September 27, 2023

The men of R&B got something to say.

Tone Stith, BJ The Chicago Kid, Kenyon Dixon, JAHKOY, Jalen Ngonda, Pleasure P, and Sampha have all either dropped full bodies of work or are teasing upcoming albums with new sonic offerings that would make a handful of their predecessors proud. Tone is tapping into his inner Usher, Kenyon is honing in on the best of the late ’90s, and Jalen is giving us a Motown resurgence.

But don’t think the ladies of R&B are getting left in the dust this week either. Tinashe has released her long-awaited album, BB/ANG3L, while Samara Joy and Arianna Reid share incredible new singles on opposite ends of the emotional spectrum. Then, rising phenoms Rebel Rae and GAWD shared a new EP to embrace the onset of new fans.

This week’s new releases aren’t just cookie-cutter replicas of nostalgic classics. These artists are breathing new life into the genre we know and love, so we urge you to give it a chance. Enjoy VIBE’s top new R&B selects below.

Tone Stith – P.O.V

Tone Stith is in his bag with his new EP, P.O.V. With the crooner’s heart on the line, he highlights his unabashed commitment to his lady, but also showcases a bit of toxicity that’s somewhat expected after being hurt.

He lures you in, falls in love, gets his heart broken, and even owns up to his mishaps—a rarity among men of this generation. Tone reflects on his very first heartbreak on “Girls Like You” and even channels his inner Usher on “I Need You” as it’s very reminiscent of “You Make Me Wanna.”

Regarding the new project, Tone told VIBE, “For my fans that’s been fans, I’m just excited for them to see the growth. I’m excited for them to enter into this next era in this journey with me, and for the new fans, I’m excited to bring them in with this project so they can experience all the music that has been out even before this project.”

Kenyon Dixon, Tiffany Gouché – “’98 Vibes (Do You Right)”

If Kenyon Dixon is going to do anything, it’s make sure that R&B is alive and well. R&B Kenny’s newest drop, “’98 Vibes,” features the incomparable Tiffany Gouché as they recreate the spirit of R&B in 1998.

“We wanted to create something that not only captured the essence of the R&B we love but also paid homage to the unforgettable moments of that era,” Dixon explained to Rated R&B.

The amorous record is a perfect cuffing season soundtrack as Dixon talks his big s**t saying, “Baby, don’t get me fired up, nothing ’bout this d**k basic/ You gon’ get real, real tired of all of this love we makin’/ Cancel your plans, you tiеd up, let ’em know you can’t make it/ I got somе time to spare, and ain’t comin’ up for air” with Gouché’s sweet-nothings trailing right behind.

“I feel you all over me/ I just gotta see,” she sings. “What you sound like when you feel good/ I can take the blame/ You know it’s on your mind, what you wanna do?” These two gon’ get you right, whether you’re ready to fall in love or lust.

BJ The Chicago Kid feat. Coco Jones – “Spend The Night”

Y’all aren’t ready for BJ The Chicago Kid’s new album, but his new duet with Coco Jones is your fair warning to prepare accordingly. The feel-good bop is a farewell to summer nights, and a warm welcome for fall. The Yeti Beats production will spark a long-term groove as BJ and Coco affectionately flirt over the hypnotizing melody.

“Music is like a journey, and with our new song, we’ve taken an exciting detour from our standard sounds. It’s an experimental experience. Sometimes, you have to wander off the beaten path to discover a whole new world of creativity,” BJ said in a statement about the collaboration.

Jones added, “Working with BJ was such an awesome experience. I am always so inspired by artists who love what they do. I think this song, with our tones together, is something really special.”

“Spend The Night” follows prior releases, “Liquor Store In The Sky” featuring Freddie Gibbs, and the LP’s lead single, “Forgot Your Name.”

JAHKOY – Pretty Conversation

JAHKOY’s new album is easily one of this year’s best and that’s nothing to take lightly. After releasing “More Than Anything” about an ex-lover who left a permanent stain on his heart and “Man On Fire,” a song about feeling an intense spark with someone and wondering if the feeling’s mutual, the crooner continues to bare his soul on Pretty Conversation. With inspiration from the likes of Usher, Craig David, and Justin Timberlake, the Toronto native is remixing nostalgia in a refreshing way.

He explained via statement, “‘Pretty Conversation’ is a strong feeling of connection when you are getting to know someone, and the conversation is just flowing and you find yourself constantly thinking about this person and want to know more, You want to know the Good and bad about them, and all their perfect imperfections of what makes them who they are. It’s connecting on a more emotional and more mental level, even during the times where you are not seeing eye to eye, everything will be good because you have each other.”

Jalen Ngonda – Come Around And Love Me

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again—if Motown at its peak needed a modern revival, Jalen Ngonda’s latest has got it covered. With his debut album, Come Around And Love Me, the 28-year-old delivers a deeply-rooted audible love letter to the sounds of the past with an updated presence. Somehow, he seamlessly blended traditional with contemporary as his riveting voice takes listeners through the motions and brings that timeless soul to the 21st century.

“It is my complete pleasure to give to you this body of work I call ‘Come Around And Love Me,’” said Ngonda on Instagram. “May this album fill with you joys and love for it is; Love that keeps us together especially when expressed through the form of sound.”

He may just have one album under his belt, but it already feels like he’s a seasoned professional. Catch him on the road as he conquers the international circuit before making his way to North America later this year.

Tinashe – BB/ANG3L

Tinashe has been on a run for the alternative, genre-bending R&B girlies since 333 and has returned with her latest work of art, BB/ANG3L.

“Thank you so much for listening, for allowing me to share my heart with you, for accepting me as my authentic self, for holding space for me,” the singer said on Instagram when speaking on the new seven-track offering. “Thank you so much to everyone who rides for me through it all, I wouldn’t be here without YOU. Thank you so much to my team and collaborators for working so hard and supporting my vision fully and undoubtably, it means sooo much to me. And lastly thank you to the ever mysterious universe for the experiences and the lessons on this beautiful joyride through life, I am SO thankful every day.”

Whether it’s the pulsating nature of “Gravity,” the rawness of “Treason,” or the spellbound grip of “Needs,” it’s Tinashe at her finest.

Samara Joy – “Tight”

Samara Joy is back. The two-time Grammy winner’s new single, “Tight,” is a self-produced masterpiece in joyful jazz. Despite only being in her early 20s, the singer’s talent is a direct descendant of Ella Fitzgerald, Dizzy Gillespie, Sarah Vaughan, and those alike. Her infectious scatting and powerful range are effortlessly displayed on her new record. It was initially penned for Betty Carter and is a fan-favorite during Samara’s live sets.

As her fans continue to indulge in Linger Awhile (Deluxe Edition), the old soul (or what TikTokers like to call “the first Gen Z jazz singing star) is prepping us for what’s to come from.

Pleasure P (Marcus Ramone) – “Galaxy”

Pleasure P, formally Marcus Cooper, has rebranded himself yet again as Marcus Ramone. The Pretty Ricky frontman’s new single, “Galaxy,” was co-produced with his mentor Keith Sweat. It embodies Marcus stepping into his “grown” era and the G. VISUALS-directed video reflects this.

The crooner is unapologetically ready to have his sex symbol ways and seductive aura on full display as we reintroduces himself to fans (outside of RSVP and Pretty Ricky). To mark this new chapter, Pleasure P will be hitting the road with Mario and Ne-Yo on the latter’s Champagne And Roses Tour in Robin Thicke’s place. This will be his first time touring with these men, but Marcus did share the stage with the “Just A Friend” singer during the infamous Men of R&B Verzuz in June 2022.

Arianna Reid – “Soulmate”

Rising sensation, Arianna Reid’s “Soulmate” is an apt sequel to her debut single, “Love Heals All,” but in this go ’round, she focuses on the beauty of romantic love instead of self-love. She hopes listeners can feel the love permeating from the record as many of us still search for our soulmate or enjoy the bliss of having found our person. Both singles were birthed from her visual EP and are equally soothing in nature.

Sampha – “Only”

Sampha’s new single, “Only,” stems from his highly-anticipated, sophomore album LAHAI. The project’s title stems from his middle name, passed down by his grandfather. On August 24, the crooner took to Twitter explaining, “‘LAHAI;’ My grandfather’s name, My middle name, My next musical chapter, My next album. Fever Dreams. Continuums. Dancing. Generations. Syncopation. Bridges. Grief. Motherlands. Love. Spirit. Fear. Flesh. Flight.”

Compared to his Mercury Prize winning debut album, Process (2017), Sampha is now basking in the beauty of the journey to “radical acceptance and joy in the human condition” as opposed to figuring out his place while managing grief and loss. The 14-track LP arrives on Oct. 20.

Rebel Rae – Take All My Tears

Rebel Rae’s soulful voice, gutting lyricism, and infectious melodies are a recipe for success with her new EP, Take All My Tears.

With the title track, she explained to Urban Mag, “[it] definitely feels like a pillar in reflection for what I’m looking to contribute to the world as an artist. It’s powerful, fun, and really all encompassing of how and what I’ve grown into as an artist.”

As she guides listeners down the path of love and life’s complexities, it seems Rebel Rae happened to find herself along the way and continues to flourish in her career, which she describes as “a blooming rose bush.” With co-signs from the late Otis Redding’s estate, Leela James, and Raheem DeVaughn, Rae is confirming that her star power is here to stay.

GAWD – Cathedral City

Raedio‘s newest signees, GAWD, won us over with their mesmerizing debut EP, Cathedral City. As they merge the worlds of dance music and R&B, the duo—comprised of Alana and Alayna—represent something that can be simply defined as ethereal.

“We wanted to imagine a world where we existed as nuanced and varied beings, in all sounds, genres, roles and archetypes. We wanted to see ourselves as the main characters in our own stories, flawed and complex and petty and evolved and everything in between,” said the women in a statement. GAWD stands for “good a** women deserve,” which also symbolizes “a declaration of emancipation and empowerment […] Through their acronym, they proclaim their right to embrace the greatness that springs forth from their artistic pilgrimage,” according to The Hype Magazine.

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