This Fresh Finds Fridays column features releases from RAAHiim, Jastin Martin, LOONY, Miguel, Jordan Ward, 6lack, and Courtney Shilo.
Check out this week’s roundup curated by contributor Flisdam Pointer below. Don’t forget to let us know who you’re listening to below in the comment section.
RAAHiim – “But If iim Honest”
Canada has one of the most dynamic pools of rising R&B talent. Brampton native RAAHiiM is one of the shining stars. As one of the leaders of the new school, he has long since stepped out of the shadows of formulating original works for other artists. With three projects credited to his name on his new album, But If iiM Honest, the musician managed to outdo all of his past work.
RAAHiim’s vocal ability has been documented. In fact, for many R&B fans, it served as their introduction to him through the background work he’s down. On But If iiM Honest, RAAHiiM shows that his songwriting and ear for production are equally as powerful. Across the project’s 11 tracks, the listener is submerged in his world. From his romantic escapades, social struggles, and more, RAAHiiM is unabashedly candid on But If iiM Honest.
Prior to the album dropped, the singer shared three singles over the last year, including “Outside Freestyle,” “Too Good,” and “Famous (Lost To LA).” However, all of these pale in comparison to “Energy,” “Friend Zone,” and “Spin The Block.” The standout of the three is “Energy,” as it paints the fullest picture of who RAAHiiM is as an artist. “Energy” was co-written with Grammy Award winner Nineteen85 who also steps into the role of producer with RAAHiim, Jeff Crake, 905Luca, and Brammah.
RAAHiiM has decided to allow the project to speak for itself. Instead of going on a press tour about the project, he’s taken to social media to speak with fans directly at each step of the recording process. But the day before But If iiM Honest’s release, he took to Twitter to let go of the nerves he’s been holding onto, writing, “I spent a long ass time working on this album… ya’ll better like it, or imma cry.”
Jastin Martin – “Miss Me Yet”
Patience is a virtue. Singer Jastin Martin is a prime example of this ideology. Since as far back as 2019, the Houston, Texas, representative has released a string of projects, including XVIII, Growing Pains, Letters To My Exes, and Mine, giving herself space in between to marinate on different sounds. The final result of those years of longanimity is her new album, Miss Me Yet.
Many artists shutter under the pressures that come with their major label debut. However, this isn’t the case for Martin. Across the album’s 10 tracks, Martin demonstrates that she understands who she is not only as a songwriter but as a vocalist and producer as well.
In partnership with Grammy Award-winning producer David “Swagg R’Celious” Harris, Martin matures her technical ear for music. Nearly half of the album’s tracks have a production fingerprint from Martin, whose heavy hand in its crafting its direction can’t be underrated. Miss Me Yet is a creative concoction of acoustic sonics, trap heavy bass, and animated synths flairs. On the title track, Martin steps to tone for the rest of the body of work. Standout tracks “Up” and “S.O.M.S (Still Owe Me Something)” serve as bookmarks that help balance out her experimentation.
In a statement shared with ThisIsRNB, Martin spoke about her love of songwriting, saying, “My writing is so detailed that I wouldn’t have to tell anyone a song is about them – they would know it. I’ll even cry sometimes when I’m just writing and playing my guitar at the park. It’s a feeling of emotion like no other,” she admits. That rawness translates into moody, silky neo-soul that’s as cathartic for her as it is comforting to listeners. “If I’m gonna give something of myself,” Jastin says, “I might as well give all of it.”
After the project was made available across streaming platforms, Martin took to Instagram to share a sweet note with fans before they dived in. “I always say my favorite part about music is the feeling it gives you. It’s a feeling like no other to relate to and/or feel something so deeply that it moves your spirit, and I can only hope that this album moves you how it moves me,” wrote the entertainer.
Overall, Miss Me Yet, is Jastin Martin’s formal declaration of arrival in R&B.
LOONY – “Old Friends”
Does absence truly make the heart grow fonder? On her latest single, “Old Friends,” singer LOONY argues to the contrary. Since the Scarborough, Ontario native’s breakout project, soft thing, Loony has made it a point to challenge emotional norms. The track which was written entirely by Loony with production by Akeel Henry, Dan Farber, and Aaron Paris is about the scars prolonged distance leaves.
As a follow-up to her song “First Thing Smokin’,” Loony demonstrates her range. Although “Old Friends,” is on the shorter spectrum, it somehow still manages to tackle the track’s theme from multiple viewpoints. In the first half of the track, Loony sinks her teeth into the muddy transition area between active lovers to the facade of being “just friends.”
When Loony sings, “I know the world’s been heavy on us (Heavy on us) lately / But you know we’ve got to smile sometimes / And I’m there when you’re scared, if you’re scared (You know I’m there) / But I know you don’t flinch for shit / And old hurt don’t fade, no, not a bit,” she turns her attention what happens when a friendship is strained – a common thing addressed by Loony.
Loony uses “Old Friends” to provoke thought about relationship dynamics outside of sexual obligations, the bread and butter of R&B music.
Miguel – “Number 9” featuring Lil Yachty
R&B is not a monolith. With each release, recording artist Miguel demonstrates just how fluid the genre can be. As a crooner, the singer can effortlessly deliver a deeply moving ballad. He’s also proven via the Coco soundtrack to be more than capable of crafting songs with cultural significance. However, Miguel seems to feel the most at home creatively when operating on the fringes of traditional and alternative.
On his new single, “Number 9,” featuring Lil Yachty returns to his experimental roots. Neither is afraid to commit themselves to stepping out of their respective genres as the pair incorporate rock elements into their verse. The track pulls inspiration from the numeric meaning that is spiritual awakening, completion, and healing. However, before arriving at the point, Miguel has to live on the edge, highlighted in the first verse as he sings, “Breaklights off in the distance, don’t follow me / And the sky came crawlin’ out beneath the waves / Crashin’ into the sun, ain’t no stoppin’ me / And when the checkered flags are waved / There’ll be no one else and nothing left of me.”
Lil Yachty is the perfect compliment to the track. When his turn comes around, he takes the song’s theme to new heights as he raps, “Fell your default and emotions / Fulfillin’ devotion / Don’t you get away, I’ll be on your skin like lotion / Livin’ inside your brain, I’m the reason your brain’s open.”
Miguel’s last single, “Give It To Me,” was for R&B lovers. “Number 9” featuring Lil Yachty is for fans of Miguel and everything he has to offer.
Jordan Ward & 6lack – “Mustard”
As the age-old saying goes, anything worth having is worth fighting for. But, how long can you last in the boxing ring of life? Well, for recording artist Jordan Ward the answer is over a decade. On his new single, “Mustard” with 6lack, the musician takes a bittersweet walk down memory lane.
The Louie Lastic-produced track is the lead single off his forthcoming album, Moreward (Forward). On “Mustard,” Ward looks back on the hurdles he faced in the early stages of his career. Hollywood, California, and the surrounding area is the land of dreams but not everyone accomplishes theirs in the way Ward has. Ward taps into that heartbreaking reality especially in the chorus, as he sings, “Held it down for ten summers like Mustard / With me or not, it’s gon’ come again / New kids jumpin’ off the senior stands / And they made a new wave, they gettin’ more advanced / I done seen this whole town wipеd clean / Condos bury memories of my teens / I done seen this whole town get geeked.”
In a TikTok video, Ward took a moment to open up with fans about the inspiration behind the track, writing, “[I] moved to Los Angeles at 18 [years old] and survived ten hot ass summers. [Then] made a song about it almost a year ago exactly.”
On Instagram, Ward took a moment to show love to his collaborator, posting, “6lack f*cking bodied this verse! Thank u again for sharing your gift g, you been paving the way for years and always gave me positive energy throughout my journey!”
Trevis – “So I Can Sleep Sound” feat. WSTRN
Genre-bending recording artist and producer Trevis isn’t taking much time between releases. Last month the Norwegian entertainer linked up with Eric Bellinger and Angel on “Company For Now Remix.” Now, he’s back with his latest single, “So I Can Sleep Sound,” featuring WSTRN.
Trevis revisits his 2022 track, “Sleep Sound,” to add a few delicate touches. As he works through losing his lover, Trevis scrambles to trace back to when things first began to fall apart as he sings, “Got my own thoughts, but I can’t control you / Gotta mind of your own, only you can do you / Switched so fast now I’m scared I’ma lose you / Been together for a while and I thought / I knew you / Til you went and / Switched off your phone now / Hanging with the wrong crowd / Selling your soul now / Just to be sought out.”
When asked about the process of recording the track, in a statement, Trevis said, “I produced, wrote, and recorded Sleep Sound in Los Angeles with my boy Able Heart. It was instantly one of my toughest beats, and the vocal melodies just felt right. As soon as I got back to London, we tapped on WSTRN to hop on it. “I’ve never written a song that speaks so directly to how I’ve felt before. Every line in the chorus is hand-picked from things I wrote to this girl.”
Courtney Shilo – “Silence”
They say everything’s bigger in the Lone Star state. Budding singer Courtney Shilo’s star-power certainly falls into that theory. The Beaumont, Texas native first hit the radar of R&B lovers back in 2016 with the release of her EP A Single Life. However, after taking an extended hiatus Shilo had to start over nearly from scratch on her latest project Do Not Disturb.
Although the five-track body of work was shared in January, thanks to her new music video one of the project’s breakout songs has reentered the topic of conversation. For those questioning if artists still make traditional R&B tracks, the EP’s opening song “Silence” is the proper response. Shilo along with Darren Billy Jr put their creative pens together to cook up a remorse record all about dealing with the consequences of emotional immaturity. To amplify the story being told on “Silence,” Shilo tapped Lab Ox to cultivate a production environment suitable for the sorrowful tale conveyed by her tear-jerking vocals.
As Shilo sings, “Every time the phone rings I’m hoping it’s you / I’m calling up your phone sending emails too / Whatever I gotta do to get in touch with you / I know that I made a big mistake / Please forgive me babe / I can’t take / No I can’t take / No I won’t take silence from you,” she puts her pride to the side to win her lover back.
In a statement shared with ThisIsRnB, Shilo opened up about the inspiration behind the track, saying, “This song was born out of a personal journey through the tumultuous landscape of emotions. We’ve all experienced moments where our words have caused unintended pain, and it’s often in the silence that follows that we truly grasp the magnitude of our actions. ‘Silence’ is a plea for redemption, a chance to mend what was broken by my own hand.”