With absolute madness occurring in the world on what seems like a daily basis, fans are most likely needing some comfort music. No genre is more comforting to listen to than R&B. While there haven’t been too many mainstream releases, there have been some amazing songs recently from HipHopDX Rising Star veteran Blxst, Joyce Wrice, Daniel Caesar and more.
Struggling to find a list of the Hip Hop Albums that have been shifting the culture? Take a look at our lists for Hip Hop, Rap and R&B to get a complete survey of the projects that are dictating the conversation within Hip Hop.
Need some new songs to throw in the rotation but Spotify and user-created playlists are way too long? We kept it simple and added only the best of the best songs from each month to make sure you get the songs you need without a hassle. Peep the lists below.
Looking for some up and coming rappers and underground gems? We’ve done the work for you and highlighted the short EPs, mixtapes and projects to check out if you’re tired of the mainstream album cycle.
Editor’s note: Songs from this list were released between December 1, 2021 – March 28, 2022.
“No Love” – Summer Walker f. SZA & Cardi B
“Born Again” – Cruel Santino f. Amaarae
Cruel Santino makes music that lives for the sunshine. His blend of Hip Hop, R&B, pop, dancehall and a host of other genres evokes the image of spring flings, summer cookouts, vodka lemonades in the park and boozy brunches at an over-crowded rooftop. “Born Again” was made for portable cheap speakers and blunt rotations on the lawn. Santi’s echoing Auto-Tuned vocals sound sunkissed, as the subtle guitar riff rings across the track. Amaarae breaks up the pleasantries with a high-pitched baby voice Carti-esque verse, spinning the heads of listeners with fast-paced flow and hopping in and out of Spanish with ease. The song fading out is like when the sun sets overtop the mountains, it’s beautiful but sad. But unlike the sunset, listeners can rewind the track, making “Born Again” a staple for the Spring Fever playlist all the way until the temperatures inevitably drop. – Josh Svetz
“Never Was Wrong” – Blxst
“Iced Tea” – Joyce Wrice F. KAYTRANADA
“What You Deserve (Remix)” – Femme It Forward F. Ambre & 6Lack
6lack takes the reigns over the one and only verse on Femme It Forward’s “What You Deserve” Remix, adding a masculine undertone to the once Big Femme energy track. One only stumbles across a layered remix like this every now and again: a continuity of vibes rather than a distracting remake. The track’s simple chorus-verse-chorus layout is apt for low-on-time listeners but will leave the same wanting its soft cymbals and bongo taps to go on and on–not to mention Ambre and 6lack’s chemistry through vocals that bend and break at the most brain-pleasing times. – Lauren Floyd
“Try Peace” – Tiana Major9
“CYBAH” – Syd F. Lucky Daye
“Please Do Not Lean” – Daniel Caesar F. BADBADNOTGOOD
“Letter To Ur Ex” – Mahalia
“Happy Hour” – Buddy f. T-Pain
“NWA” – Lucky Daye f. Lil Durk
Los Angeles-based singer Lucky Daye has been quietly making waves in contemporary R&B for a few years now. His 2021 album Table For Two was one of the year’s best and it appears his foot is on the gas. “NWA,” featuring Lil Durk is Daye’s latest song, which finds the singer crooning over lively production from frequent collaborator D’Mile. The “Over” artist also succeeded in securing Lil Durk, arguably his biggest guest-feature to date, for a smooth verse about the luxurious ways he spoils a lover.
“Love’s Train” – Silk Sonic
“Out Of Time” – The Weeknd
“Out of Time” is not only a standout from Dawn FM for being a top Weeknd vocal performance but also a deviation from the overwhelming pop, dance, and disco direction he leaned into on the album. Whether you want to call it Michael Jackson mimicry or genuine inspiration, Abel “restores the feeling,” bearing his soul over a Tomoko Aran “Midnight Pretenders” sample. Lyrically, it’s the in-depth, emotional, and closest-to-R&B offering that longstanding Weeknd fans would want from the LP, admitting to not only mistreating a lover but all of the important people in his life. This is hidden under bright instruments and nostalgia-inducing synths, further displaying the Toronto star’s often unappreciated range.
“Rent Money” – Mary J. Blige F. Dave East
“Walk Through Fire” – Bleu F. Ne-Yo
Bleu might have outdone himself in a short period of time. His new single “Walk Through Fire” features R&B legend Ne-Yo and follows up their recent, two-part collaboration “Stay Down.” “Walk Through Fire” is a simple, minimalist piano ballad with each vocalist taking turns singing the same verse, yet simultaneously an impactful breath of fresh air. The imagery of “That’s why every time you smile I get a little bit closer to the sky” or “I would walk through fire just to hear you say, say ‘I do’” makes this more than a cute love song; it’s a high-stakes admission of adoration. They might as well have added wedding bells in the background because Bleu and Ne-Yo have something special within their musical union.
“Jealously” – FKA Twigs F. Rema
“No One Gets Me” – Johan Lenox
“Rapture In Blue” – Cautious Clay
“Brown Eyes And Backwoods” – Tom The Mailman
Tom The Mail Man is impossible to pin down. His sound is ever evolving, and though it takes influence from emo, pop and hip hop, the result is always unique. “Brown Eyes and Backwoods” finds Tom reminiscing on a love that wasn’t meant to be, lacing stunning vocals over a simple guitar refrain which cuts straight to the heart. – David Brake
“Softly (Remix)” – Amber Mark F. Popcaan
“Rent Free” – 6lack
It can be really tough to keep track of all the great music from 2021. Luckily we’ve narrowed down the list to only the essentials!
Editor’s Note: Songs from this list were released between May 1, 2021 – December 1, 2021.
“Tears In The Club” – FKA Twigs f. The Weeknd
“Poison” – Aaliyah f. The Weeknd
“Plentiful” – Alicia Keys f. Pusha T
Alicia Key’s new double-LP sits at 26-tracks, but perhaps no song stands out as much as the intro. “Plentiful” is a perfect blend of silky piano chords, hard drums courtesy of Swizz Beatz and standout melodies from Keys. Pusha T and Alicia Keys aren’t necessarily the two names that come to mind when you think of your dream musical duos, but the duality of Key’s heart wrenching vocals and Pusha’s menacing bars leaves you hoping for a joint EP (ideally it would be produced by Swizz also).
“Midnight River” – Pink Sweat$ f. 6lack
“MERCEDES” – Brent Faiyaz
“Drones” – Terrace Martin f. Kendrick Lamar, James Fauntleroy, Ty Dolla $ign, Snoop Dogg
Terrace Martin has an unprecedented skill in getting the very best from his featured artists, and on the eponymous track on his latest project DRONES, the genre-bending artist wrangled excellent verses from Kendrick Lamar, James Fauntleroy, Snoop Dogg and Ty Dolla $ign. Grandiose, yet approachable, “Drones” is pure rap / R&B excellence.
“For Tonight” – Giveon
“In The Dark” – Swae Lee f. Jhené Aiko
“Just For Me” – PinkPantheress
PinkPantheress has never made a bad song. The English university student, who also moonlights as a bedroom garage artist capable of Tik Tok virality, holds a talent that is undeniable. “Just For Me” is the latest in her run of brief, snippet-like tracks that have gripped Gen Z listeners’ ears. Powered by a delicate string sample loop, PinkPantheress muses about the ins and outs of an idyllic love. She yearns to the sole subject of her lover’s desires, as she sings on the hook: “When you wipe your tears, do you wipe them just for me?” She utilizes a waving echo effect at the end of every line on the chorus, allowing for each refrain to loop in the brains of everyone that comes into contact with the track. It’s the latest example of the never-ending realm of possibilities that exist for PinkPantheress as she continues to drop goodies for her fans
“You Want My Love” – Earth, Wind & Fire f. Lucky Daye
“Selfish” – Tink f. Yung Bleu
“Tragic” – Jazmine Sullivan
Following up her critically acclaimed album Heaux Tales from earlier this year, Jazmine Sullivan released “Tragic” in the final week of June. Sullivan has found that there’s nothing more tragic than time wasted as she recalls a failed relationship, boasting her booming voice over masterful, bass-heavy production from Leven Kali. At 34-years-old, with over a decade of experience working in the music industry, Sullivan knows what she wants: don’t yank her around.
“Bouncin’” – Tinashe
“Alone With You” – Alina Baraz
“Call It Quits” – Kirk Knight
“Wasting Time” – Brent Faiyaz f. Drake
Although Brent Faiyaz has become the latest recipient of the Drake stimulus package, his catalog already stands on its own without a verse from Aubrey. On “Wasting Time” the two artists serve as the perfect pair, serving up hilariously toxic lyrics masked by smooth melodies and flows. Brent’s hook is reminiscent of a simpler time in R&B and Drake comes through with a verse that has enough quotables to supply everyone with Instagram captions for the rest of the summer.
“Been Through That” – Majid Jordan
“Motorbike” – Leon Bridges
“Dennis Rodman” – MK xyz
“I Like Dat” – T-Pain & Kehlani
T-Pain and Kehlani are a fascinating if not an unexpected combination of artists, but their new joint single “I Like Dat” quickly dispels any critique. After the pair teased their new collaboration by chatting on Instagram Live, the single was released earlier this May. Featuring thick, driving 808s and a fluttering hi-hat, produced by T-Pain with DJ Montay, “I Like Dat” evokes nostalgia of the reign of T-Pain, while Kehlani’s elegant delivery tints the track with a modern sound.
Contributing writers: David Brake, Trent Clark, Kyle Eustice, Jeremy Hecht, Devon Jefferson, Dana Scott, Armon Sadler, Ben Brutocao, Michael Saponara, Anthony Malone, Matthew Ritchie & Josh Svetz.
OTHER FAVORITE R&B SONGS FROM NOVEMBER 2021
- “Unloyal” – Summer Walker f. Ari Lennox
- “$payforhaiti” – KAYTRANADA f. Mach-Hommy
OTHER FAVORITE R&B SONGS FROM OCTOBER 2021
- “Nothing Feels Better” – Pink Sweat$
- “Nineteen” – PinkPantheress
OTHER FAVORITE R&B SONGS FROM SEPTEMBER 2021
- “Altar” – Kehlani
- “Ex For A Reason” – Summer Walker f. JT
OTHER FAVORITE R&B SONGS FROM AUGUST 2021
- “Angels” – Tinashe f. Kaash Paige
- “Boomerang” – Yebba
OTHER FAVORITE R&B SONGS FROM JULY 2021
- “Got Me Like” – Amaria & Mick Jenkins
- “Wild Side” – Normani f. Cardi B
- “Aura” – Mariah the Scientist
OTHER FAVORITE R&B SONGS FROM JUNE 2021
- “Running Blind” – Lucky Daye
- “Lost You” – Snoh Aalegra
OTHER FAVORITE R&B SONGS FROM MAY 2021
- “What Are We?” – Inayah
- “Bussdown” – Jorja Smith f. Shaybo
OTHER FAVORITE R&B SONGS FROM APRIL 2021
- “Party Life” – Miguel
- “Gone” – Jorja Smith
- “Get Into It (Yuh)” – Doja Cat