In 2020, Alicia Keys added the album “ALICIA” to her extensive discography.
Do My Ladies Run This Mutha? Heck Yeah!
The year 2020 cannot end quickly enough for many people.
The pandemic has cost lives and livelihoods.
The hip-hop community has become like the wild, wild west with gun violence taking the lives of promising artists.
However, R&B songbirds have slowly brought the genre back to prominence with some top of the line releases this year.
But have the ladies totally resurrected the somewhat dormant genre or is there still a long way to go before R&B gets back to its glory days of the 1960s-1990s?
Even rappers like Young M.A say they miss the golden era of R&B because the genre brought balance to urban radio stations and clubs.
The question is can the R&B songbirds reach the heights of divas past like Diana Ross, Aretha Franklin, Gladys Knight, Chaka Khan, Whitney Houston and Mary J. Blige?
Regardless if the genre is totally back, RegalMag.com has to give it up to the true R&B divas of this year, and profile some artists that dropped some classic soul music, from the lady’s perspective.
Brandy—When fans patiently wait eight years for a studio album, that artist has achieved icon status. The girl from McComb, Miss. was destined to be a star from day one. From sitcoms to music to movies, Brandy has done it all well and continues to do so. Brandy worked on her new album “b7” for three years and it was worth the wait. The new album includes a collaboration with Chance the Rapper on the hit, “Baby Mama,” as well as collaborations with Daniel Caesar and Sy’rai. Brandy also receives co-writing credit on all 15 tracks.
Alicia Keys—Critics have called the album that bears her first name (“ALICIA”), Alicia Keys’ best album in years. Keys consistently drops anthems for female empowerment and political issues. But on her latest album, she has stripped down production so that the soul and sound of her voice dominates, not the instrumentation. As a result, she has songs that will make listeners think and songs that will heat up the bedroom. To make the album even more epic, it has features from the likes of Miguel, Jill Scott, Khalid, Snoh Aalegrah and more.
H.E.R.—Can you imagine what a collaboration between Prince and H.E.R. would have sounded like? There is no doubt that Prince would have loved H.E.R.’s immense talent because her talents remind so many people of Prince. They both can rip the heck out of the guitar. They both can sing their behinds off. And they are both true artists. H.E.R. is like a combination of Prince and Lauryn Hill. Her new singles “Hold On” and “Damage” will do damage to haters who thought R&B had died.
Ella Mai—A couple of years ago, Ella Mai burst onto the R&B scene with her timeless first hit, “Boo’d Up.” She followed that up with her highly anticipated self-titled debut, which did not disappoint with collaborations with artists like John Legend and Chris Brown. But how do you follow up that success without succumbing to the sophomore jinx? Easy, in 2019 you drop a summer anthem like “Don’t Waste My Time” with Usher. Then, you back door that with a brand new single to close out the year 2020 with “Not Another Love Song.”
Mariah Carey—You know you are a bad somebody when a compilation full of outtakes that were not good enough for your previous studio albums are released and they sound better than half of what is on the radio from younger artists. To make that even more impressive, Mariah Carey’s new album entitled “The Rarities” consists of music that goes back as far as 1990 when she released her self-titled debut. I hear you. You like the classic Carey songs. Well, the album consists of an entire concert from Tokyo filled with nothing but classics from the diva.
Vivian Green—People sleep on the talents of rapper/producer, Kwame. He had a brief star turn as a rapper in the early 1990s. He started a fad with his polka-dot obsession. Then he began producing for rappers like Lloyd Banks. Now, he has his own record company called Make Noise Recordings, which has put out several records by R&B songbird, Vivian Green. Last week, Green released her latest album entitled, “Love Absolute” with features from Ghostface Killah of Wu-Tang Clan and Mike Phillips.
Summer Walker—The Atlanta native has become a breath of fresh air in the world of R&B over the last couple of years. Summer Walker has dropped songs with R&B royalty like Usher. On her 2019 album “Over It,” she also had collabs with Jhene Aiko, Bryson Tiller and PartyNextDoor. The ultimate stamp of pop approval came with a Drake collaboration on a bonus track from “Over It” entitled, “Girls Need Love (Remix).” Today, Walker released “Over It (Complete Set Video Version).” In July, the raunchy R&B songstress released the E.P., “Life on Earth.”
Jhene Aiko—Sultry R&B songbird Jhene Aiko’s music has received the description of meditative. With a Sade-like vibe, Aiko released her third album “Chilombo” in 2020. In an era in which record sales do not meet the levels of the pre-streaming past, Aiko’s “Chilombo” still went gold, meaning 500,000 in record sales. On the deluxe version of “Chilombo,” Aiko had features from Wiz Khalifa, John Legend, Ty Dolla $ign and Chris Brown, Nas and Snoop Dogg.