In this era of reality show superstars and millennial obsession with absurdity and outlandish trends, true talent can get lost in the dust. As an avid fan of 90s R&B, when music had meaning and singers were true vocalists, I yearn to find some semblance of what I consider the soundtrack of my teenaged years. When I come across music that gives me flashbacks, I become kind of obsessed with it — and its deliverer. With that said, here are a few artists who have kept my love of R&B music aflame… but aren’t given the love they deserve in the music industry:
I fell in love with Sevyn when I heard “It Won’t Stop” on the radio back in 2013 from her EP ‘Call Me Crazy But…”. When I tell you that EP was fire, please believe that I am not exaggerating one bit. I still get caught on it ever so often and play “B.A.N.S.” on full blast so maybe my ex can hear it… wherever he is. She released two EPs and then her first LP studio album, Girl Disrupted, in 2017. Not only are her vocals ON POINT, she’s also an amazing songwriter, which tells me that she’s passionate… and passion makes for great soulful music – which she delivers impeccably. Sevyn’s song “Anything U Want”, from her debut full-length album, is amazingly reminiscent of a 90s SWV song. Her music takes me somewhere, and I love her for it.
Diva extraordinaire, Tamar Estine Braxton, grabbed my attention on her family’s reality show, Braxton Family Values. She is outrageously hilarious and her original taglines took the world by storm. I was a fan of her beautiful sister, Toni Braxton, long before the reality show first aired in 2011, but Tamar won me over with her authentic absurdity! Then, I heard her sing and… I became a Tamartian. I was oblivious to her debut self-titled album, which debuted in 2000, but once “Love and War” dropped in 2013, I was SICK. This album dug up emotions within me that I thought were irretrievable! Real words with real vocals. Her song “Pieces” leaves my emotions in shambles every single time I hear it. Like a true, classic R&B artist, she released a Christmas album. Then came “Calling All Lovers” — such a true masterpiece from start to finish. ‘Broken Record’ and ‘Never’ always get special playback. Her fifth LP is set to release later this month and she says it will be her last, which is utterly unacceptable to me. Either way, I’ll keep her albums in heavy rotation eternally.
Yeah, the girl who was kicked out of Destiny’s Child. I think people get so hung up on that fact and forget that she’s actually a very talented singer. She’s also a great actress and showcases her talent in her long-form visuals for her most recent album, “Back 2 Life”. She caught my attention back in 2006 when ‘Torn’ dropped from her debut self-titled album. ‘Obvious’ was on repeat all throughout 2007! She came back in 2009 with her second solo album, “Lady Love”, which was pretty much created a true fan out of me. I played that album into the ground. Earlier in 2017 when I heard “B2L” (from her latest album of the same title) and peeped the video, her talent once again slapped me in the face. I listened to the whole album and she stays true to what real music should provide — a relatable story. So 90s of her! I love the visuals behind the album… very well put together and entertaining. Love her.
These artists have loyal fanbases but are still very underrated in my opinion. I hope they keep giving us real R&B fans what we need, not what we’re used to *LeToya Luckett voice*.