Victoria Monét, 6LACK, Ciara, And More Release New R&B Bops
R&B is not playing around this year. It is deep in its main character mode and acts like FLO, Victoria Monét, Ciara, 6LACK, and Chlöe are making sure it stays that way.
Monét has welcomed dedicated fans back into her grasp with the lead single into her JAGUAR II era. Meanwhile, Ciara is trolling trolls and doing it for the girls with her new release. Whitney Houston’s estate has pieced together a new gospel album from the late songstress. 6LACK has ended his lengthy hiatus with his third studio album, Since I Have A Lover and FLO is still on top as the girl group to watch with their Missy Elliott-assisted record, “Fly Girl.”
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As we dive deep into these new releases, find out what led NEXT and Naughty By Nature sans Treach to form a supergroup and what Chlöe revealed to VIBE about “Body Do.” Check our top new R&B picks below.
Victoria Monét Feat. Lucky Daye – “Smoke”
We’re officially in the midst of Victoria Monét’s JAGUAR II era. The soulstress, alongside Lucky Daye, returns to the music scene with the D’Mile-produced record, “Smoke.” The enchanting ballad is sensual enough to relax to, but fiery enough to let sparks fly while you “roll some mo’.” The complimentary R&B artists sing, “Little fireworks that light up for me/ In my fingertips I burn my worries/ Do it somethin’ like that A-track shorty/ Keep it in rotation, it’s a celebration every time we smoke…”
GRAMMY-nominated Monét shared in a statement, “’Smoke’ is the beginning of a new era for me! Exhaling the old and inhaling the new. I am also really happy that this release is with collaborators I consider family! I can’t wait to elevate. I want all the smoke!”
Fans can expect JAGUAR II later this year as it marks her debut release since signing with RCA. — MA
FLO Feat. Missy Elliott – “Fly Girl”
FLO is the girl group that has been missing from R&B in recent years. Their new single, “Fly Girl” featuring Missy Elliott, falls on the eve of the one-year anniversary of their breakout (and debut) hit, “Cardboard Box.” Interpolating Elliott’s iconic record, “Work It,” the trio tap into nostalgia in a refreshing way, channeling the likes of 702, Destiny’s Child, and Blaque. “Fly Girl” is a perfect pre-game tune before a ladies’ night out (and if you need to be reminded about who TF you are).
When Billboard asked about the group’s special ingredient, FLO explained, “In terms of music, we just bounce off of each other. And because we all have those same influences, we all enjoy the same R&B melody, so we’re just pretty in sync with each other. And then personality-wise, we’re like the same, but in different fonts.” — MA
6LACK – Since I Have A Lover
6LACK is back and on his latest project, the R&B singer offers a different perspective on romance and his journey through the world. Years removed from his 2018 release East Atlanta Love Letter, the 30-year-old continues emoting his experiences through song on Since I Have A Lover. Staying true to his penchant for moody music and colorful lyricism, 6LACK’s third studio album finds two lone features in QUIN and Don Toliver. Standing at 19 songs, his upcoming LP delivers what fans love about his music—honesty, intimacy, and something to cruise to. — DeMicia Inman
Ciara – “Da Girls”
Hilariously reminiscent of Beyoncé’s free-spirited “7/11” music video, Ciara is letting loose with her squad in the visual for her new single, “Da Girls.” Weeks after facing criticism for her 2023 Vanity Fair Oscars after party look, Mrs. Wilson gives fans a fun peek into her life and includes a moment of her modeling the see-through gown in an impromptu, at-home fashion show.
While subtly addressing trolls and haters, Ciara makes it clear who this anthem is for—the girls getting money, who don’t need no man, who love themselves, and did it by themselves. It’s for the girls that are I-N-D-E-P-E-N-D-E-N-T, the girls that be livin’ stress-free, the girls on a mission like me, and the girls around the world. — MA
Chlöe – “Body Do”
We are one week away from the highly-anticipated arrival of Chlöe’s solo debut album, In Pieces. So, the Swarm star has blessed fans with a single they’ve been yearning for: “Body Do.” Joining the LP’s other singles, “Pray It Away” and “How Does It Feel,” the record comically reeks of toxicity as Chlöe starts the song asking, “Do you ever wonder, like, who else is f**king your man?”
“I think all of us, whether we’re female, whether we’re male, all of us have had that,” the Praise This actress exclusively explained to VIBE. “Whether we’re thinking about if it’s with someone that they’re with currently, if they’re cheating or even who they’ve been with in the past, their exes, who has been with my person. And I thought that was this the perfect intro before ‘Body Do’ because if you don’t pay attention to the lyrics, you’ll think it’s just a happy song about showing off your body. But in actuality it’s not.
“It’s about you’re tired of fighting with this person. You know they’re lying to you, you know they’re not being faithful, but it’s like you’re just so desperate for their touch and that familiar feeling again that yes, I don’t trust you, I don’t trust any of the words our your mouth, but at this moment I’ll trust it’s your body because that’s what I see in front of me right now.” — MA
Dana Williams – “Talk Myself Out”
Dana Williams’ new record, “Talk Myself Out,” is a jazzy rationalization with one’s self, in an attempt to figure out if it’s better to stay or walk away. Williams told VIBE, “Over the past years, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking, writing about my thoughts and therapy. ‘Talk Myself Out’ is my first single off my [new] EP. It’s about second guessing myself and self-sabotage in relationships and love. I’m so proud of these songs and my growth as a songwriter.”
The initimate record is how her “conscience deliberates her own desire for independence,” she explained. “Talk Myself Out” is the lead single from her upcoming EP, Talk Therapy, slated for release in June. — MA
TRAETWOTHREE – Long Story Short
Under a year removed from his debut LP, Out The District, TRAETWOTHREE’s latest effort arrives as a six-track body of work. The 6-song follow-up clocks in at just 18 minutes, with guest appearances from Pleasure P, Kalan.FrFr, Symba, and Sevyn Streeter.
“The EP was created mostly in LA over the course of eight months,” he disclosed in a statement. “All of the features were organic; everyone pulled up to the studio instead of just sending verses. It was all love from everyone. I wrote on all the records.”
Long Story Short has something for everyone from its bubbly intro, “Feel Good,” to the modern R&B tale in “Outside Like This,” to its Afrobeats influence on “Watch It Grow.” As TRAE continues to make a name for himself on Nick Cannon’s TheFuture Superstar Tour and consistent release of projects, he’s an artist to keep your eye on.” — Marc Griffin
Next By Nature – “That’s Me”
All three members of ’90s R&B group, NEXT, have linked up with Naughty By Nature’s Vin Rock and KayGee to form the supergroup, Next by Nature, and release their debut single, “That’s Me.”
Considering KayGee produced the R&B trio’s hit singles, “Too Close” and “Wifey,” it makes sense for them to reunite in this way. “Next is a group that I’ve always stayed in contact with personally,” he explained in a statement. “We always talked music, family and potentially doing a family tour of all the artists I’ve produced. The tour seemed to be impossible to do, so we decided maybe us doing a joint project will help ignite the family to come together. And we are… igniting the idea, leading off with ‘That’s Me’. The sexy leading single was started by RL, with not only the lyrics but the track as well. I took RL’s great ideas and added my touch, to finish it up with the rest of the Next guys & Vin.”
RL from NEXT added, “For me, this feels like a coronation of sorts. The reverence I have for Naughty and all that they’ve accomplished has always been my goal for the NEXT brand. I can remember intently watching KayGee navigate the studio in awe. I dreamt that one day I’d be halfway as capable. Fast forward to now (which is long overdue) and I get emotional with the realization that I’m no longer sitting behind Kay at the boards… WE SIT SIDE BY SIDE. Even at my seasoned age I feel like a kid again whenever I’m surrounded by our big brothers. I only hope we continue to make them proud. Co-producing and writing a record with one of your idols AND getting to be on a record alongside legends… yep… That’s Me!” — MA
Whitney Houston – I Go To The Rock
From the estate of Whitney Houston comes a gospel compilation album featuring hit records from The Preacher’s Wife, Sparkle, and The Bodyguard plus six unreleased tracks from her vault.
Pat Houston, Executor of the Estate of Whitney E. Houston, shared in a statement, “Whitney Houston’s impact on the world of music is immeasurable, and her gospel roots were a significant part of her talent and legacy. We are thrilled to bring this project to her fans, old and new. It not only celebrates Whitney’s love for gospel music but also pays tribute to her unwavering faith and the comfort she found in her spirituality. We can’t wait for audiences to experience this incredible tribute to Whitney’s life and career.”
Accompanying the LP release comes a documentary TV special hosted by CeCe Winans. It will explore an alternate depiction of Houston’s rise to stardom including performances from the NAACP Image Awards, American Music Awards, and Ebony’s 50th Anniversary television special. I Go to the Rock: The Gospel Music of Whitney Houston will air on UPtv and AspireTV on Friday, March 24, at 8 p.m. ET. It will also be available on DVD. — MA