisade. At its core, this EP was made for people who feel.”
Catch him on tour with Tone Stith this Fall.
Tiara Thomas – “Don’t Talk Back”
Oscar and Grammy-winning songwriter Tiara Thomas returns to music with her first solo release in two years. This sultry slow jam is still in the vein of her signature style with a hint of experimentation and a showcase of growth.
She shared, “I wanted to come back with something fun that showcases the new energy I’m bringing […] I don’t think it’s what people expect to hear. It’s sexy and fun and edgy, but smooth.”