August marks ending of the year’s hottest season, as well as the fizzling of heated summer flings, befitting of the plethora of R&B music released this summer. The resurgence of authentic R&B is apparent with crème de la crème offerings straight out of the emerging R&B scene, including cuts from Tone Stith, 6lack, Ella Mai, and Ye Ali, among others.
Meanwhile, Grammy Award-winning singer Ty Dolla Sign is playing a great role in the movement by quietly lending his wonderful songwriting and vocal talents to almost the entire hip-hop industry this year. There’s an obvious thirst for good R&B music, so no more crying about when or if R&B will make a comeback because it’s already here. All one has to do is pay attention and listen.
Here are ten of the best R&B songs to wrap up summer.
Tone Stith Feat. Ty Dolla $ign — “Take It There”
Last summer Drake had Tone Stith’s name buzzing after re-posting an impressive cover of the burgeoning R&B singer crooning the More Life cut, “Madiba Riddim.” And, it’s no wonder — Tone Stith’s career is guided by YEMG’s Jas Prince — the same man who discovered Drake and convinced Lil Wayne to sign him to Young Money Entertainment. Aside from the really big co-sign Drake endowed upon Tone, the 23-year-old is extremely talented. He can sing, play instruments, produce, dance, and write really good songs, including Chris Brown’s 2015 platinum hit record “Liquor.” It only makes sense for the Jersey-bred talent to work with the equally talented Ty Dolla Sign, who has been popping up on many artists’ records this year, including Post Malone, Kanye West, Teyana Taylor, Drake, Buddy, 6lack, and YG.
On “Take It There,” listeners get a taste of Tone’s sweet, soothing voice complemented by Ty’s gritty and soulful vocals over the song’s sultry production, which is provided by Tone himself in conjunction with longtime producers The PRBLMSLVRS.
6lack — “Nonchalant”
Ahead of 6lack’s oncoming release of East Atlanta Love Letter on September 14, the LoveRenaissance-signed artist appeases fans waiting for his forthcoming album with the purifying “Nonchalant,” produced by Stwo & LUCIANBLOMKAMP. East Atlanta Love Letter will be the follow-up to 6lack’s 2016 debut album Free Black, and his first solo appearance after his feature on Khalid’s “OTW” with Ty Dolla Sign. As mellow and chill as “Nonchalant” is, the song aggressively sounds the alarm for his love of music and the fact that he’ll always make music for his fans no matter how tired he may get.
“I’m so f*cking tired, somehow I still find the time/ To care a little more about my rhymes / To care a little more about my peers / To think a little less about my fears / To care a little more about your ears,” 6lack sincerely expresses on the track.
It’s not clear if “Nonchalant” will live on his upcoming album release, but it will be another song the “PRBLMS” singer will be able to perform on his upcoming North American tour this fall, which has Tierra Whack, Summer Walker, They, and Boogie as supporting acts on select dates.
Ella Mai — “Trip”
Ella Mai is having an incredible moment in 2018 following the explosive popularity of “Boo’d Up,” a year after its release. And with that comes another vibe helmed by the London native titled “Trip,” which is similarly blessed by the beat-making magic of DJ Mustard. “Trip” is both cathartic and candid. Mai becomes self-aware about possibly doing a bit too much in her relationship when words and actions sometimes can go misinterpreted due to insecurities.
“Sometimes we misinterpret, sometimes we misunderstand, sometimes we make mistakes,” she says in a clip about the song. “It doesn’t always make sense at the time… but awareness is key… ‘Trip’ … my bad for tripping on you.” The vulnerability of Ella Mai’s music seems to be her forte, which makes connecting to her music too easy.
The British R&B singer’s recently just wrapped up her completely sold out “Boo’d Up Tour” in Seattle, August 28.
Ye Ali — “T-Shirt Interlude”
Keeping in the spirit of the sexy, sensual R&B tune isYe Ali with “T-Shirt Interlude” featuring TYuS, produced by Jordan Manswell. Ali begs his lover to put his t-shirt on with his sultry vocals and promises to love her right all night. “T-Shirt Interlude” is the perfect song to add to any made-for-the-bedroom playlists as it maintains a few classic elements of R&B: slow, sensual, love-making. Expect nothing less from the R&B heartthrob who has been on his music grind for years and from the sound of it, may start receiving the shine he deserves very soon. His song “Oceans” was even sampled on Swae Lee’s Sremmlife 3 jam, “Offshore” featuring Young Thug.
Ye Ali is currently working on his long-awaited project TRAPHOUSEJODECI2. Although the follow-up to Ali’s previous EP of the same name doesn’t have a release date yet, it will certainly be worth the wait.
Nao Feat. SIR — “Make It Out Alive
British singer Nao released her debut studio album For All We Know over two years ago — and it topped our best R&B albums of the year at the time. Now, she’s preparing to unleash her sophomore effort. Although her upcoming project’s title has yet to be revealed, “Make It Out Alive” featuring TDE’s SiR is a clear indication that her album’s release is near.
With her self-described “wonky funk” sound, Nao self-reflects and explores the difficulties that the turbulent late-twenties can bring on “Make It Out Alive.” She wonders with her piercing vocals: “How do we make it out alive? And how do we make it?”
Bringing the infectious coming-of-age song together is SiR, who validates Nao’s existential line of questioning throughout the song.
Jeremih & Ty Dolla Sign — “New Level”
Jeremih and Ty Dolla Sign will be releasing their collaborative project MihTy soon and following the success of the Billboard-topping single “The Light,” the musical duo have put forth another record slated to be on the project, “New Level” featuring Lil Wayne.
Produced by none other than Yung Berg — AKA Hitmaka — the song borrows from Dru Hill’s 1996 single, “In My Bed.” There’s no doubt when Jeremih, Ty Dolla Sign, and Berg cook up in the studio, nothing less than fire, quality R&B music will come from it. Undisputably, these three make really good music together.
MihTy was supposed to drop August 24, but was pushed back without a new date announcement.
Blood Orange — “Saint”
“Saint” has many layers of sound through its colorful, pop synth-bubbly production, complemented by the various vocalists who make an appearance on the song. Everything about “Saint” is the vein of what is expected from a Blood Orange record.
H.E.R. — “Let’s Get Away”
Following the release of her EP I Used to Know Her: The Prelude, H.E.R. sings of disappearing with her lover on “Let’s Get Away” which doubles as a respectable homage to the late Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin’s 1972 classic soul song “Day Dreaming.”
Aretha didn’t care where she and her boo went on her version and neither does H.E.R. as she yearns to kiss underwater in Fiji and capture loving memories in the Himalayas as possible destinations for escape to get the perfect moment with “the one.”
Dali Voodoo — “September”
Texas native Dali Voodoo made his official move to the city of Los Angeles this summer and “September” serves as the up-and-comer’s first release since the huge change in locations.
Voodoo takes on Earth, Wind & Fire‘s “September” and turns it around to reflect a relationship he once had during the first month of fall.
“I know you that you remember what we did last September,” he sings on the catchy hook. Dali’s deep singing voice carries the track while a lighter, yet soulful complimenting voice lays atop of Dali’s strong vocals like icing on a cupcake.