The game of R&B has changed so much over the past few years. If you’re in your 20s or 30s right now, you probably remember R&B through groups like 112, Blackstreet, Boys II Men, and Jodeci, who most likely got their influences from people your parents used to listen to like The Temptations, The O’Jays’s, and Tony!Toni!Tone!. As we got older, R&B glided through the likes of early Usher and R. Kelly. And I know for a fact y’all used to bump that D’Angelo. R&B has fluctuated so much through a gigantic list of names but one thing R&B hasn’t lost was its purpose. R&B is the most efficient genre when it comes to serving vibes, seduction, and relaxation at its finest.With such a steady evolution, we are at the point again where we must sit back and ponder who is the current prince of R&B. Whoever we decide, whether it be Trey Songz, Chris Brown, Miguel, or Jeremih, is going to give up their crown sooner or later. So who’s really next in line?
Hailing from Lexington, Kentucky, Bryson Tiller, on the lowest of keys, has been on the market for a while now. We knew him as the man who used to body Drake covers but fans and females mostly fell in love when he dropped “Don’t” just a couple of years ago. He had one of the best debut albums an artist can have in T R A P S O U L , and for the longest, had fans drooling for another project. For guys, Bryson represents the accurate chronicles of being a “fuck boy”, and for females, Bryson represents that guy that you unconsciously fell in love in with but although you now know that he isn’t shit, you still give him chance after chance. This is our generation in a nutshell. He recently dropped his sophomore album True to Self in May, hitting fans with a 19 track playlist that had us all in our feels. Bryson represents a level of consciousness that we cannot explain as well as he can when it comes to feelings and for that reason, he will live on.
Travis isn’t the only one making waves out in Texas. Khalid is most known for his single “Location” and for this, at first I wasn’t invested in him as an artist. It was a radio song, and we all know radio music can easily became tainted. In fact, “Location” wasn’t a bad song, peaking on all charts, but it’s still not the reason he’s on this list. He’s here because “Location” wasn’t a one hit wonder; every other song he’s dropped has been just as good because his sound is applicable to every kind of ear, grandmother or baby, purple or red, in this country and around the world. He’s only 19 years old and has the ability to make music that seems like it’s being personally performed for you rather than coming out your earphones. You might have to turn off the lights and listen to American Teen; watch the venue and microphone open up right behind your eye lids.
Young Jahron, boy do these girls love you. PARTYNEXTDOOR is the best artist Drake has put on since The Weeknd. I’m not going to lie, I wouldn’t have thought that after OVOXO temporarily broke up that Drake could find an artist that came even close to what The Weeknd was able to sonically produce but damn, he found it. PARTYNEXTDOOR has been savagely making the smoothest music I have heard in the past 5 years. He simply does not have songs or projects that rate lower than a 8 out of 10. Yes, even P3 was that heated. Following up his 4 piece masterpiece of Colours, PARTY dropped the sequel Colours 2 just over a week ago. Snatching the attention from Tiller, PARTY proved that he really has this game in the palm of his hands, the genuine way; through the music.
I’m not being biased, I swear. 6lack (pronounced “Black”) is putting on for the one and only Atlanta, Georgia. But, he’s not like the Yachtys, the Thugs, or the Futures of the down south music scene. With so much rap, I bet y’all didn’t even know that people in Atlanta sing too. Signed to Interscope, fans got their deepest introduction with his best record to date in “PRBLMS”. 6lack is the perfect example of the fire that lives in these Soundcloud artists; it’s only a matter of time before they really pop. If you put him in the studio, he knows exactly how to make the absolute best of a song. I’m not even going to say that he’s on his way up because really, he’s already there. Whether you realize it or not, his name is really starting to be everywhere.
For some reason Tory is a hit or a miss with everyone. I think this comes from the fact that Tory hasn’t found the perfect balance between hip-hop and R&B. Instead, he keeps trying to equally execute both but we all know his R&B music is way better than any hip-hop song he ever created. So aside from the barely hanging rap career, no disrespect, Tory Lanez is the sample king of the game. He is the only artist who perfectly, and I mean perfectly, hops on someone else’s song and creates the perfect balance of nostalgia and artistic creativity. There is no mixtape series better than the Chixtape’s in R&B, arguably in rap as well. Although fans may be confused with which lane he’s really trying to take, when it comes to R&B, this man is undeniably royalty.
Drugs. I remember last semester when my roommate Larry was playing Process. With the speakers blasting and the sun rising, I swear to you that when I woke up, I felt like I was still dreaming and at the peak of the most entrancing high a sound could create. Not to compare but the last time I heard a project with these effects was on The Weeknd’s House of Balloons which dropped 6 years ago! I first heard Sampha on Drake’s Nothing Was The Same and although he’s made for the perfect feature, it wasn’t enough to make me dive into his discography. As he put on for his city of South London, and continues to put in the studio work, I can truly say that I have never slept this hard. This makes for the drugs and the alcohol; who else can make music sound this intoxicating? I’m proud of this man like he’s my nephew or something. We’re hip now.
Check out the Future Kings of RnB Playlist on Spotify:
By K. High