5 Overlooked R&B Projects to bring back this winter
People enjoy saying Hip-Hop is dead, R&B is dead, Jazz is dead, well that’s simply not true if you’re looking in the right places. From the U.K, to the U.S. and everywhere else pretty much, there’s a whole host of artists who continue to bridge the gap between traditional forms of a genre and its new, contemporary sound. The artists below are able to captivate most audiences, and in our opinion, are even somewhat overlooked when it comes to numbers or props. None released this year, we take a look back at some must listen to R&B projects you may not have heard:
SiR – Seven Sundays
Being our featured image, it would only be right to kick things off with the ever-impressive, SiR. Recently signing to TDE – who don’t just sign anyone mind you – SiR has been building a name for himself for a number of years now. The rise of SoundCloud, along with years of hard work at his craft, helped provide a way for artists like SiR to achieve a good level of prominence in the genre. Coming straight out of Inglewood, CA, the musician has a number of projects you should check out, including early release “Wooden Voodoo” and his label debut, “Her Too“.
Receiving a relatively fairer, more deserved amount of attention once signed to TDE, the “Seven Sundays” album is still greatly overlooked. Released originally back in 2014, the instantly lovable and classic vibe of the album could have made it his major debut. Especially, once he extended the track listing and re-released the tape a year on. With limited features and some truly amazing production, everything from the lyrics to the cohesiveness resulted in one hell of a project, you really shouldn’t miss out on.
Enjoyable nuances give you an easy listen here, as SiR provides both chilled and more upbeat songs throughout. Plays on the EP have increased significantly since we brought in 2017, but it wasn’t always like that. Enjoy the project below and be sure to support SiR‘s latest via the link in the paragraph above.
Ojerime – fang 2001
It’s almost a mystery as to how Ojerime isn’t a star yet, with a refreshing and unique approach to R&B you won’t hear from any other UK artist right now. Certainly harnessing high quality and appeal, the growing independent singer/songwriter has been seeing numbers that make a lot more sense recently, especially with her latest project, “fang 2001“. Arguably, her song “Turn You Off” kickstarted most people’s interest in her, which you can listen to via SoundCloud here.
This, along with the rest of her 2015 debut “Ojerime: The Silhouette” introduced a polished, alternative musician with no major backing, who was ready to bring something different to the table. This is even more impressive upon finding out the tape was recorded in a series of university accommodation houses.
These same sentiments can be applied to “fang 2001“, which sees a similar but thematically different approach to her music. Working as an art director, vocalist and songwriter simultaneously, it’ll be interesting to see what Ojerime can really achieve on a large budget and with a serious team behind her. The tape below offers a slightly progressed version of her stunning debut, where she excels in lyricism, feeling, and imagery. Stream the tape below and be sure to download it via Bandcamp here. Also, see the official music videos for standout tracks “Showing You Off” and “R U Sure” on YouTube now.
Loick Essien – Terminal 5
Loick Essien might actually be the most seasoned musician on this list, despite only being in his mid-to-late 20’s. Making music for over 10 years at this point in his career, we can at least say the well-known singer wouldn’t really evade the lips of most Grime/UK Rap/UK R&B fans. For artists, musicians and producers alike, Loick is quite a popular figure. Although, he’s still criminally underrated, often overlooked and on this occasion, his “Terminal 5” tape in particular, deserved a bit more praise from the industry. It’s likely that his next album will get the support it rightly deserves.
Never reliant on features. but somewhat the collaborative king, he so often shines on songs with Wretch 32, Bashy, Scorcher, Yungen, Chip and many more. “Terminal 5” actually did feature Chip, along with Stefflon Don, SRNO, Ms. D and Stormzy.
Showcasing his brilliant vocal range, diverse songwriting, a variety of styles and more, there was a lot to like about this tape. Dropping in 2016, this was meant to lead up to the release of his next major album, which we’re yet to receive but is likely to arrive soon. Stream the project below now and support Loick‘s new song with C Biz here via GRM Daily.
Alfa Mist & Emmavie – Epoch EP
We kind of cheated with this one, as Alfa Mist and Emmavie cooked up more of a jazz-influenced, neo-soul EP in the shape of “Epoch“. However, with lines heavily blurred between the two genres (R&B & Soul), it’s likely that anyone who enjoys the likes of Erykah Badu, Jill Scott, and Lauryn Hill can dig this project too. Those crossover artists captured the best of both audiences, something similar to what Emmavie is accomplishing so far. A very distinct voice and tone separate the musician completely, making a lane of her own as she creates timeless, live sounding music. Now established as a singer, songwriter, producer, and DJ, there’s a lot to love about her as she bridges the generational gap better than anyone else on the list.
Right from the intro “Stay Here“, the singer tugs on your heartstrings, often providing an ultra-soulful way of articulating relatable issues in love. Alfa Mist, of course, deserves just as much credit for his contribution on the keys and production too, with this collaborative project actually being released through his official channel (get more from Alfa Mist here). Dropping all the way back in 2014, interestingly enough at a similar time to SiR‘s “Seven Sundays“, this too could be considered a highly overlooked piece of art.
Even though this project has a significant amount of streams, its early 2000’s tone, classic overall feel and instantly imposing effect, could mean it deserves even more acknowledgment and acclaim. Be sure to stream the tape below or hear more from Emmavie here.
Tinashe – Amethyst
Now you might be a little puzzled about this one, with Tinashe being an international sensation and platinum-selling artist. However, she really did drop a gem in the “Amethyst” EP, which perhaps doesn’t get the same respect or attention as her albums do in terms of creativity and execution. The streaming numbers on each platform would actually suggest that she isn’t overlooked at all, accumulating hundreds of thousands of listens across the board. But, in terms of this project alone, we’re making a case to suggest it may have been slightly overlooked and it certainly needs to be brought back for winter 2017.
Are people talking about this mixtape as a highly respected R&B project right now? We’re not so sure. With artists like 6lack, Daniel Caesar, Jhene Aiko and H.E.R on the scene, it’s easy to throw Tinashe into the mix of chart-topping popstars who offer little substance. Although, countless times, she has demonstrated her strength is really in R&B, serving up some good quality music for the genre since her debut. Aside from the generic label stuff, Tinashe‘s introspective chill cuts are some of the best around.
Once more, the production/beat selection here is truly attractive, with samples most hip-hop/R&B heads will clock on to instantly. Recorded in her bedroom, wrapped up and presented as a gift to her fans, she shows that bellowing vocals and flirting with falsettos aren’t the only way to ‘sing well’. Dropped in between albums during 2015, the 7-track EP can be streamed below now.
Want more music? You may also enjoy our Missed Music: R&B/Hip-Hop Standouts 2017 feature here.
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