As 2020 sails off in the distance, Antonio reflects on the best songs in 2020's R&B scene.

By: Antonio Salgado

R&B is a special genre of music. I guess that goes without saying, but I said it anyway. 

Now, the reason why R&B is so special is because the genre’s soothing sounds are accompanied by one-of-a-kind vulnerability. Whether a song is speaking about heartbreak or love the topic is covered beautifully. This year brought some great R&B songs to the world, so as 2021 begins, it is time to hand out some flowers to some great artists for some great songs.

DVSN – Miss Me

“Wrote this ‘cause you won’t pick up the phone”

Who at one time has not written a letter because someone won’t respond? Well, DVSN took it a step further and just wrote a great song because why the heck not. This song is a great example of a touchy subject sounding angelic over a great instrumental. The song is about missing someone, but wondering if the longing is being reciprocated. One of the simplest yet most painful thoughts about relationships is reciprocation. Am I giving more than receiving? That is such a painful question rooted in both insecurity, but also in the desire to not waste your time. Then, of course, there is the true conflict presented in this song “soon as I get you out my system girl I relapse”. The ebbs and flows of love make the emotion frustrating and interesting all at once. Love and attraction are like a rubix cube and DVSN presented them as such in this song. The pain and beauty of this song made it a must listen especially during the late night while staring at the ceiling. 

Kaash Paige ft. 6lack  – Love Songs remix

“Who you be vibin with and why I can’t make you mine?” 

Kaash Paige says these painful words in the first verse of “Love Songs.” The central theme of the song’s first verse is the slow realization of your person slipping away. That runaway train is so obvious, yet so painful to accept and Ms. Paige portrays the inevitability so well. She also asks “who been on your mind?”, “who got your time?”. All these questions make a person’s head spin and one question leads to another. As for 6lack, his feature verse is concise and to the point while navigating the beat so effortlessly. The latter should come as no surprise since the Atlanta musician’s music is one of the best blends of R&B and rap in the mainstream. As far as lyrics, his standout lines are “ I don’t wanna lay with ‘em, wouldn’t wanna start my day with em”. Despite being so simple, the line is a stark, honest peek into 6lack’s dealings with women as a successful artist…which can probably be frustrating when handfuls of the “wrong” people throw themselves at him. Overall, this was definitely a great song and its short nature makes it all the more enjoyable. 

Kehlani ft Jhené Aiko – “Change Your Life”

I love this song simply because these two artists are gassing themselves up and exclaiming they are top tier partners. The whole song is Kehlani and Jhené proclaiming that they can uplift a partner to extraordinary heights. As an example, Ms. Aiko proclaims “I’m not saying that you incomplete, but just imagine what we’d be if we became one”. Kehlani also proclaimed she is“here to excel with you here to break bread with you”. Uplifting R&B lyrics and songs such as this one can be just as great as songs about longing and suffering. On that note, this song does the job exceptionally well. Not to mention that collabs between two big artists are always welcome just from an anticipation perspective. Furthermore, when the collaboration is knocked out of the park like this it’s beautiful to listen to.

Drake ft. Chris Brown – Not You Too

Well to start off, “Ain’t no goin back to how we started off” said Aubrey Drake Graham. So, after that terrible job of embedding lyrics it is time to wax poetic about this masterpiece. There is a special place in music lore for Drake’s pain music. From “Jaded,” to “Jungle,” to Marvin’s Room this song is right up there and joins that pantheon of sadness. Chris Brown’s background vocals add to the somber mood of the song in such a soothing way. On a similar note, the best way to describe this song is uncomfortably mellow. Drake’s low tone throughout embodies the hurt he is attempting to portray. Not to mention the end of the song and how it so eloquently fades out is terrific. Now, yes this review is tinted with a bit of bias being that I generally enjoy Drake’s music. However, bias is not spurring this review. This is genuinely a terrific song and my most played track from Darklane Demo Tapes. This is just another example of Drake making terrific music and why he is arguably the biggest musician in the world. is your one stop shop for a music fan’s music reviews, profiles, and essays. By the youth, for the youth, and allied with all oldheads, everywhere. Leave a comment below on what you want to see next!

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