June 23, 2024

R&B has done it again. This week’s music releases feel just like the sweet manifestation of a lover’s dream.

T-Pain is back to his roots sans autotune as he embraces his distinct tone. Duets are dominating the industry as acts like Lila Iké, H.E.R., Elmiene, Leon Thomas, Victor Ray, and Debbie transport us back to the late ’90s and early 2000s with their musical magic. Vedo and Trevor Jackson go more in-depth with their respective releases as Durand Bernarr entices fans to indulge with his music in an alternative way. Meanwhile, Jeremy Pope reintroduces himself.

Ready to catch a groove? You know what to do—check out VIBE‘s new R&B picks below.

T-Pain – “On This Hill”

T-Pain’s singing voice is one of the best parts about the multi-faceted artist, and he’s flexing his skills once again on his new single, “On This Hill.”

The self-love anthem aligns perfectly with Mental Health Awareness Month and boasts confidence about being enabled to stand up for yourself. The visual for the record is a soul-stirring, fireside live performance of T-Pain and it elevates the song’s rawness.

“This song is really about refusing to be gaslit anymore,” the crooner said in a statement. “It’s about coming to a realization that I have to stand up for myself. Over the years, that has just been something I’ve had to open my eyes to and learn how to deal with it. So yeah, I’ll die on this hill, ha!” This emotional ballad follows his 2023 live album, On Top Of The Covers, and his recently released collab album, The Bluez Brothas.

Lila Iké feat. H.E.R. – “He Loves Us Both”

Lila Iké and H.E.R. have added themselves to the wave of female R&B singers’ collaborations, and we’re here for it. The rising Jamaican songbird has partnered with the Oscar-winning powerhouse for “He Loves Us Both,” a “Boy Is Mine“-esque spin on how they’re both dating the same man. In the song’s visual, that man is Joey Bada$$.

As Iké worked on the soulful record —which has a distinctly infectious melody—she thought she needed a “dope female artist” to complete it. H.E.R. came to mind. The two met in 2021 and for Iké, their sessions were life-changing.

“The first time I played this song for her she immediately got in the booth and so effortlessly made it into the masterpiece it is today,” Iké gushed. “[…] “This song is one of my proudest moments of my career.”

H.E.R. added, “Lila is an incredible artist and we had fun in the studio! ‘He Loves Us Both’ has so many musical elements. She cannot be boxed into a genre!!!” 

“He Loves Us Both” is the lead single from Iké’s debut album set to drop later this year.

Victor Ray feat. Debbie – “Falling Into Place”

Victor Ray and Debbie’s duet is a shooting star blazing into our orbit. Their tones complement one another so well as they sing about entering into a new romance with caution while hoping it’ll all work out for good. With new love, you’re met with this flood of emotions. This song takes you on a similar ride.

When choosing to hop on the track, Debbie revealed, “I fell in love with the backing vocal stacks when I first heard ‘Falling Into Place’ – it was a goosebump moment, so jumping on the track was a no brainer. I live for music that makes you feel something, this is exactly what the track does for me.”

The chilling record will appear on Ray’s forthcoming EP, i tried, slated for release on June 14.

Durand Bernarr feat. Free Nationals – “Fist Bump”

Durand Bernarr’s new EP, En Route, is already available for fans on EVEN, but it’s slowly making its way to general DSPs, and we urge you to press play immediately.

His new single, “Fist Bump” is a funky groove that wholly consumes listeners. Bernarr uses the melody as a vocal playground to flaunt his range and musical ear. He is clearly a descendant of Earth, Wind, and Fire, and those alike. So tap in, and let’s fist bump together.

Elmiene feat. Leon Thomas – “Sweetness (Remix)”

This is one of them ones! We were already a fan of Elmiene’s adoring ballad, “Sweetness,” but adding Leon Thomas into the mix brought us back to the early 2000s when crooners linked up and made magic. “We’re like Case and Joe, breaking pictures in 2024…,” teased the British phenom on Instagram when announcing the remix.

Not to mention, having these two together on the track proves that Elmiene is here to stay. He’s really making things shake in R&B, and Thomas’ duets are next level. Listen to his “Breaking Point (Remix)” with Victoria Monét.

Jeremy Pope – “U, Lost”/“What I Gotta Do”

EGOT-nominated sensation Jeremy Pope is extending his talents into music as he announces his debut EP, LAST NAME: POPE, which arrives on June 21. Prior to its release, he dropped the two lead singles, “U, Lost” and “What I Gotta Do.”

Written and produced by Pope, each song represents a new version of himself that he offers to the world. The twofer also cements that Pope isn’t here to be a singles artist. He hopes to tell a story—his story— and invite people into his heart, sonically and visually. Both records fall under the alt-R&B spectrum and entrance you in different ways, but still are strong, captivating introductions for Pope, the artist.

Trevor Jackson – He Don’t Know

Trevor Jackson continues to lure fans into his world with his new EP, He Don’t Know. His music provides rare insight from the perspective of the side dude—fully aware of his stance. The sequel to his last EP, Heads Up, showcases the frustrations he faces in and out of the bedroom as well as the problems millennials face when dating.

Sonically, the EP isn’t sad. It’s more of a juxtaposition to the vulnerability that Jackson emotes. The title track is an afrobeats-laced record that could be played at a day party. “Happy Home” feels like something Jackson should’ve collaborated on with Blxst. The standout track is the Haben-assisted track, “Jog Your Memory”; the angelic presence of Haben balances out Jackson’s raspier vibrato.

Vedo – Next Chapter

Vedo returns with his new album, Next Chapter, which vividly marks the crooner’s next musical era. The LP kicks off with the uptempo jam, “Your Love Is All I Need” and continues with a series of anthems dedicated to love and lust like the sultry “Tap Out.” It rounds out with its sole feature from Rotimi on “No Worries.”

For the crooner, the album represents “victory, prosperity and overcoming obstacles in my life and in my career.” Vedo noted, “This project is a poetic reminder that music isn’t work. It’s fun.”

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