It seems like there’s not enough time in the day, week, month or even year to listen to all of the best new R&B songs dropping these days. Fans are currently provided with a plethora of artists and styles to enjoy on their streaming service of choice.
But amid the overabundance of music, certain songs always find a way to stand out from the pack. So, HipHopDX is putting the spotlight on these tracks, highlighting everything from mainstream successes to essential album cuts. In May, R&B fans were provided with new music from Kehlani, Brandy, Justine Skye and more.
The following list is part of DX’s monthly “Best of The Year” series. Check out some of DX’s other lists to stay up-to-date with all of the new music dropping this year.
Make sure to scroll all the way down to the bottom and find HipHopDX’s playlist of the best R&B songs of 2020. And don’t forget to follow us on Spotify!
Check out the Top R&B Songs of Jan – May 2020
“Do It” – Chloe x Halle
While the world goes through crazy times, Chloe x Halle’s “Do It” provides the feel-good summer vibes that we need right now. Set to live on the duo’s forthcoming LP Ungodly Hour, the Scott Storch-produced track focuses on doing you and keeping good people in your circle. And with a hook as melodic as this, it’s going to provide for some great shower singing.
“Baby Mamma” – Brandy f. Chance The Rapper
“Water” – Kehlani
Kehlani’s “Water” lives on the Oakland songstress’ sophomore effort It Was Good Until It Wasn’t and finds Lani taking the reigns on a sexual relationship she’s hella into. You’re going to need exactly what the title suggests when you’re through with this piano-heavy sultry track.
“No Options” – Justine Skye
“Not You Too” – Drake f. Chris Brown
When he’s sitting in his plush Toronto enclave thinking of those brooding paragraph texts you’d send recklessly, Drake is arguably in his best element. That feeling of being too paranoid to love even when he wants to try that gave us “Marvin’s Room,” “Jaded” and other caption-worthy Drake records. “Not You Too” with Chris Brown is a highlight from Dark Lane Demo Tapes, from producer Noel Cadastre’s skittering drum patterns and swinging melody to Drake calling out for “trust” amidst a relationship where all the cards aren’t on the table.
“All I Need” – Jacob Collier f. Mahalia & Ty Dolla $ign
“Grieving” – Kehlani f. James Blake
Par for the course, Kehlani lays all her emotions out on the table with “Grieving” featuring British singer-songwriter James Blake. Over a slow, brooding beat, the Oakland-born artist mourns the loss of a relationship in the most brutally honest way possible, while striving for peace and quiet in her life.
“Temperature Rising” – Tory Lanez
“Back Home” – Trey Songz f. Summer Walker
“She Bumped Her Head” – Young Thug & Chris Brown f. Gunna
Although quarantine has severely limited most activity, Young Thug and Chris Brown’s “She Bumped Her Head” makes it virtually impossible to sit still. The slick trunk rattler finds both Slime & B co-stars catching a lob from the ever-drippy Gunna as the trio bounce nimble melodies at a rapid pace.
“Bare With Me” – Teyana Taylor
“Sky Mind” – Radiant Child
The London-based members of Radiant Children started off as session musicians but have evolved into a full-on band. On their latest single, naked guitar riffs lead into an uptempo, driving-with-the-top-down summer vibe with vocalist Fabienne Holloway confidently singing, “Sky mind/Watching the clouds come and go,” painting a vivid picture of a perfect day in the listener’s mind.
“Flawless Do It Well Pt. 3” – DVSN f. Summer Walker
“Rapper Weed” – SiR f. Boogie
The opening lyrics of SiR’s “Rapper Weed” injects visions of “clear skies” into the listeners head but the sweltering vibe of the Cali-bred track adds a sprinkle of palm trees, endless sun and a warm wind to match. Naturally, quarantine life has prevented that from being a reality but this smooth number on blast mixed with a cracked window, light breeze and even more lit blunt will make for proper compensation for the time being.
“Time” – Childish Gambino f. Ariana Grande
Donald Glover a.k.a. Childish Gambino continues to channel past styles to craft his best music. After reaching back to the glory days of P-Funk for his Awaken, My Love! Album, Glover evokes the sounds of ‘80s on his Ariana Grande-assisted “Time.” In wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the track seems particularly prescient with its theme of days passing by without grasping one’s true meaning and purpose.
“Fair Chance” – Thundercat f. Ty Dolla Sign & Lil B
Los Angeles bass impresario Thundercat poured his heart out for “Fair Chance” while remembering his late friend and collaborator Mac Miller. With a little help from Ty Dolla $ign and Lil B, the talented trifecta promise to keep “holding it down” for Miller over the song’s ethereal, downtempo beat.
“Snowchild” – The Weeknd
The Weeknd has become known for his moody anthems about complicated relationships and over-indulging in everything from women to drugs. “Snowchild” is a detour from Abel’s usual writing themes, finding the Canadian singer reflecting on how far he’s come in his journey. The song reveals The Weeknd’s more introspective side and provides listeners a look into his life.
“10k Hours “ – Jhené Aiko f. Nas
Jhené Aiko’s new album is filled with noteworthy songs, but “10k Hours” stands out with it’s smooth melody, heartfelt lyrics and of course a feature from Nasty Nas. The New York legend gets vulnerable about a lost relationship on the track providing the perfect accompaniment to Jhené’s verses.
“After Hours” – The Weeknd
The Weeknd’s ability to create hits is uncanny but with his “After Hours” single off his LP of the same name, Abel delivered a six-minute song unlike his previous releases from the project. The beat switch at around the two-minute mark transitions the song from a moody ballad to an uptempo jam. The Canadian crooner changes the mood once again and closes off the song with another beat switch.
“Comfortable” – H.E.R.
H.E.R. has started off the year by releasing a slew of singles, but “Comfortable” is the closest to the sound that made the world fall in love with her voice. The stripped down guitar matches H.E.R.’s vocals perfectly as she displays just how comfortable she is with her artistic direction.
“Dragonball Durag” – Thundercat
Creating a beautiful melody while singing about a durag is a talent many singers don’t have, but Thundercat is an exception. The bass prodigy’s latest single stays true to form with a funk-inspired instrumental and stellar vocal performance (the comedic video is also required watching). The track comes from his It Is What It Is album, the follow-up to 2017’s Drunk.
“Fkn Around” – Phony Ppl f. Megan Thee Stallion
Phony Ppl’s latest single delivers a blend of old-school funk with modern vocals and a stellar rap verse from Megan Thee Stallion. What more could you ask for from a single in 2020?
“Guilty Conscience” – 070 Shake
070 Shake delivers a unique blend of nostalgic synths and modern drums on “Guilty Conscience,” which comes from her Modus Vivendi project. Shake bends genre’s on this track, mixing R&B vocals with pop hooks and memorable melodies. There’s no denying the singer has found her sound and “Guilty Conscience” is the perfect sonic display.
“A Muse” – dvsn
dvsn returned from their hiatus to deliver a new single, preparing fans for their upcoming release. “A Muse” is a fresh twist on a classic sample. On the song, the Toronto duo sampled Lonnie Liston’s “A Garden of Peace,” which was infamously sampled on JAY-Z’s “Dead Presidents.”
“BUSSIT” – Dreamville & Ari Lennox
Ari Lennox shined bright on Dreamville’s Deluxe version of their Revenge Of The Dreamers III project, where she delivered the beautiful single “BUSSIT.” Ari seems so comfortable with her art right now, and this song displays that comfort level perfectly.
Below is a list of more songs that are still on repeat. Check back monthly for more of the best R&B songs of 2020.
- “Introspection” – UMI
- “Distance” – Yebba
- “Can I” – Kehlani f. Tory Lanez
- “Bad News” – Kehlani
- “Change Your Life” – Kehlani f. Jhene Aiko
- “Plan B” – Ro James f. Brandy
- “Excitement” – Trippie Redd f. PARTYNEXTDOOR
- “Memories” – Buju Banton feat. John Legend
- “Too Much” – Ro James f. Miguel
- “Good Job” – Alicia Keys
- “Slow Wine Bass Line” – Lloyd f. Teddy Riley
- “Don’t Waste My Time (Da Sauce Remix) – Usher, Ella Mai
- “12345” – Leven Kali
- “Bubbly” – Dej Loaf
- “Everybody Business” – Kehlani
- “What You Did” – Mahalia
- “Sang” – The-Dream
- “It’s Over” – The MXXNLIGHT
- “Frank Ocean” – Kaash Paige
- “Labels” – Kiana Lede f. Moneybagg Yo & BIA
- “Forfeit” – Kiana Lede f. Lucky Daye
- “Kotton Kandy” – Smino f. Sevyn Streeter
- “SexBeat” – Usher f. Lil Jon and Ludacris
- “Body” – Pretty Ricky
- “We Got Love” – Teyana Taylor
- “Actions” – John Legend
- “Believe It ” – PARTYNEXTDOOR f. Rihanna
- “Between Us” Dvsn f. Snoh Aalegra
- “Split Decision” – PARTYNEXTDOOR
- “Rose Bowl” – Rexx Life Raj
- “Infinite” – Che Ecru
- “Let Me Know” – Brent Faiyaz
- “Secret” – 21 Savage f. Summer Walker
You can also check out the best R&B songs from each month: