2017 blessed us with a colorful plethora of R&B albums, and we didn’t have to look far to scope out the best and brightest. This year saw artists taking risks, pulling from past influences and dashing futuristic flair into the already sweet pot that is the boundless R&B landscape of today. Check out the top R&B albums of 2017 below, who’s your fave?
Top R&B Albums of 2017
curated by ViV
Sweet Rhythm & Blues
10.) Kehlani- Sweet, Sexy, Savage
Veering heavy on the pop end of the R&B spectrum, SSS was delightful and everything we could have hoped for from the title. Kehlani acknowledges her screw-ups, relishes in a clandestine love affair and paints a very pretty picture of a multidimensional woman trying to figure it all out.
Piece of Mind
Everything Is Yours
9.) Thundercat- Drunk
Appropriately titled, Drunk’s subject matter is a bit scatterbrained but it’s oddly one of the most cohesive albums of the year. Heavy funk influences ensure a constant groove with effortless transitions from song to song. On track 5, I had to stop and ask “is my boy meowing like a cat?” He was, and by the second coming of the chorus I was too.
A Fan’s Mail (Tron Song Suite II.)
Walk on By Ft. Kendrick Lamar
8.) Nick Hakim- Green Twins (5/19/2017)
Far off the beaten path, Green Twins is one for reminiscent ears. Psychedelic production, echoing reverb and haunting lyrics as well as the album artwork made this one stand out. If your mama was into Van Hunt back in the day, you’ll vibe to this.
7.) Syd- Fin (2/3/2017)
Finally getting her solo shine on, SYD of The Internet fame keeps it very classic R&B on Fin. Her trademark lullaby lingering vocals dance lightly over heavy guitar riffs and collide with her openly androgynous look. The results are a bending of the standards that work very well to her advantage.
Drown in it
Over Ft. 6lack
6.) Khalid- American Teen (3/3/2017)
His hit single Location landed fresh faced Khalid amongst the stars but the rest of this album is impeccable. American Teen gave proper credence to young love, heartbreak and possibilities for the future all wrapped in the El Paso native’s distinctly soulful voice.
Young, Dumb, & Broke
5.) Sonder- Into (1/21/2017)
A return to sensitivity, Into gave a glimpse of what was to come out of Brent Faiyaz’s rise to stardom. Into helped showcase Faiyaz’s ridiculous range and the excellent production skills of his Sonder band-mates Atu and Dpat while taking back in time to the days of Boyz II Men harmonies…except Faiyaz is pulling off all of these lush harmonies all on his own.
4.) DVSN- Morning After (10/13/2017)
Sparkling vocals and high-level production made Morning After easily one of the sexiest albums of 2017. Where R&B may have recently lacked sensual cognizance and equity, DVSN came and bridged the gap. A lover, somewhere was catered to during the making of this album.
Think About Me
Conversations in a Diner
3.) SZA- CTRL (6/9/2017)
Just due was long overdue here. After a 4 year long-haul to get the project done, SZA dropped CTRL and took over the R&B game. The incredibly honest album spoke deeply to the “different” black girls. CTRL has been “Jagged Little Pill” we could all relate to and none of us minded swallowing.
Wavy (Interlude) Ft. James Fauntelroy
2.) Sampha- Process (2/3/2017)
Sampha Sisay steps out of the shadows of heavy hitting features and delivers a masterful debut album. A man is his piano are at the heart of this cathartic project centered around the process of healing.
Blood on Me
(No One Knows Me) Like the Piano
1.) Daniel Caesar- Freudian (8/25/2017)
This album blew me away with a combination of extreme vulnerability, homage to gospel influence and the juxtaposition of the sacred and secular. An expose on love and relationships of varying types, Freudian was a breath of fresh air from the over produced synth pop influenced brand of R&B. Ultimately, Freudian came out on top because it feels like a return to the OG roots of R&B.
Neu Roses (Transgressor’s Song)
Take Me Away Ft. SYD