It doesn’t take rocket science to know that the 90’s was the golden era for R&B music. So it comes to no surprise that 20 years ago, in 1996, R&B acts like Mariah Carey, Boyz II Men, Toni Braxton and Blackstreet were dominating the Billboard charts. In fact, each artist/group respectfully landed a No. 1 hit on the Billboard Hot 100.
As we look back on the year 1996, we can’t help but to reminisce about all the great albums that were released. While artists like Total, Maxwell and Ginuwine made their debut that year; others like Toni Braxton, Aaliyah and New Edition were building up their soon-to-be legacy.
Let’s take a moment to review albums that celebrate its 20th anniversary this year.
The Tony Rich Project Words Jan. 16, 1996 Singles: “Nobody Knows”
R&B legend Toni Braxton teams with her alleged boyfriend Birdman for her a new track, “Heart Away.” Produced by London On Da Track, the edgy tune is an interpolation of Cash Money artist Dez Deshon’s song “Hardaway.”
“He took my heart away, bad man with good manner / Played me like I was a habit / Middle finger, he could have it / I used to dream of livin’ lavish / Now a girl’s a livin’ legend,” Braxton sings.
Birdman raps, “I got something worth more than money / Go to church, free the birds on Sundays / So much pain I took you away from it / When I pull up on you I’m stunting.”
Music icon Tina Turner will receive her flowers this year. As part of the Recording Academy’s 2018 Special Merit Awards, the Private Dancer will receive the Lifetime Achievement Award for her groundbreaking contributions to the field of recording.
The Queen of Rock and Roll has an impressive Grammy history. The global superstar has racked up a total of eight awards, dating back to 1972, for her “Proud Mary” duet with Ike Turner to her first solo win in 1985 for “What’s Love Got to Do With It” from her Private Dancer album.
Turner isn’t the only one to be honored. Other legendary recipients to include Hal Blaine, Neil Diamond, Emmylou Harris, Louis Jordan, the Meters, and Queen.
The Recording Academy will hold a special award presentation ceremony and celebratory concert this summer.
Here at Rated R&B, our mission is to deliver interesting and engaging content on the R&B genre of music. R&B talent comes in many different shapes and sizes and sometimes comes from different countries as well. You’ve heard of Jessie J, Marsha Ambrosius, and Daley, but in this piece, we’re going to put you on the game to the most exciting up-and-coming R&B artists in the United Kingdom. With voices that liken to Ariana Grande and Eric Bellinger, there’s surely an artist on this shortlist that’ll pique your interest. Check out our list of the 5 R&B UK Artists to Watch in 2018 below:
Polydor Records-signee Mabel came in with a bang in 2017 when her hit single “Finder’s Keepers” reached the Top 10 on the UK Singles chart. The song, which features rapper Kojo Funds, also peaked at No. 2 on the UK R&B Singles Chart. Her breezy vocals, pop radio appeal, and charming style are on trend, and she already has found Top 40 success in her latest collaboration with UK artist Not3s entitled “My Lover (Remix).” If you like what you hear in the video below, check out Mabel’s 2017 EP Bedroom, which is available on all digital platforms.
Angel’s career blasted off with a string of hits in 2012, including UK Singles Top 10 earner and UK R&B Songs chart-topper “Wonderful.” Now signed to Motown Records, the London-born singer dropped consistently catchy tunes in 2017, including the SWV-interpolated and Eugene Wilde-sampled “Take You Home.” If he can continue this upward trajectory and his formula of mainstream sounds with a 90s R&B twist, Angel could very well land a solid radio hit by year’s end.
Banks broke big in 2014 for his assist of Chase and Status’ “Alive,” which peaked at No. 21 on the UK Singles Chart. Banks’ gruff and smoky vocals have been used in promotions across the globe, including popular sports game “FIFA 15” and popular TV shows like STARZ’s Power and USA’s Suits. After the release of his 2017 EP The Boy Who Cried Freedom, Banks is more confident than ever and ready to make a splash in 2018.
Ella Mai might be the most recognizable name on this list, and that’s because this woman has been working! After a stint on the 11th series of X Factor UK in 2014, the singer signed with DJ Mustard’s 10 Summers label. She’s released not one, not two, but three EPs in a year’s time, and was recently one of the featured acts on Kehlani’s 2017 “SweetSexySavage World Tour,” which ended its run in November. Now working on her debut album and kicking off 2018 with a fresh single, Ella Mai is just one hit away from her big break, and if her current sound and relatable lyrics have anything to do with it, then she is well on her way.
Who’s your favorite artist on this shortlist? Let us know in the comment section below!