The Most Anticipated R&B Albums Of 2023

R&B fans received plenty of gifts from their favorite artists long before the Christmas season in 2022. Ari Lennox returned with her first album in three years with Age/Sex/Location while SZA made her way back into our hearts with SOS, her first body of work since 2017. Newcomers like Amber Mark, Lokre, Giveon, and more made their mark in the game with their debut albums while seasoned vets like PJ Morton, Robert Glasper, Kehlani, and Alex Isley continued to do what they do best.

Despite all we got in 2022, there was also a lot that we didn’t get over the course of the year. Some artists were hard at work crafting their next musical presentations to the world, others pushed their initial 2022 releases back a year, and as for the rest, well, we’re just hoping they release something soon.

So aside from writing resolutions for 2023, let’s also take a moment to share our anticipations for the new year – that is the most anticipated R&B albums of 2023. Here are 16 artists we hope to receive albums from next year with 14 coming from the R&B world and the remaining two living in afrobeats.

Kelela — Raven

February 10

Of all the albums on this list, Kelela’s Raven is the only one that we actually have a set release date for. The D.C. singer will share her long-awaited sophomore album on February 10 which comes five and a half years after the release of her celebrated Take Me Apart debut. Kelela has described Raven as a “15 track deep-dive into facets of dance music that have always excited me” and her “first breath taken in the dark, an affirmation of black femme perspective in the midst of systemic erasure and the sound of our vulnerability turned to power.”

6lack

My thought throughout the year was that 6lack would deliver his third album at some point during 2022. However, with just days until the year comes to an end, it’s clear that it’ll arrive in 2023. It’s only been two years since 6lack’s last project 6pc Hot was released, and ever since then, the Atlanta native has made sure not to go too long without treating supporters. 6lack stepped into the world of others through songs with Lil Durk, Lil Tjay, Eli Derby, Jacquees, Jessie Reyez, and others that made their way into our ears over the past couple of years. In 2023, we look forward to seeing 6lack create a world for himself and invite others into it for his third album.

Baby Rose

Baby Rose’s last project arrived in 2021 with To: You (A Holiday Joint), but the D.C. soul singer hopefully has something in store for us next year. Her captivating voice was most recently used in October for her double-sided single “Go B/W Fight Club” which arrived two years after her stellar debut album To Myself. There’s no telling what kind of music will get on Baby Rose’s sophomore album, but at the very least, we hope it arrives sometime in 2023.

Bryson Tiller

It’s been two years since Bryson Tiller made his grand return to the music world following a three-year absence that featured little to no music. That return was Anniversary, and with that project’s release, came the announcement that a previously-mentioned effort, Serenity, would see the light of day soon. At the top of 2021, Tiller said that Serenity would be a triple disc release with a pop, rap, and R&B side. Tiller certainly has the versatility to pull this off, as his recent releases “Outside” and “Gotta Move On” suggest. It’s just a matter of time until we as listeners can be the judge of that.

Chlöe – Chlöe

Chlöe has been hard at work on her debut solo album Chlöe ever since Chloe x Halle impressed the world with their sophomore effort, Ungodly Hour. Chlöe’s own body of work will be a bit different from what we heard on Ungodly Hour as her “Have Mercy,” “Treat Me,” “Surprise,” and “For The Night” singles depict both contextually and sonically. While it still remains to be seen who will guest beside Chlöe on her album, we do have an idea of what Chlöe will sound like. “In the beginning, you can tell that [the person] who is singing is like a bird with broken wings,” she said in an interview with Allure. “As time went on, you can hear me finding my strength and confidence.”

Davido

In 2022, afrobeats had one of the strongest years in its modern era. Artists like Wizkid, Rema, Burna Boy, and Asake contributed to the genre’s greatness over the course of the year. A notable name that was missing from the mix was Davido who will soon enter his third year without a new album following 2020’s A Better Time. With ear-pleasing tunes like “Champion Sound” and “Stand Strong” out as possible previews of what’s the come, there’s no doubt that Davido will take the helm to show off afrobeats’ continued and undeniable growth. Plus, with a promise to return in March, we may not have to wait too long to see it all unfold.

FLO

Boy bands and girl groups are more or less a thing of the past nowadays, but the British singing trio FLO is using the open space to stand out. The female group comprised of singers Stella, Jorja, and Renée released their debut EP The Lead in 2022, and now have plans to share their debut album in the near future. Speaking of that future, it seems to be very bright for FLO as they’ve already made their television debuts in both the US and UK in addition to being the first British group to win the Brit Award for Rising Star, an honor previously received by Adele, Sam Smith, Jorja Smith, Florence and the Machine, and Ellie Goulding. The sky is the limit for FLO.

Frank Ocean

Frank Ocean
Getty Image/Ralph Ordaz

In all honesty, there hasn’t been a true sign that Frank Ocean will drop music in 2023. However, there are enough clues for us fans who’ve been waiting since 2016 to have just enough hope that he will. Frank is set to headline Coachella in 2023. He shared a nine-minute track on Christmas Day in 2021, effectively proving that he’s indeed in the studio — even if it’s sporadically. He even cleared out his Instagram posts which artists have often used as a rollout before the rollout in a sense. Nonetheless, these examples mean nothing just as much as they could mean something. So with that, we’ll just have hope that Frank returns with a body of work that is as artistically captivating as Channel Orange and Blonde, so much so that it joins the debate of which out the three is truly his best output.

Janelle Monáe

We most recently saw Janelle Monáe on the big screen through her role as Andi in Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery. However, it’s been a while since we received music from her. Monáe’s last album, Dirty Computer, dropped in 2018, and since then, she’s only dropped singles for inclusions in various movies. That changed with a preview of a new song to celebrate her 37th birthday to start December. Furthermore, Atlantic Records’ CEO Craig Kallman confirmed in an interview with Variety that Monáe has new music set to come out in 2023. Turns out, Glass Onion is just the start of what could be an impressive run for Monáe.

Jhené Aiko

Jhene Aiko sol blume
Dante Nicholas

Jhené Aiko’s last album Chilombo was her most celebrated and critically acclaimed album. It gave her three Grammy nominations, topped R&B album charts, and landed on multiple year-end lists. A lot has happened to Jhené since then. She gave birth to her second child and first with Big Sean. She launched her own record label Allel Sound through Def Jam. Nonetheless, there’s a decent chance that Jhené gives fans some music in 2023. It could be her fourth album or her long-awaited second album as one-half of Twenty88 with Big Sean. We’ll just have to see which one, if either, gets released next year.

Kiana Lede

Kiana Lede has one of the best voices in R&B today, it’s just unfortunate that we haven’t heard from her in some time. Don’t fret though, that reminder will surely be delivered in 2023 when she arrives with her second album and follow-up to 2020’s KIKI. Her eagerness to release this project has been made clear on social media multiple times over the past few months. She even dropped an EP, Unfinished Business, on SoundCloud to hold fans over and give them a taste of what’s to come next year – and based on that EP, what’s next is definitely worth the wait.

Masego

There’s no telling what Masego has in store next for his fans. It could be a traditional R&B and jazz release like his 2018 debut Lady Lady and it could be more flavorful like his 2020 Studying Abroad EP. Regardless, there’s no doubt that the multi-talented artist will deliver an equally impressive and intricate body of work for his second album. There’s already a collection of performances in place thanks to his You Never Visit Me Tour set to kick off in March, which is a pretty good sign that his new album could arrive bring the official start of spring.

Mariah The Scientist

Mariah The Scientist’s sharp pen is about this put on full display when she releases her third album at some point in 2023. Recent examples of her songwriting were noticeable through the viral “Spread Thin” which was housed on Buckles Laboratories Presents: The Intermission and “Aura” from Ry Ry World. It’s these tender lovelorn songs that have made Mariah The Scientist so enjoyable, and together with fun records like “Stone Cold” and slightly darker submissions like “Bout Mine,” there’s enough to look forward to for album No. 3.

PARTYNEXTDOOR

Just like he did after 2017’s Seven Days, PARTYNEXTDOOR’s activity in the music world after his fourth album PARTYMOBILE has been sparse. A single here, a feature there, SoundCloud songs put on streaming services here, and a post giving fans some hope of something new on the way there. Time says that PARTYNEXTDOOR’s next album is likely to arrive in 2023, more so than it was in 2022. However, with just two projects to his name in the last five years, it’s clear that PARTYNEXTDOOR moves on his own time and when he’s ready, he’ll pop back up with something. Let’s just hope it’s in 2023.

Tems

For someone who didn’t release a project this year, Tems had a big year in 2022. It came in large part through profiles that gave us a closer look into her life, moments with huge stars like Rihanna and Beyonce, and contributions to the Black Panther: Wakanda Forever film. On this music side of things, it hasn’t been long since Tems dropped a project with her most recent being 2021’s If Orange Was A Place which followed her 2020 breakout For Broken Ears. The year “off” for Tems was well-deserved, but it comes with a promise for more and lots of exciting things in 2023.

Victoria Monet – Jaguar II

I won’t know what to do myself if I have to endure another year without a Victoria Monet project. Her excellent Jaguar EP probably shudders when I storm to it for the umpteenth relisten. Realistically though, Monet hasn’t completely disappeared from the music world and her songwriting contributions to Ariana Grande’s Positions, for example, are an example of that. Nonetheless, we hope that Monet sees that it’s time that she returns with her previously announced Jaguar II EP. Until then, it’s back to Jaguar with occasional stops at “Coastin’” and “F.*.C.K.”

Some artists covered here are Warner Music artists. Uproxx is an independent subsidiary of Warner Music Group.

×