Monday, May 27, 2024

Victoria Monét, Jesse Boykins III, Kyle Dion, And More New R&B For The Mercury Retrograde

Mercury may be in retrograde, but that doesn’t mean some new music won’t get your chakras realigned to fight through it.

This week in new R&B, Victoria Monét is on the prowl with her long-awaited debut album, JAGUAR II, as Jesse Boykins III and Kyle Dion both reemerge from their respective musical hiatuses. Terrace Martin and James Fauntleroy create something ethereal with their collaborative album, Nova, as the spirit of solid duets gets revived with the help of Charlotte Day Wilson, Snoh Aalegra, Brent Faiyaz, and Coco Jones.

Newcomers on the block, TheARTI$T, Jalen Ngonda, Casper Sage, Chxrry22, and Jack Freeman all make waves with their latest offerings as Zae France and Fridayy both share full-length projects for immediate consumption.

Don’t let the powers beyond your control shake your world up too much because the influx of R&B is going to help get you together. Check out VIBE’s top new R&B picks below.

Victoria Monét – JAGUAR II

Victoria Monét’s debut album, JAGUAR II, is the No. 1 trending topic of music lovers everywhere and rightfully so.

The highly-anticipated LP is the next installment into who she is as a singer-songwriter and who she’s meant to be as a bonafide superstar.

Executive produced by Monét, D’Mile, and Rachelle Jean-Louis, JAGUAR II, is described as “an older, more developed voluptuous sister” of 2020’s JAGUAR. With hits like “On My Mama,” “Smoke” featuring Lucky Daye, and new arrivals including “Cadillac (A Pimp’s Anthem),” “How Does It Make You Feel,” and “Hollywood” (featuring Earth, Wind & Fire and her daughter, Hazel), the album is an ascending display of the singer’s elevation.

When speaking on the artistry of the JAGUAR series, Monét told Apple Music 1’s Nadeska Alexis, “I moved to LA to pursue artistry and just all of the things that I dreamed for myself, and life takes you in different turns, and so I ended up songwriting a lot more than recording my own music. And so in that position, I felt like I was behind the scenes a lot, similar to how a Jaguar operates in a jungle. They’re like mysterious. They’re there, but they’re not always seen and in the forefront. But then there’s this right moment when they feel like they’re the huntress and they pounce and they go for what it is that they want. And I could just imagine a jaguar behind all these monstera leaves and at the right moment they just come out and they’re like ‘rah!’ And so I feel like Jaguar, musically and sonically is my moment to do that.”

Jesse Boykins III – “Honestly, I’m A Threat”

Jesse Boykins III was on an extended hiatus, but now the crooner is being welcomed back with open arms with the help of his new single, “Honestly, I’m A Threat.”

The hypnotizing ode to this new phase in his life was produced by Boykins himself, along with SOHN, and Two Inch Punch.

“The song is about awakening, how fighting for what you love is undoubtedly one of the most inspiring things we can experience in this life,” Boykins says of the single. “The initial intention behind the writing was to express showing up and executing at a high level so there is no comparison to the past events. We were all in a room (Sohn, Two Inch Punch and I) just speaking on how getting looked over can easily happen if you don’t demand the space and honor your own efforts.”

His anticipated new album, aptly titled New Growth, will arrive on October 20.

Of the LP, he detailed, “’New Growth’ is my re-imagination of what I know vulnerability to be in this time. Being a black male creative on a journey of self-improvement through musical risks, I blend genres to create soundscapes rooted in the culture – pulling inspiration from my childhood in Jamaica to my experiences touring the world performing and sharing ideas. This album is the start of a healthy direction toward growth that shines light on life as we know it.”

Kyle Dion – “Boyfriend Jeans”

Kyle Dion took a full year off following the release of 2022’s SASSY (Deluxe) to live a bit of life before returning with his new single, “Boyfriend Jeans.”

The vibrant fusion of 2000s R&B and traditional funk is an enticing illustration of a messy cycle of lustful entanglement as he sings, “Why you keep him around when you know that you’re into me too?/If we keep doin’ this, he gon’ end up in therapy…”

Of the record, Dion explained in a statement, “’Boyfriend Jeans’ is about a fling with a girl and getting caught in an ever-endless cycle of toxicity between her and her boyfriend. Every time they fight and break up, she’d come running back to me.”

When speaking on his extended break, he added, “I’ve always pushed myself so hard when it comes to my music and my creative. I needed to take some time off to just live, experience, and be Kyle, not just Kyle Dion. I’ve discovered so much about myself and I’m ready to share this new era with the world.”

We look forward to whatever is to come from Dion, whether it’s intimate, amorous, comical, uplifting, or just the epitome of a good ol’ time.

Terrace Martin & James Fauntleroy – Nova

Terrace Martin’s string of new albums are distinct and timeless in their own regard, but something magical transpired with this James Fauntleroy collaboration that kicks his discography up a notch.

With Nova —the third of six albums coming from Martin— he and Fauntleroy put their own spin on Bossa Nova that feels like a Sunday kind of love or getting lost in the sounds of New York City in the summer.

As previously stated regarding Fine Tune, the notion that Martin carves out a space for romanticism in music while honoring his roots and familial legacy remains true. As summer dwindles down and fall takes over, this album is a fundamental soundtrack to transition and escape.

Charlotte Day Wilson feat. Snoh Aalegra – “Forever”

Charlotte Day Wilson joining forces with Snoh Aalegra was a flawless interjection amid Aalegra’s recent consecutive releases.

Loosely laced together by the interpolation of The Foundations’ classic, “Baby, Now That I Found You”, Wilson’s dreamy vocals compliment Aalegra’s soothing tone on the ballad oozing romantic hesitation. Similar to the smoke fleeing from a blown-out candle, “Forever,” is a record that drifts away while still lingering in the air as the two cultivate a space for a deeper love.

“I had you in my mind/Oh, for all this time/Before you were mine/I, I couldn’t decide,” they sing while questioning the concept of forever.

This is Wilson’s first release following her debut album, ALPHA, from 2021.

Brent Faiyaz feat. Coco Jones – “Moment Of Your Life”

After entering into a new partnership with PULSE Music Group, Brent Faiyaz links up with R&B phenom, Coco Jones for a sensational duet, “Moment Of Your Life.”

Produced by Dpat, Mannyvelli, and Sparkheem, the record is evident that they’re each seeking more than just a limited rendezvous.

“I got every other thing that I need and want but you, and I’ve been wantin’ you, so what you wanna do tonight? Make this the moment of your life,” they sweetly sing on the chorus.

Of his new business venture, PULSE Music Group executives Josh Abraham, Scott Cutler, and Ashley Calhoun stated, “Brent does things his own way, working toward the highest artistic bar, and we relate to that. Offering Brent a JV to sign and develop new artists alongside PULSE Records is the natural next step for everyone. It’s an honor to be on this journey with Brent…”

Jalen Ngonda – “So Glad I Found You”

With the final single before his debut album, Jalen Ngonda does it again. He is a perfect merger of traditional soul and contemporary feels as heard on “So Glad I Found You.”

This time around, Ngonda is more triumphant than his past releases. He may be young at the tender age of 28, but he has lived here in a past life and it’s evident in his work.

If you’ve been seeking a Motown resurgence, this soulful crooner is your answered prayer. We understand how he’s already selling out in current headlining tour in the U.K., ahead of its American leg.

We anticipate a bright future from Ngonda. His debut, Come Around and Love Me, is slated for release on September 8.

Zae France – Rhythm n Backwoods Szn II

Zae France’s long-awaited EP, Rhythm n Backwoods Szn II, is one of the projects fans have been waiting for. After the first round of success with the series’ first installment in 2019, Zae stands on his truth as he looks back on new realities and the ebb and flow of life and love.

When speaking on one of the EP’s standout tracks,“Give It Up,” the crooner tells Rated R&B, “Funny thing about it, I was on the hunt for an uptempo track one night in LA and it just wasn’t flowing the way I wanted it to. I ended up cutting ‘What It Do‘ that night then started thinking about this girl that I was on and off with— she was claiming that she was done with me, but we all know how those situations be. The idea for the song came first and then we ended up with ‘Give It Up.’ We left that night with two special joints.”

As he makes his case for the men of R&B with the help of DaDa and Fridayy, Zae brings listeners into his world and we’ll happily follow.

Fridayy – Fridayy

Fridayy’s debut album is here. The eponymous, 14-track LP features appearances by Maverick City Music, Adekunle Gold, Fireboy DML, Byron Messia, Chris Brown, and even his mother as he outlines his creative and personal journey.

“I knew we would make it someday. I was f**ked up couldn’t focus through them hard days. All the crazy s**t I seen would make you lose your faith. I was 13 the first time I saw the cold face,” he somberly reflects. The album ranges in sound and topics as he channels elements of gospel, afrobeats, dancehall, and R&B before the heartwarming conclusion on “I Won (Outro).”

He became an in-demand “Melody God” after writing the chorus for DJ Khaled’s “God Did” and with his debut, Fridayy stands in his own light after years of overwhelming adversity.

Casper Sage – Synthesis+

Casper Sage is exploring the emotional complexity with his new EP, Synthesis+. Across the six tracks, Sage discusses falling in love, living in the present, and fueling creative inspiration.

“’Synthesis+’ is a collection of ‘feel good’ music, but not every message is exclusively that,” he details of the project. “I consider it music to amplify when you feel good and lighter whenever you’re not. I would say this EP is the rainbow after the storm; the first day of spring after the winter. Something to remind you of that feeling you were convinced you forgot.”

Though only being 22, Sage is wise beyond his years and this proves that the young star has his sights set on longevity.

TheARTI$t – ARTchives

New Jersey has something to say and it’s coming in the form of their newest sensation, TheARTI$t.

With her debut EP, ARTchives, she encapsulates the essence of love and the life’s imperfections through a collection of stories in a similar Lauryn Hill-esque nature.

“ARTchives” is a 9-song EP that embodies two essential elements — love and vulnerability,” she explained in a statement. “I want this project to serve as a sanctuary for those who have felt like me at some point in their lives, as well as an entryway for those who are curious to know me better.” 

She intends to follow in the footsteps of fellow Jersey girls like Hill, Queen Latifah, and Whitney Houston.

Chxrry22 – “More”

Chxrry22’s “More” is an unapologetic anthem about regaining control post-breakup.

“’MORE’ is about shamelessly expressing what you want out of a situation and not feeling bad about it—not settling and not wasting time. It sets the tone for the new music that I have coming,” the Toronto-bred songbird shared of the record.

Following the success of her debut EP, The Other Side, from 2022, Chxrry22 is comfortably settling into her spot in the R&B space and will be opening for The Weeknd during the Australian/New Zealand leg of his “After Hours Til Dawn” Tour this November.

Jack Freeman – “Shine”

Houston-based artist, Jack Freeman, debuts his new single, “Shine,” from his forthcoming album, Nina. The record is a reflective one as he indulges in the story of his friend’s dating mishaps.

“I am pleased to present ‘Shine’ to the world,” said Freeman in a statement. “Producer Lab Ox and I worked really hard to give you all something that will make you not only reflects on a relatable topic, but also dance in the process. We wanted to give everyone a R&B feel, but with a Louisiana and Houston influence.”

Nina, co-produced by Bryan-Michael Cox, is the first of a series from the crooner, inspired by Black women and orbiting around relationships, love, and pain. Freeman considers the LP to be the “most sonically ambitious collection in his catalog and is a captivating showcase of the breadth of his artistry.”


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