Rolling Out

‘Rolling out’ highlights the top 10 R&B albums of 2023

R&B came back strong in 2023 with the release of projects from a few veterans and new artists
Janelle Monae at the Armory in Minneapolis (Photo by Nagashia Jackson for rolling out)

2023 featured sublime releases from all genres of music, but R&B, in particular, came roaring back and doesn’t seem to be letting off the gas yet. As rap is being taken over by other genres in the music industry, R&B is restaking its claim and offering up some classic music to the world. Take a listen to rolling out‘s top 10 R&B/jazz releases for 2023. Let us know what you think.

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1. Janelle Monáe, The Age Of Pleasure

Janelle Monae’s The Age Of Pleasure is an exhilarating exploration of sound and emotion. The album takes listeners on a journey through a world of sonic pleasures, but it’s the standout track “The Rush (feat. Nia Long & Amaarae)” that truly ignites the senses with its infectious groove.

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2. BJ The Chicago Kid, Gravy

BJ The Chicago Kid’s Gravy is a soulful journey that tugs at the heartstrings with its heartfelt lyrics and nostalgic melodies. Throughout the album, BJ’s smooth vocals deliver a sense of nostalgia and love, but it’s the standout track “Who Cares” that truly embodies the album’s emotional depth.

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3. Terrace Martin & James Fauntleroy, Nova EP

 Nova EP combines rhythmic beats with bossa nova soul, creating a unique musical experience that is both refreshing and invigorating. The EP’s standout track, “Witchcraft (feat. Robert Glasper),” is a mesmerizing fusion of sounds that captivate the listener.

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4. Summer Walker, Clear 2: Soft Lite

Clear 2: Soft Lite offers insightful and introspective lyrics, portraying a hopeful and love-filled perspective. Summer Walker’s growth as an artist shines through, especially on the standout track, “Hard Life,” which showcases her lyrical prowess and emotional depth.

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5. Cleo Soul, Heaven

Heaven transcends to the spiritual realm with ethereal melodies and warm, meaningful songwriting. The album’s standout track, “Golden Child,” is a heavenly masterpiece that touches the soul with its spiritual and soulful vibes.

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SZA’s SOS is a testament to top-tier songwriting, infectious vocals and daring production. The album’s standout track, “Good Days,” is an irresistible and mesmerizing composition that highlights SZA’s vocal prowess and storytelling ability.

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7. Musiq Soulchild & Hit-Boy, Victims & Villains

This collaboration showcases the perfect synergy between Musiq Soulchild and producer Hit-Boy. Musiq Soulchild shines with his pen, and the album’s standout track, “beat of a slow dance,” is a testament to their combined artistry.

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8. Kali Uchis, Red Moon in Venus

Red Moon in Venus enchants listeners with its colorful and sensual soundscapes. The standout track, “Love Between,” takes listeners on a dreamy journey through otherworldly production and Kali Uchis’ captivating vocals.

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9. Jordan Ward, moreward(FORWARD)

Moreward(FORWARD) by Jordan Ward is a release that exudes a feel-good atmosphere while showcasing strong songwriting and irresistibly groovy vibes. It carries the essence of a coming-of-age journey, promising great potential and a bright future. The standout gem within the album is undeniably “FAMJAM4000,” a track that encapsulates the album’s vibrant spirit and musical brilliance.

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10. Venna, Equinox EP

Equinox EP seamlessly blends R&B and rap elements into a bright and vivid musical landscape. The standout track, “Tam Tam,” is a relaxing and captivating composition that defines the EP’s essence, offering a soothing escape into Venna’s musicality.

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