Photo: Mike Coppola / Staff via Getty Images
  /  10.20.2023

The last year alone has brought in some of the best R&B projects of the previous decade. With hip hop becoming the most popular genre worldwide, many started to sleep on it. But, after Sean “Diddy” Combs proclaimed, “R&B is dead,” it seemed like his goal of bringing attention back to the genre worked.

Artists like Summer Walker, Victoria Monét, SZA, Maeta, Don Toliver, Tink, and many more have dropped off some albums that are receiving much support. Although there have been a lot of excellent projects this year, the consensus appears to be that Diddy’s The Love Album: Off The Grid LP has taken the top spot in our hearts and playlists, and could very well have a high likelihood of bringing in gold trophies at the 2024 Grammy Awards. Only time will tell though. 

Until the much-anticipated awards ceremony, we decided to break down five of the top R&B albums of the last 12 months. The competition will be fierce and we can’t wait to see which one will reign supreme.

1) Diddy – The Love Album: Off The Grid

After making the bold claim that R&B was dead, fans of the multihyphenate legend anxiously awaited  Diddy’s return to music. With his first studio album in over a decade, The Love Album: Off The Grid, which quickly became the No. 1 R&B LP in the country soon after its release, delivered significantly. With 23 tracks, it clocked in at just under 83 minutes. Diddy brought together the Avengers of R&B to collaborate on his latest effort. The project boasted features from Babyface, Mary J. Blige, Ty Dolla $ign, Kalan.FrFr, The Weeknd, Swae Lee, Jacquees, Summer Walker, Jozzy, Teyana Taylor, and many more. Tracks like the 21 Savage-assisted “Another One of Me” and “Moments” featuring Justin Bieber set the internet ablaze. His heartfelt ode to his late partner Kim Porter was a beautiful way to round out the impressive onslaught of soulful tunes.

2) SZA – SOS

SOS is SZA’s first full-length project since her critically acclaimed release, CTRL. Her new album included 23 tracks that cleared a few minutes over the one-hour mark. With features from Travis Scott, Ol’ Dirty Bastard, Phoebe Bridgers, and Don Toliver, the “Kill Bill” songstress showcased her impeccable vocal range and versatility as a songwriter. SOS highlighted her hip hop and pop music inspirations while staying true to the sound that made her a global sensation. She also recently released an acoustic version of her hit song “Snooze” that featured pop music sensation Justin Bieber. SZA has dominated the Billboard charts since the release of her first album in over five years.

3) Don Toliver – Love Sick

The famous saying “The third time’s a charm” rang true for Don Toliver with his latest full-length offering. Love Sick is his third album and most successful by a long shot. Toliver’s ability to bend his voice and invite music’s new generation into his world helped bring his vision to life. The talent grabbed assists from Kali Uchis, Lil Durk, GloRilla, James Blake, Travis Scott, and Teezo Touchdown. Tracks like “Bus Stop” featuring Brent Faiyaz and “Slow Motion” featuring global superstar Wizkid are fan-favorites. Also, Toliver’s Bieber and Future collaboration on “Private Landing” helped him round out his solid 20-track LP.

4) Maeta – When I Hear Your Name

Maeta’s new album, When I Hear Your Name, started with a bang that continued throughout the tape. Her intro, “Sexual Love,” was a dynamic duet between her and famed singer/songwriter James Fauntleroy. During the 13-song LP, she received assistance from Ty Dolla $ign, Lucky Daye, Ambré, and others. Although the album is only 40 minutes, it felt full, and tracks like “Control Freak,” “Questions,” and “Through The Night” were perfect reflections of Maeta’s fantastic ear for production and sensual tone. 

5) Victoria Monét – JAGUAR II

Victoria Monét is having an absolute moment this year. While initially regarded as one of the industry’s top songwriters, she is now stepping into her era as a recording artist and performer. Monét’s viral track “On My Mama” has been taking the internet by storm and became a must-see performance during her sold-out nationwide tour. The Southern hip hop-inspired banger featured a smooth Chalie Boy interpolation that has had the streets talking since its release. The 11-track album boasted guest appearances from Buju Banton, Lucky Daye, and Earth, Wind & Fire. The 36-minute LP has helped raise Monét’s notoriety by the day.

Honorable Mentions: 

  • Rory’s I Thought It’d Be Different
  • Coco Jones’ What I Didn’t Tell You
  • T-Pain’s On Top Of The Covers
  • Tink’s Thanks 4 Nothing
  • Summer Walker’s CLEAR 2: SOFT LIFE
  • Jordan Ward’s FORWARD



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