R&B Starlets on the Rise

June 3, 2014 By:
R&B Starlets on the Rise
Image By: Jeff Kravitz

The '90s were all about silky smooth, soulful R&B jams from the likes of TLC, Aaliyah, Ashanti, and Monica. With the turn of the century, we have a new batch of starlets bringing back the genre—with a modern twist. Get to know these ladies:



Jhené Aiko

The Japanese/African-American songstress got her big break on Drake's Nothing Was the Same, lending her vocals to "From Time." Jhené has one mixtape, Sailing Soul(s), one EP, Sail Out, and a forthcoming debut album, Souled Out, due for a summer release via Def Jam. In the meantime, check out her rap persona 'J Henny' on her new track, "Stay Ready."




R&B goddess of the underground Kelela dropped her debut mixtape, Cut 4 Me, as a free download last year. She received praise from the entire blogosphere, even Pitchfork celebrated her work. You can download Cut 4 Me here.



Tinashe is responsible for one of the year's biggest party anthems. "2 On" features Schoolboy Q and it's fun, upbeat, and catchy. Drake loved the song so much, he created a remix with his new BFF OB O'Brien.



SZA is the first lady of Top Dawg Entertainment, home to Kendrick Lamar, Schoolboy Q, and Jay Rock. Her name was inspired by the supreme alphabet, similar to Wu-Tang Clan's RZA. SZA has dropped three EPs: See.SZA.Run, S, and Z. Take a listen to SZA's music on her SoundCloud page.


Janelle Monáe

Ms. Monáe is the founder of Wondaland Arts Society, a collective to promote forward-thinking music and art. She was discovered by Outkast's Big Boi in 2005, and was invited to perform on several Outkast tracks. Janelle's album, The Electric Lady, was released last year and received critical acclaim.



Although she is the little sister of pop sensation Beyoncé, Solange refuses to chase her sister's limelight. Solange has grown into her own as a woman and as a musician. Her hit single, "Losing You," was praised by music critics and her album Sol-Angel and the Hadley St. Dreams sold over 100,000 copies worldwide.  



The Chicago native has been making waves online with her mixtapes Winter's Diary and Winter's Diary 2. She is known for blending rap and melody, like Drake or Lauryn Hill. We expect to see a lot more from Tink.