Usher, Asiahn, Muni Long, And More New R&B Made For You

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R&B’s dominance within music is in full force. Ahead of the 2024 GRAMMYs—where the most-decorated acts belong to the world of R&B—and the Super Bowl Halftime Show that the King of R&B is headlining, we’re just saying if you’ve been sleeping on the genre—this is your sign to wake up.

Usher has dropped another single from his new album, Coming Home, before fans can indulge in its greatness next Sunday. Asiahn is gifting lovebirds a new record in time for Valentine’s Day. Muni Long has answered fans’ demands for the live version of “Made For Me” from last year’s Soul Train Awards. Elmiene and Daniel Caesar offer stripped-down renditions of their previously-released songs that fans adore. Ye Ali is gearing up for the release of his new project with the help of Kenyon Dixon. Meanwhile, Ryan Leslie is back and Ledisi linked up with Kenny Lattimore for a grown and sexy duet from her new album.

Though GRAMMY Week may be wearing us thin, these new R&B picks are giving us the fuel to keep going.

Usher feat. Pheelz – “Ruin”

Lately, R&B has been in a sonic marriage afrobeats and amapiano. Usher’s new single, “Ruin,” features Nigerian singer-songwriter Pheelz and tells the story of a love that could ruin—in the best ways. It’s sweet, calming, and highlights the range of sound on his upcoming album, Coming Home.

As Ush sings, “Wake up in the mornin’/ A different girl be on my line/ Constantly be callin’ me, I just don’t reply/ See? This exactly what you did/ You ruined me for everybody,” you can’t help but wonder: Who has the heartthrob caught up? Thankfully, the Dave Meyers-directed visual answers the question—it’s his daughter, Sovereign. The visual details the allegory of love, but it’s clear that his little girl has him wrapped around her tiny finger, and she’s wrapped around his heart.

Asiahn – “IJS”

Asiahn’s new love song sounds like flowers in bloom. It perfectly soundtracks those moments when you get butterflies after seeing a crush or after that first kiss in a budding new romance.

As she sings, “Have you ever had a love so good/ Better than you’ve ever known/ Make you wanna be a better girl/ That would be us,” you’re transported into a daydream. The opening chords and Asiahn’s airy vocals are loosely reminiscent of Minnie Riperton’s “Lovin’ You.”

What’s funny is that when the three-time Grammy nominee penned the ballad, it was more of a manifestation of the love she wanted. “A love that felt free and unconditional,” she explained in a statement. “I wasn’t going to let old relationships and past heartbreaks scare me away from what I knew love could be.” Now, she’s engaged to the love of her life.

“IJS” is the lead single from Asiahn’s forthcoming EP due in May.

Muni Long – “Made For Me (Live From 2023 Soul Train Awards)”

Ever since Muni Long tore the house down at the 2023 Soul Train Awards with her live rendition of “Made For Me,” fans have practically rioted for its formal release. Now, the wait is over.

The studio version of the ballad dominated TikTok before the social platform started a war with Universal Music Group, but the live version was in high demand, too—thanks to the backing of a gospel choir. That merge of R&B and gospel touches a soft spot for R&B lovers, especially since the Jermaine Dupri/Bryan-Michael Cox production was already so well-received.

Muni Long is showing no signs of slowing down and “Made For Me” had laid a solid foundation while fans wait for her new album arriving this year.

Ryan Leslie – You Know My Speed

It’s been over a decade since Ryan Leslie released his last album, 2012’s Les Is More. He returned in 2017 with his single, “Waiting” and released an EP, Fleurier Flows, two years later. Much to the surprise and delight of his fans, he began teasing his new album last June with the help of its lead single, “Run It Back.”

The full LP is a compliment to his signature pop&B feel through records like the vibrant “Top Notch” and the vulnerable “Falling Hard.” The sole feature on the project stems from Bobby V. on “Sounds.” It easily paints a picture of Ryan cruising down the Pacific Coast with a beautiful lady in the passenger seat. At the same time, it serves as a perfect closer to the LP. Bobby V. sings, “Don’t ask any question/ Just sit back and enjoy the ride.” Don’t question where Ryan has been; just be glad he’s back and giving fans some new classic jams.

Daniel Caesar – “Waiting In Vain”

Daniel Caesar is one of three R&B acts to appear the soundtrack for Bob Marley: One Love. The Canadian crooner has tackled one of Marley’s greatest hits by covering “Waiting In Vain.”

Caesar’s rendition fully strips down the joyous melody of its originator to fit the 28-year-old’s refined sound. The Marley family hand-selected each artist on the soundtrack and even Caesar has mentioned how influential the reggae superstar was to his artistry.

“I love the idea of music where…if you’re going to say something, say something. It’s not all about aesthetic, he had something to say. Similarly, I have things to say — a lot of my music centers around expressing my emotions, but I have moments where I like to say something that is important and take a stance,” he shared in a statement. The film and its soundtrack will be available on Valentine’s Day.

Elmiene – “Someday (Unplugged)”

Sometimes, less is more and Elmiene has proven this with the unplugged version of his song, “Someday.” It first appeared on his EP, Marking My Time, but this acoustic remake makes up for those who’ve been unable to catch him live.

It’s raw and chilling. Not only does Elmiene’s voice pierce your soul, but the lyrics that ooze the desire for reciprocity also induce goosebumps as he sings, “Someday I want to love like the love I had with you/ Someday I want to hold like the way that I held you.” Without all the frills of studio production and a choir, we get Elmiene at his purest. He even throws in a subtle “someday, baby” at the end that’s very male, ’90s R&B-coded as heard on records by Donell Jones and the like. Chef’s kiss.

Ye Ali and Kenyon Dixon – “My Way”

Ye Ali is preparing for his time in the spotlight. Ahead of the arrival of Ye Ali & Chill 3, he teamed up with two-time Grammy nominee Kenyon Dixon for “My Way.”

True to his “Traphouse Jodeci” moniker, the record is sensual in nature, but the lyrics actually detail the downside of a relationship that’s failing. Kenyon sings, “It’s not easy loving you/ Hard to stay on the same page/ You don’t see things my way/ It’s not easy loving you/ It’s not about who’s right babe/ You don’t see things my way.” On the other hand, the hypnotizing melody distracts you from the harsh reality—as good music should.

Ye Ali & Chill 3 drops on Feb. 9 and will include additional features from Lyfe Harris, Dcmbr, Arianna Reid, and BleuLilBaby.

Ledisi feat. Kenny Lattimore – “Perfect Stranger”

Good, grown R&B is alive and well. Ledisi and Kenny Lattimore partner for the delightful duet, “Perfect Stranger.” The record is something you’d hear on the Quiet Storm, but don’t limit yourself by saving it for after hours.

It’s a slow burn that feels like a sonic emulation of foreplay and intimacy. “Is it taboo to want you?/ You feel it too, don’t you?/ We’re in the groove, it’s perfect/ You make me want to love a perfect stranger,” Ledisi sings on the chorus. It’s also seamlessly captures fleeting infatuation like those moments of seeing someone across the room and losing yourself within each other until it’s time to part ways at the end of the night.

It’s the second single from the songbird’s new album coming this March.

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