2012 was kind of a down year for R&B. Frank Ocean and Miguel may have presented most of the best music the genre had to offer, but they didn’t have much help from their melodic peers. Now that 2013 is here, we’ve already heard some glimmers of hope. Thank God that Destiny’s Child and Justin Timberlake entered people’s timeline’s and iTunes libraries with new music. Now that the R&B year is off to a strong start, I want to bring your attention to three albums that could make a case for even more quality R&B this year.
Love & War by Tamar Braxton (02/12) – Okay, so you might know her as one of the many talented sisters of the Braxton clan from that reality TV show. And I’m sure some of you guys and gals may not be too convinced that this woman is capable of making great music. I felt the same way…until I snuck a glance at her performance on The Wendy Williams Show. Tamar got some beautiful vocals, doesn’t she? This should actually come as no surprise, since she’s related to the wonderful Toni Braxton. Tamar has an often ignored collection of music that you should dig up for yourself (“If You Don’t Want to Love Me,” for starters). Love & War is gaining steam on the hype train, thanks to her strong title track. Give this sister a chance. She just may surprise you.
Get Prepared By Listening To – “Love &War”
A Love Surreal by Bilal (02/26) – You know who’s super underrated in the R&B world besides Musiq Soulchild? Bilal. His voice is instantly recognizable, plus his neo-soul and heavy hip-hop records cover many spectrums. Don’t forget that he’s worked with a variety of amazing artists, too; Dr. Dre, Common and J Dilla recognize this man’s slept on talent. Now you should too. Bilal currently has a recording deal with Koch Records and he’s not wasting the opportunity. The first single to emanate from Bilal’s next album is the super soulful, doo-wop worthy “Back to Love.” If this tune is a sign of things to come, we can be rest assured that he’ll knock this one out of the park. Neo-Soul or not, Bilal should be on your radar.
Get Prepared By Listening To – “Back to Love”
BraveHeart by Ashanti (03/26) – Wow, it’s been a minute since we’ve heard Ashanti on the radio! After introducing the world to her latest single (“The Woman You Love” feat. Busta Rhymes), this beautiful songstress might just flood the airwaves again. I’ve always had a soft spot for Ashanti; she and Lloyd were the brightest stars on the Murder Inc. label at the end of the company’s run. Her songs touch on the nagging issues her fellow ladies are tired of going through, and her voice breeds intense reactions that stem from heartfelt emotions. Ashanti is a class act who’s ready to put herself at the top of the mountain this year. Mark March 26 down on your calendars, folks. The lady that brought you “Rain on Me,” “The Way That I Love You” and “Foolish” is back.
Get Prepared By Listening To – “The Woman You Love”