Since the late 1990s, the neo-soul movement has countered R&B and black pop music by providing a new era of thought-provoking music influenced by jazz-funk, hip hop and African traditions. Here are rolling out‘s selections for the most influential artists in neo-soul.
Erykah Badu — The queen of neo-soul, Badu popularized the sub genre with her 1997 debut album, Baduizm. Unafraid to experiment, Badu’s strength lies in her willingness to push musical boundaries.
Jill Scott — Introduced by The Roots in 1999, Jill Scott incorporated spoken word poetry and melodic sounds in her debut album Who Is Jill Scott? Words and Sounds Vol. 1. Scott’s powerful voice and excellent writing ability has kept her at the top of the charts with every album release.
Ledisi — Ledisi stands out with music that’s the perfect blend of soul and jazz. Although her solo debut was released in 2000, Ledisi’s music has now garnered more mainstream attention with the release of Turn Me Loose.
India Arie — India Arie inspires by building self-esteem in young black girls through her music. With songs such as “Video” and “I Am Not My Hair,” she reaffirms the importance of embracing natural black beauty.