With the year coming to a close, it’s always great to look back and appreciate what it's given us. When it comes to music, 2022 has been full of star-studded releases from across the globe, but the genre of R&B may have been the most exciting for many listeners. Here are my top R&B albums of 2022:
15. "Forest in the City" by Umi
Following the release of her projects “Introspection” and “Introspection Reimagined,” Umi released her debut studio album “Forest in the City” back in late May.
Focusing on healing, self-discovery, and relationships, "Forest in the City" is heavily influenced by neo-soul artists such as Erykah Badu. Though the album starts to lose its steam due to its length, there is an abundance of great songs like “whatever u like,” “synergy,” and “moonlit room.”
This album has the special ability to improve with each listen. Pair that with Umi’s ability to submerge her listener into a new world; this album deserves everyone's attention.
14. "Circmvnt" by Elujay
Elujay has somehow flown underneath everyone's radar, but with each release, he is steadily improving. This is most definitely the case when it comes to his newest album “Circmvnt.”
The psychedelic project covers a wide range of genres and soundscapes creating an impressive debut album. Focusing on the past couple of years and the effects of the pandemic, this album takes a deep dive into some of the world's bigger issues.
The LP also includes one of the best songs of 2022, “Luvaroq” featuring serpentwithfeet.
13. "Gemini Rights" by Steve Lacy
When “Bad Habit” was released, it was simply impossible to avoid Steve Lacy; it was his world, and we were all just living in it. However, it would be unjust to encapsulate “Gemini Rights” with one song.
As Lacy battles the troubles and emotions that sprout from relationships, he continuously captures the listeners with interesting progressions, riffs, and melodies. This album is also highlighted by constant collaborators Fousheé and Matt Martians.
If you haven’t taken the time to listen to this project, make sure to check out “Helmet,” “Buttons,” and “Give You the World.”
12. "Natural Brown Prom Queen" by Sudan Archives
Singer-songwriter, rapper and violinist Sudan Archives has always been synonymous with her versatility. Her sophomore album, “Natural Brown Prom Queen,” is an exceptional display of her skill.
Her songwriting and alternative sound allow her to narrate themes of Black womanhood.
Songs like “NBPQ,” “Ciara,” and “Selfish Soul” show why she is in a league of her own as there are very few artists who produce on the same level as her.
The Cincinnati artist is without a doubt one of the best of her class, and the album sets her far apart from many of her contemporaries.
11. "Marigold" by Alex Isley
Typically, legacy or nepotism artists lack talent, originality, and quality records. However, that fails to apply to Alex Isley, the daughter of Ernie Isley from the Isley Brothers.
She has easily made a name for herself due to her lustrous voice working with artists like Masego, Lucky Daye, PJ Morton and more.
However, her album “Marigold,” co-produced by Jack Dine, has a cohesive soothing sound for which she has become known.
People commonly throw around the opinion that R&B is on its deathbed. However, songs like “Too Bad I Forget” and “On & On” are examples of what this new generation of artists is capable of.
This has been a great year in music, but there is still plenty more to enjoy. Check in the next two weeks for articles including 2022's top 10 albums.