In a scene originated and also dominated by African-American artists, there are some good shout outs for artists of Asian descent who are starting to make a scene in contemporary R&B, including 88rising’s Joji and NIKI, Malaysian singer Yuna, and Indian-American singer Raveena.
The long-awaited release from K-pop sensation Lee Hi, who is famous for her sultry, unusually mature voice and soulful R&B style is finally out. 24° C, Lee Hi’s first EP since her debut in 2012, was released under YG Entertainment on May 30, 2019.
Rapper, songwriter, composer, and producer Jung Ilhoon, mainly known as the main rapper of BTOB, is back with his solo single “Spoiler”, this time featuring Babylon. The acclaimed idol-producer presents us with what appears to be a heavily anticipated 3-minute R&B ballad filled with melancholic guitar riffs, keyboards, and synths.
Emily King was once regarded as the next big thing in R&B and Soul scene. However, in 2008, she parted away from her label which led to the demise of her career. A decade later she released her third studio album, Scenery.
Code Kunst isn’t an unfamiliar name to those who follow the K-R&B and K-indie scene - and so is Lee Hi, the owner of one of the most exceptional, unique voices in K-pop. The two have collaborated once again, releasing the R&B, soul rock-influenced “XI” as a follow up to their 2017 collab “X.”
Zayn Malik, mononymously called Zayn after his departure from One Direction, has released “Icarus Falls”, a lengthy second album, consisting of 27 tracks—90 minutes of heavily R&B-influenced songs. The album sounds slightly more pop-influenced than his debut album, with lyrical themes focusing on love.
As a genre that was once prominent in the music industry, R&B saw its death in the hands of a few contemporary artists. Some tried to revive the genre, coining the sub-genre “alternative R&B”. But what is “alternative R&B” and what makes it alternative, exactly?
Riding the success of his second album, Malibu, Anderson .Paak released his most highly anticipated project to date, Oxnard. Named after his hometown, Oxnard boasts fancy list of features, from the king of hip hop Kendrick Lamar, Pusha T, J. Cole, BJ The Chicago Kid, to old timers like Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, and Q-Tip, to newcomers such as Kadhja Bonet and Norelle. The list might be one of the richest features list this year, yet those artists doesn’t take the spotlight away from .Paak. The 32-year-old consistently flows from one song to another with his unique, one of a kind voice.
An album full of lo-fi piano ballads with trip-hop feels - sounds nothing like your usual alternative R&B artist - but then again, Joji isn’t your usual alternative R&B artist.