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Are things heating up around here or is that just us cozying up to the fireplace? Whether you’re in search of a “Christmas Party For Two” or something that “Feels Different,” make this the “Best Night Of Your Life” with VIBE’s top new R&B picks from rising stars and OG faves.
Brandy’s full holiday debut LP has arrived as Chris Brown released his 11th studio album, one day ahead of schedule. BJ The Chicago Kid has finally dropped his soulful LP with features from Coco Jones, Chlöe, and Phillip Bailey of Earth, Wind & Fire. Budding crooner Devin White has given us the first look into his new musical era with the release of “Fever.” Fellow rising stars Tyra + Tiara and Taylor Gray stake their claims on R&B with their respective new offerings.
Jacob Latimore is showcasing how he’s healed from his breakup with Serayah and Samoht is putting love back into the music with his new album Amor. Whether you need a bit of duality like Breezy, some heated passion, or a glimmer of love, we got you covered with this week’s new music.
Brandy – Christmas With Brandy
Brandy’s debut holiday album is here. This is not B8 for the record, but the Vocal Bible had obliged fans’ demand some festive cheer this season. The LP features six original tunes and some incredible flips of holiday classics including the lead single “Christmas Party For Two,” “Christmas Gift”—the duet with her daughter Sy’Rai—and our standout favorites “Deck The Halls” and “Feels Different.”
As for this project, Brandy wanted anything but traditional holiday songs. She told VIBE, “[‘Feels Different’], that’s the song that puts people in the mood of it being like a Brandy album. I just felt like it doesn’t sound like a traditional Christmas song. And Christmas is not just about family. Christmas is not just about having quality time with the people that you love. Sometimes people are going through things. And so I just wanted to touch on every subject on this album.”
BJ The Chicago Kid – Gravy
After a daunting delay, BJ The Chicago Kid’s new album, Gravy, is finally here. The collaborative LP with Yeti Beats feels like a warm hug on a crisp, fall day as BJ puts the soul back in R&B. Recorded in just one week at Memphis’s Royal Studios, where Al Green recorded his classics. In fact, Green served as inspiration for the album’s “overarching sonic identity.”
“My father loves Al Green, and I’ve always dreamed of recording a soul album in Memphis,” Yeti explained in a statement. “When the opportunity came up, BJ was my ideal collaborator—I consider BJ to be one of the greatest voices in soul/R&B today. His knowledge of and passion for soul music shaped the authentic sound of this album.”
BJ added, “I’m sick of soul music having an old name. When you’re in the hood, and they love you, they give you a nickname. To me, the nickname of soul music is ‘gravy.’ Gravy smothers, covers, and makes everything taste better. The album Gravy is the persona of what the new cool is. It’s that feeling when you’re at your absolute best, got on your best clothes, exuding confidence in every step and word. This project embodies the very essence of how you carry yourself, how you assert your authority, and how you rise to the occasion. In essence, it’s the soul of the music, and in turn, the music becomes the gravy that defines me.”
The current single, “Never Change” featuring Philip Bailey of Earth, Wind & Fire, follows previously released tracks, “Spend The Night” featuring Coco Jones and “Liquor Store In The Sky” featuring Freddie Gibbs.
Devin White – “Fever”
Devin White is exclusively debuting his single, “Fever,” with VIBE. It stems from his forthcoming project, Phase 1. An ode to classic R&B anthems, “Fever” serves as a reminder that love is essential.
“In true Virgo fashion, I have a lot to say but I also like to keep things smooth. I touched on a few different parts of me in ‘Fever,’ lyrically,” said White. “Sometimes the weight of the world and its problems can distract us from the most important thing we all have, love. ‘Fever’ is a reminder to never forget that feeling.”
The minimalist visual was inspired by the bravado exuded by Marvin Gaye and Dennis Edwards, toeing the line between direct sensuality and subtle innuendo.
Chris Brown – 11:11
Chris Brown returns with his 11th studio album, a day early than its intended release. 11:11 is split into two sides of 11 tracks: “11 a.m.” and “11 p.m.” Even though the album was supposed to be a lot more concise, this may be his best work in recent years.
The first half of the LP is stacked with guest appearances from Davido, Maeta, Future, and more with glimpses of the seductive crooner peaking through as heard on “Angel Numbers/Ten Toes”—which was a brilliant and refreshing way to start the album—while the second half is all Breezy in his best, sultry bag.
The Ye Ali co-produced “Midnight Freaks” is all about commanding the attention of the person you want. Meanwhile, “Moonlight” compliments the high associated with love-making. However, there’s something about endearing about the loyalty he sings of on “Closer.”
22 tracks is far better than 40, and even though the days of an 11-track album may be behind Brown, 11:11 is a solid attempt to get his fans to “take [him] seriously,” as he noted in a since-deleted Instagram post. Later noting, “I’m just focused on giving y’all the best to digest.”
Samoht – Amor
Samoht’s third album, Amor, is one of them ones. Following the thrilling success of his singles “Moonlight” and “Pool,” Samoht’s mark on R&B is cemented. He described the LP as a “a labor of love from my heart to yours” on Instagram, later reminding fans that he’s never the one to play with.
“And remember. It’s BIG SAMOHT never the little one. IT’S A NEW ERA BABY! #RNBSAMOHT #AmorTheAlbum TELL EVERYONE YOUR AMOR IS BACK!!!!,” wrote the crooner.
If Johnny Gill is a crooner and a pimp, as declared on the R&B Money podcast, Samoht is the second coming.
Tyra + Tiara – “Rose”
Tyra + Tiara are making their mark on R&B with their single, “Rose.” The twin sisters hail from Texas and have such a rich, combined tone coupled with captivating visuals.
When teasing their new single, the duo wrote on Instagram, “Part 1: People and/or society will tell you to work hard, reach for your dreams, find your purpose. But what does that process even look like? The world has contradictory ideologies and opinions that may be hard to manage when reaching for extraordinary goals, however one must do what feels right to them. Do no stop pursuing and achieving what has been implanted in you to do. WE DON’T STOP.” Like a rose, these two are in full bloom.
Tyra + Tiara are set to make an appearance on the third season of Fox’s I Can See Your Voice, in conjunct with the release of their new album.
Taylor Gray – “Crisis”
Taylor Gray is facing the complexities and commonalities of the human experience with his new single, “Crisis.”
As he tackles the beauty and fear of uncertainty, Gray bares his soul on the pop&B track. “I wrote this song in search of a reset,” he detailed in a statement. “There’s a lot of factors that go into the ebbs and flows of the emotions – turning 30, feelings of stagnancy, constantly asking yourself if you’re in the right place, etc. There’s a lot of joy I’ve found here in LA, but it’s no secret that we’re surrounded by a lot of false hope. That can be very difficult to navigate through while trying to keep a level head. I felt this was a statement I needed to make in order to inspire others to keep pushing through their own identity crisis. This is my love letter to independent artists who go through similar experiences.”
“Crisis” is the lead single from Gray’s forthcoming EP, RESET.
Jacob Latimore – Closure
Since breaking up with his girlfriend of nearly three years, Latimore documented his healing process with his new EP, Closure. The intimate project has been described as “extremely therapeutic” for the Chi actor as he poured his heart out and opened up about what his emotional next steps looked like.
When speaking about “Sorry”—one of the arguably best records on the EP (because most times, an apology suffices)— Latimore explained on Instagram, “The song highlights the range of emotions from healing and moving on. It’s a complex emotional journey, with moments of being sorry for the outcome to not being sorry at all.”
It appears that he is recovering from his breakup nicely, especially after dressing up as the Shade Room’s breakup marking for Halloween.
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