As part of the SKPop Grammys roundup of 2022, here's a look at the category of Best R&B Album.
Rhythm and blues defined the early onset of recorded popular music, emerging as a heady cocktail of jazz, blues and consistent beats ever since 1940s.
The genre didn't have a separate category until 1995, when smooth singers Boyz II Men were awarded the Grammy at the height of their popularity.
Since then, Alicia Keys and John Legend have put out three albums worth the Grammy crown. This year's nominees feature the vocal flair of both these icons in spades.
A brief glance at the nominees for this year's Grammy Awards for Best R&B Album
Snoh Aalegra – Temporary Highs in the Violet Skies
The Iranian/Swedish vocalist has worked with everyone from John Mayer to Vince Staples since receiving acclaim for her 2017 record FEELS. She was even mentored by the legendary Prince before his passing.
On her third studio album, Snoh curates a veneer of nonchalance while letting us peek into the smoldering pain under the surface. The dreamy, ambient sound elevates her sultry vocals to create a captivating experience.
Standout track: Neon Peach Ft. Tyler The Creator
Jon Batiste – We Are
Jon Batiste has forever walked a graceful tightrope, putting out virtuoso jazz records while hobnobbing with celebrities on The Late Show. He has been a rousing voice of optimism while being a socially conscious artist.
On WE ARE, Jon reaches the zenith of this creative balancing act, crafting an album as steeped in jazz, gospel, soul and funk as it has been drenched in the R&B and hip-hop of recent times. This is a dead ringer for the Grammy trophy.
Standout track(s): WE ARE and FREEDOM
Leon Bridges – Gold-Diggers Sound
Leon Bridges adds a dash of soul in his R&B sound, harkening the likes of Otis Redding and Sam Cooke. He performs in vintage clothing and refers to his sound as 'timeless.'
Gold-Diggers Sound makes for a staple blues record, where Leon's aims for posterity are evident. His stirring voice makes for a pleasant sound, albeit a touch light on impact when compared to the heavy hitters in this Grammy category.
Standout track: Sweeter Ft. Terence Martin
H.E.R. – Back of My Mind
H.E.R (an acronym for Having Everything Revealed) lives up to the name she has chosen for herself. Her music and lyrics sound like the vocalist wears her beating heart on her sleeve.
On Back Of My Mind, she immerses her production into more expansive sounds, getting iconic producers like Hit-Boy, Kaytranada and Thundercat in her corner. But lyrically, the bare, confessional tone that makes her so enrapturing is right there.
Standout track: We Made It
Jazmine Sullivan – Heaux Tales
In her latest record Heaux Tales (2021), Jazmine Sullivan chooses the negative stereotypes associated with the titular word and attempts to explore the humanity behind it, sans judgment, via her bold songwriting.
This is achieved through six interludes of different women sharing their experiences with overt s**uality. The eight songs which interperse the interludes are bold, addictive and just as impactful as the stories; there lies Jazmine's virtue.
Standout track: Put It Down
Who do you think will take the Best R&B Album Grammy home?