Sometimes the best new R&B can be hard to find, but there are plenty of great rhythm-and-blues tunes to get into if you have the time to sift through the hundreds of newly released songs every week. So that R&B heads can focus on listening to what they really love in its true form, we’ll be offering a digest of the best new R&B songs that fans of the genre should hear every Friday.
This week’s edition is highlighted by British singer Nao’s gracious return with her third album, And Then Life Was Beautiful. It’s a powerful body of work that arrives nearly three years after her excellent sophomore effort, Saturn. On the singles side of things, Giveon and Lucky Daye kick off what appears to be new eras in their careers with “For Tonight” and “Over,” respectively.
Nao — And Then Life Was Beautiful
Nearly three years after she impressed with her sophomore album Saturn, British singer Nao is back in action with her third album And Then Life Was Beautiful. The 13-track album is supported by guest appearances from Adekunle Gold, Lucky Daye, Lianne La Havas, and Serpentwithfeet. Altogether, it’s an excellent project that offers hope to those who have grown immensely skeptical about life.
Giveon — “For Tonight”
Long Beach’s Giveon was, without a doubt, one of the best gifts the music world received in 2020 thanks to his two EPs, Take Time and When It’s All Said And Done. With just a few months left in the year, Giveon is back to make his mark on 2021 with his latest single, “For Tonight.”
Lucky Daye — “Over”
While Giveon was 2020’s best R&B gift, Lucky Daye was 2019’s. The singer, who is in the midst of an impressive guest feature run, returns with “Over.” The track sees Daye attempt to navigate an on-and-off-again relationship with quite the indecisive partner. It’s a solid follow-up to Table For Two, a project he released earlier this year.
Hitmaka & Queen Naija — “Quickie” Feat. Ty Dolla Sign
After standing beside Eric Bellinger for their solid 2021 project, 1-800-HIT-EAZY, producer Hitmaka takes control of things as a lead artist once again. He’s back to work with Ty Dolla Sign and Queen Naija with him for their new single, “Quickie.” The bouncy track promotes and a brief moment of love as Ty and Queen search around for someone who can fulfill their need for a “quickie.”
Amber Mark — “What It Is”
It’s with great happiness that I inform you that singer Amber Mark has finally unveiled plans for a future album. While it’s not slated to arrive until 2022, it’s awesome to hear that the singer will deliver a full body of work after more than three years of ear-grabbing singles. Three Dimensions Deep drops January 28, and to build up anticipation for its arrival, she delivered her latest single, “What It Is.”
Alina Baraz — Sunbeam
Last year, Alina Baraz blessed the world with her strong sophomore album It Was Divine. Fast-forward to the present and she’s returned to do the same with her new EP, Sunbeam. Equipped with just four songs, the project provides more evidence that supports Baraz’s appealing artistry.
JoJo — JoJo
More than 15 years after its release, JoJo’s beloved self-titled debut album is finally on streaming services. It comes thanks to a new distribution deal between Empire and her former label, Blackground Records. The imprint was also home to the likes of Aaliyah and Tank, artists who also saw their past works added to DSPs in the past few weeks. While it may be a celebratory moment to some fans, JoJo was dismayed by the move as she would not receive profits from the upload.
Anthony Hamilton — Love Is The New Black
Five years removed from his last full-length project, Anthony Hamilton returns with Love Is The New Black. Complete with 14 tracks and features from Rick Ross, Lil Jon, and Jennifer Hudson, Hamilton’s latest body of work is the singer’s attempt to “lessen the heavy load and allow everyone to celebrate again.” He added in a press release, “I wanted this album to feel like what was missing throughout the pandemic. This is the restoration. We’re making this thing called life, sexy, beautiful, and powerful again.”
Asiahn — “Fall Back”
Leave it to Asiahn to beautifully share a story about falling in love too fast. That’s what the singer-songwriter provides on her latest single, “Fall Back.” In regards to how much she relates to the song, well, Asiahn kept it straightforward in a press release. “The story behind the song is, well, true,” she says while laughing before adding later, “It’s a song telling that person to ‘fall back, you doing too much.’ Let’s just get to know each other and see if getting serious is even something we want to do.”
Kirby — “Can We Be Friends?”
Following “Coconut Oil” and “Break Her Heart For Me,” Kirby extends her streak of quality 2021 releases with “Can We Be Friends?” On this record, the singer lets her vocals shine while seeking peace between her and a past lover who have spent far too much time on bad terms. Here, she places her hand out for a potential truce that will hopefully calm the high tensions.
Sakura — “I Can’t Call You Baby”
Towards the end of June, Atlanta’s Sakura delivered her debut project, Don’t Overthink It. In her continued effort to promote it, she returns with a visual for the project’s closer, “I Can’t Call You Baby.” The video flaunts the singer’s innocence while she sings about letting go and closing the door on a past love that’s caused her too much pain.
Some artists covered here are Warner Music artists. Uproxx is an independent subsidiary of Warner Music Group.