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The Eastern Echo Thursday, June 20, 2024 | Print Archive
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Opinion: Underrated neo-soul artists to listen to

Ever since the late 90s, neo-soul has been a commanding force in the world of rhythm and blues. Excluding well-known names such as Dangelo or Erykah Badu, here is some neo-soul for your ears.

When fans of R&B discuss neo-soul artists, the same names are mentioned. Those names being D'Angelo, Erykah Badu, India.Arie or Musiq Soulchild, who all deserve their flowers. However, here are some more underrated talents who fit into this flavorful genre.

Hil St. Soul

A name that is too often forgotten is the singer-producer duo of Hil St. Soul. Hailing from the United Kingdom, they were most prominent in the early 2000s with some of their best work coming from their album “SOULidified” and “Copasetik and Cool." If you want to get into their tender sound: check out songs like “One Life,” “Paradise” and “Feel Good Factor."  

Meshell Ndegeocello

The German-born artist Meshell Ndegeocello has one of the most extensive catalogs on this list. Not only a skillful singer, but also a powerful bassist who has captured billboard hits with her fusion of jazz, r&b, hip-hop and more. Some great songs to check out are “If That’s Your Boyfriend(He Wasn’t Last Night),” “Come Smoke My Herb” and “Beautiful.”

Van Hunt

If you like Dangelo or Raphael Saadiq, then Van Hunt is an artist for you. The Grammy-nominated singer's self-titled 2004 album is one of the best r&b albums of its time. To get a feel of Van Hunt, check out “Dust," “Down Here In Hell(With You)” and “Character.” 

Res

Out of all the artists on this list, Res sadly receives the least amount of credit and praise. The lack of credit has nothing to do with her talent, as she can smoothly perform rock, hip-hop or soul tracks that can resonate with any fan. Some of her best work is “Golden Boys,” “Tsunami” and “For Who You Are.”

Reggie

Now neo-soul is far from a dying genre, thanks to artists like Reggie. The LA-based artist takes heavy inspiration; from gospel, old-school r&b and hip-hop. Only recently coming into the scene in 2020, he has a small, but enchanting, discography. Check out “Southside Fade,” “AIN’T GON STOP ME” and “Traffic.”

Liv.e

Liv.e is by far one of the more experimental r&b artists out there while also being heavily connected to the underground rap scene. Her sound is a fusion of jazz, hip-hop and r&b, which leads to a raw vocal performance. The best songs to listen to are “Bout It,” “You the One Fish in the Sea” and “93.”

Being birthed from soul, hip-hop, jazz and funk, neo-soul is one of the most intricate and beautiful genres out there.

The world of alternative R&B and neo-soul is ever-growing, with powerhouse artists such as SZA, Ari Lennox and more. Including the six artists listed, this diaspora of R&B is worldwide and ever-changing.