A few lists like this are popping up throughout the internet this week. So, not to be out done — nay, more to actually outdo a lot of mainstream pap — here is my list of the best Soul, R&B and Independent Soul Music releases that have hit this year so far.
Probably the first release of the year that caught my attention. Kameron merges modern R&B sensibilities with top-notch vocals and undeniable hooks. This sexy, consistent, FREE download deserves a click.
Front-runner for the most groundbreaking record of the year. Glasper has been slowly edging his way into being the must-call guy on many heavy hitters’ production and players’ rosters. And with good reason. This release is a who’s-who of today’s Soul and Hip Hop elite. If this record doesn’t earn a Grammy nomination, it’ll be a crime of the highest order.
How can you not love the multi-talented Sy Smith? First of all, she’s hot. She’s a member of Contemporary Soul megaforce, the Foreign Exchange. And this release was produced by Mark DeClive-Lowe. Not to mention Sy’s own magnificent vocals and guest appearances by the likes of Rahsaan Patterson, this album demands your attention.
Ernesto has been bubbling on the scene for years. Suffice Suffice is more than sufficient; guaranteeing the best blend of Soul, Pop, Dance and Electronica. Masterfully crafted and executed. This is the dark horse for best record of 2012.
With a professional songwriting resume that reads like a who’s-who of contemporary R&B, Poo Bear breaks out of the gate with this wonderful FREE mixtape. If you can’t find one or two favorites upon first listen, you have no soul.
Already a prominent DJ at Los Angeles’ own KCRW, Valadez refuses to be pigeon-holed into the simple role of selector. Instead, he collaborates with the best of New Soul — similar to Robert Glasper, but just slightly cooler. If you want to put your finger on the pulse of the future of Soul Music, download this record.
Mar is the most dangerous White Boy in music right now (present company excluded). This Full Crate collaborator breaks out with his first solo release — in my opinion, the best Free Download of 2012.
A recent find. But one that instantly earns the title of “record I have to re-listen to immediately and often.” This Los Angeles trio of multi-talents will have you toe-tapping and grooving with this wonderful blend of Neo Soul and Jazz.
It’s only been out for a day, but I’ve been behind this release since it came up on Kickstarter. Bama Love Soul and DJ Rahdu are invaluable resources to the Contemporary Soul community. And “On Deck” is a collaboration not to be missed.
Please support these amazing artists and pass this post onto your fellow music fans!