Underrated R&B Gems of 2014
There were a number of R&B albums released in 2014 that achieved commercial success from veteran artists to newbies. There often remains a select group of albums that go under the radar yet are well worthy of attention. Here’s a short list of some of our favorites:
Toni Braxton & Babyface, ‘Love Marriage & Divorce’
Toni Braxton and Babyface have written the script for the trials and challenges of failed relationships. The good bad and ugly of it all is the back drop for this classic R&B album. Both artists have been successful in their own careers but have also experienced divorce. From the ‘Rollercoaster‘ to the up tempo ‘Sweat‘ back to ‘D Word’ and ‘Hope That You’re Ok’. Overall it is a great R&B album that reinforces the chemistry and talent that these two first displayed years ago at the beginning of Toni’s career.
Veteran R&B crooner, Joe Thomas released his 11th studio album in June on his own label, Plaid Takeover Entertainment. On the heels of 2013’s ‘Double Back: Evolution Of R&B’, ‘Bridges’ was a treat for R&B fans and a much needed dose of clarity on what R&B is. The first single was “Love & Sex Pt. 2”, featuring Kelly Rowland. Over his 20 plus year career Joe has always consistently offered fans traditional R&B with a pinch of hip hop and pop as the genre has evolved. ‘Bridges’ is a solid R&B/Soul album blended old with the new but not stray from the course.
Little Dragon, ‘Nabuma Rubberband‘
‘Nabuma Rubberband’ is the 4th album from the Swedish band and was released in May. Blending R&B, downtempo and electronic music Little Dragon continues to offer an eclectic mix of sounds. Collaborators included Dave of De La Soul, on the songs “Mirror” and “Killing Me”, and Robin Hannibal, who co-produced “Killing Me” and ‘Let Go’. The album was nominated for Best Dance/Electronic Album Grammy.
Mali Music, Mali Is…
With two gospel albums under his belt Mali Music’s first foray into the secular world was a pleasant surprise. ‘Mali Is’ was released on June 17, 2014. The lead single, ‘Beautiful’ garnered a nice buzz building anticipation for the release of the album and even earned a Grammy nomination for Best Urban Contemporary Album. Laced with Christian and positive messages about life Mali Is also provides a cohesive and refreshing blend of R&B and hip hop.
Fatima, ‘Yellow Memories’
Fatima Bramme Sey is a Swedish singer based in London with a sultry and soulful voice Fatima’s debut album ‘Yellow Memories’ was released in May and is a blend of jazz, hip hop and classic R&B. Production is adventurous and handled by several producers to include Eglo Records Floating Points. “Yellow Memories is a great first effort and she is definitely an up and coming artist to watch.