Is R&B Making Us Feel Again?


For a while now, Hip-Hop has been the face of music within the African American culture. The last time R&B dominated our culture was back when “We Belong Together” by Mariah Carey came on the radio 5 times a day. Since then, Rhythm and Blues has struggled to remain relevant. While having to give the beginning of 2018 to Hip-Hop, I think October just put R&B back on the map.

When you think of R&B music you think of the greats such as R. Kelly, Little Richard, Ray Charles, Beyoncé, The Temptations, New Edition, The Supremes, Aaliyah and many other great artists. Last week, I was listening to music with my roommate, when I noticed that R&B was making a comeback. She was getting ready for school listening to “Girls Need Love” by Summer Walker. As a fan of R&B music, I must admit that it has fallen significantly, but seeing my roommate react the way she did shows me that it’s slowly making a comeback. And today, you have to credit people like Ella Mai, Brent Faiyaz, Khalid, H.E.R., Bryson Tiller, Queen Naija, Daniel Ceasar and 6lack for bringing back the feel factor to R&B.

October has been a terrific month for R&B’s comeback. Ella Mai kicked it off with her debut self-entitled album ‘Ella Mai’, which consisted of sixteen songs with features from Chris Brown, John Legend and H.E.R. This album was exactly what our culture needed, something different. This album makes you want to take a mid-day drive for hours with the windows down the entire time. When you listen to this album you’re going to do a lot of bouncing around thanks to California producer DJ Mustard. If you haven’t heard this 5 star album then I think you better go to whatever music source you have and give ‘Ella Mai’ a listen.

The same day, R&B was also blessed with ‘The Last Day of Summer’ by the house cleaner Summer Walker. Walker is a new artist who hit the radar after her hit single “CPR” blew up on social media. What makes this 12 track, featureless album so good, is that it’s short and straight to the point. Most of her songs only last for a minute and 30 seconds  which is a beautiful promo tactic.  You have no choice but to leave this album on repeat because her sultry voice will make your ears crave for more. ‘The Last Day of Summer’ was surely September 23rd, but Walker gave us one last chance to feel whatever the late night Summer vibes had to offer.

October 19th was the perfect day for R&B and I say that with every bias intent. Two of R&B’s heavy hitters dropped some incredible pieces. Khalid gave us a seven track soothing album entitled ‘Suncity’. Finally, our ears were getting a chance to relax and hear something soothing. This album was personal for Khalid being that he’s from the Sun City, El Paso, Texas. This piece was sort of like a musical tour throughout his memories of his hometown.  “Vertigo” and “Saturday Nights” made ‘Suncity’ a 7 out of 10 for me.

Also, the D.M.V.’s R&B sensation Brent Faiyaz dropped some flavor in our ears with his ‘Lost’ EP. Six songs certainly weren’t enough for fans who’ve been longing for Faiyaz to drop another project. I think this album could’ve also been a disappointment for fans because of how he decided to stretch his artistry and go an entire different route from his last projects. Could it be because he’s ‘Lost?’ Definitely. ‘Lost’ doesn’t have any features and I think it doesn’t need any due to how hard hitting it is. This wasn’t normal Faiyaz but it was still a solid EP.

It’s safe to say October was a sensational month for R&B. Music lovers out there got Christmas a little early this year. R&B gave us something that it had been missing for years, feeling. Those four highlighted pieces are just standouts because we also got music from Ty Dolla $ign, Jeremih, Keith Sweat, Usher, Nao, and Mario this October. 2018 has two months left and I’m super excited to see what R&B has in store.