Is Alt-R&B a Thing? (What I’m Listening to These Days & a Review of Ravyn Lenae)

One thing you should know about me is that I like listening to a variety of music depending on my mood – from 90’s-00’s R&B, to Indie-Pop, to Trap Hip-Hop. So I’ve been wanting to write a music blog post for awhile now. One of my favorite genres to listen to these days is what music know-it-alls are calling Alt-R&B, despite whether the artists themselves want to be labeled as such. Pretty much if the artist sings, their production has Hip-hop or R&B influences, and they aren’t mainstream, then they’ll probably be considered Alt-R&B. I feel like it should be deeper than that but that’s pretty much the trend I’ve noticed. Sometimes, these artists are characterized as Neo-Soul but, although I love the Neo-Soul of the early 2000’s, I don’t 100% agree with that characterization of the music today. I’ve even heard Electronic Soul or Future Soul as labels. I’m not sure about those either.

Anyway, some of the non-mainstream-R&B artists I’m listening to now are Sampha, FKA Twigs, Banks, Hiatus Kaiyote, The Internet (and Syd), Little Dragon, Kelela, Abra, Kilo Kish, Nao, and Xavier Omar (fka SPZRKT) – just to name a few. And I haven’t even gotten to the producers and DJ’s like Sango and Kaytrynada. These singers do vary from more of a jazz-funk sound to more electro pop and sometimes right there in the R&B lane. But what is most important to me is not the label, it’s that it’s not the stuff you hear on the radio (no shade) and it always gives me good vibes. To get an idea of the sound, think of the songs and artists you would hear in a coffee shop in Brooklyn, on the Insecure or Atlanta soundtracks, or at AfroPunk.

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