Jul 13, 2017

You don’t wanna miss out on these spectacular R&B artists.


by Her


With all the excitement from XXL’s annual Freshman list still swirling, myself and LA-based DJ/radio host/writer Marina Moreno figured it was only right to come with a list of artists on the rise of our own, but with a twist—this “freshman class” is entirely comprised of R&B artists.

Though some would argue that R&B is on life support, these are ten artists that are continuously pushing the genre forward with their passionate sounds and songwriting. From sexy, slow-burning records to uptempo, filled-to-the-brim-with-love ballads, this class of stars can do it all, and are well on their way to being major players in the music industry.

Read about them below, and be sure to tune into iCraft’s station on DASH Radio tonight for a special, all-R&B episode of Rosecrans Radio where we talk about this year’s class, our first introductions to R&B, and much more.


You need to hear:

Paris Lain has been making SERIOUS waves in the last year, accruing hundreds of thousands of plays across Soundcloud and Spotify, and for good reason—he sings like a gotdamn angel.  Reminiscent of Frank Ocean, Paris’ silky-smooth voice and knockout songwriting is sure to have you fixated, as his fresh sound commands your attention with every listen. With the help of his producers Kojo and Nicky Quinn, Paris has become one of the most promising young artists in R&B, and we’re positive he’s primed for a massive year coming up.


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Talk about promise. Khalid is without a doubt leading the new wave of R&B stars, especially with his breakout track “Location” recently going 2x platinum. At just 18 years old and a song with Lil Wayne already under his belt, Khalid is poised for a wild career in music, and is in great hands with Tunji and the rest of RCA’s stellar team. With American Teen getting critical recognition, it’s safe to say we’re excited to hear what he comes with next, and are especially interested in seeing how he progresses as an artist over the next few years.


You need to hear:

Steve Lacy of The Internet is another young gun on this list, but the 18-year-old phenom unleashed one of the most soothing and well-done projects I’ve heard all year. For being so young, he does a great job of bringing a nostalgic sound and vibe with his music, and no better example is his biggest solo record yet, “Dark Red,” racking up almost two million plays on Spotify as well as a healthy 900k+ on Soundcloud. Lest we forget that he crafts a bunch of his music on an iPhone, including Kendrick Lamar’s “PRIDE.” From his production to his work as an instrumentalist and vocalist, Steve Lacy is one of the most charmingly refreshing acts on the rise, and we’re anxious to hear what else he has up his sleeve.


You need to hear:

Brent Faiyaz has been making a ton of noise out of the DMV in the last couple years, putting out a number of tremendous records as a solo act, as well as a part of rising R&B megagroup Sonder, with Soulection vets Dpat and Atu. Brent’s stellar voice and knack for passionate songwriting is what makes him stand out from the rest, with his harmonies and melodies near unmatched by most other artists coming up today. Aside from his own work, he also laced one of GoldLink’s biggest records yet in “Crew” with a positively infectious hook, further showing off his versatile set of skills as an artist.


You need to hear:

Xavier Omar, formerly known as SPZRKT, has long been a favorite of mine. His beautiful voice consistently translates to big-time records, and his ear for production is truly great. From his newer jams like “Do Not Disturb” and “Grown Woman” to his collab project with Sango, Hours Spent Loving You, Xavier always has the perfect soundscape for his warming voice to glide over. The personality and flavor that he lets bleed through into his songs add a whole other dimension to his lyrics, and really make his songs pop. We cannot wait to hear more from him soon, particularly because he has some highly-anticipated collabs with LVTR favorites Ciscero and BEAM on the way.


You need to hear:

Jorja Smith got the golden co-sign when Drake gave her not one but TWO placements on his critically-acclaimed More Life album..er, playlist—or album? What the fuck ever. Anyways, Jorja has the voice of an angel and her songs have such a welcoming vibe to them. I’d describe her sound as vulnerable; the emotion and passion that she puts in her songs will grab you by your shirt collar, look you dead in the eyes and straight up mesmerize you. You really feel something when you listen to her songs, and it’s that ability to evoke emotion that has her firmly planted as one of the best rising stars that this generation of R&B has to offer.


You need to hear:

What in the world is in Canadian water? Canada—Toronto in particular—has become no stranger to the ears of the music industry. Breeding talents such as The Weeknd, DVSN, PARTYNEXTDOOR, and most notably, Drake, Canada keeps word to their reputation with its latest R&B crooner, Daniel Caesar. At just 21-years old, Caesar has managed to sell out The Echoplex in Los Angeles, California & reach over 10-million Apple Music streams in less than a year with his sultry single “Get You” featuring Kali Uchis. With a voice smooth enough to make you close your eyes, pillow talk, and dedicate, Caesar is one of the strongest rising artists with the potential to take the reins in new age R&B. What’s the icing on top of it all? He’s independent and yet to release a full-length debut album, proving that success is in the voice of the beholder and not in the hands of a label.


You need to hear:

What do you get when you mix Xscape, Janet Jackson, Brandy, Tamia and sprinkle a little bit of Aaliyah’s fore-front lyrical style? A petite beauty with an angelic voice by the name of Joyce Wrice. First introduced to LA hip-hop as the voice on Dom Kennedy’s “Hold U Down,” Joyce has done a beautiful job at shedding old skin and getting comfortable in her own. With her EP Stay Around still racking up Soundcloud plays and real-life praise, Joyce has yet to sit comfy and instead, has been performing in London, New York and Los Angeles just to name a few. Most recently, Joyce released a maxi single, “Good Morning” in which many producers including Nick Pacoli, Swarvy, and Mndsgn have flipped into new gems. But that’s not all, she’s taken it back to her 90’s R&B roots and made it available on cassette.

Joyce, we thank you for keeping the soul alive.


You need to hear:

Who is she? Rather, who is H.E.R.? With a voice bold enough to hold it’s own and captivate your emotions, R&B fans are curious to know the face behind the newcomer, but not suspicious enough to question her music. First introduced to the world as a silhouette and the release of ‘Volume 1’ of her self titled EP H.E.R. released via SoundCloud, many fans found themselves digging to find out who this low, soft voice belonged to. Touching on subjects such as being in a relationship with a musician and sexual confidence, H.E.R. has made it easy for women to relate and feel sexy and guys open to allowing them to. Most recently H.E.R. has followed up her successful ‘Volume 1’ with ‘Volume 2’ that includes favorites such as, “Say it Again” and  “Every Kind of Way” which is also the title of her short film made to reflect her music.


You need to hear:

As the first lady of Dreamville, Ari Lennox has done everything but live in the shadows of her successful labelmates. Making a name for herself on a roster that consists of Cozz, Bas, JID, and of course J. Cole, Ari is a breath of fresh air. As if her voice wasn’t intriguing enough, the singer flaunts her songwriting skills on her debut EP Pho with songs like “GOAT” and a fan favorite, “Backseat” which was also featured on the collaborative project, Revenge of the Dreamers II.


You need to hear:

Sabrina Claudio is a name that doesn’t catch many off guard if you’re familiar with the rising R&B game. Most recognizable for her SoundCloud covers and account in general, Sabrina has made the flawless transition from bedroom singer to being considered one of Teen Vogue’s Top 10 young female creatives changing the music industry which comes as no surprise considering the success of her debut EP Confidently Lost and selling out venues such as New York’s ‘Mercury Lounge’, Los Angeles’ ‘The Echo’ and ‘The Constellation Room’ at the OC Observatory. With a voice so sultry, sexy, seductive and soft, we are excited to see where this one of a kind voice takes the twenty year old singer.



Special thanks to Marino Moreno & Rosecrans Radio, follow them on Twitter @morenoxmarina | @RosecransAvenue