Whoever thinks R&B is dead simply isn’t listening. The soundtrack of lovers and friends of love has been a relished space within music for decades, finding sweet prevalence in the aughts for its sultry era with the likes of Usher, Mario, and Omarion. Then there are, of course, greats like the Queen of Soul Mary J. Blige and genre-shifting pillar Robert Glasper. Now, the genre finds itself in a renaissance that both resides in its roots and sprouts with newfound vigor and experimentation. Some of these acts have been around for a while, just now gaining more widespread recognition, while others are nascent in the scene but have already proven they deserve a seat at the table. All in all, we believe this is their year. These are Complex’s picks for R&B artists to watch in 2023.
As a Valentine’s Day gift, here’s our new playlist, “R&B for Lovers,” featuring our select rising artists.