‘Scuse Me While I Feel Myself—A Guide To 2016’s Women of R&B

By Savana James, Feature Photo via Complex

Women in R&B truly dominated 2016 for me, with the release of countless albums, singles, and EPs keeping me hooked all year long. Listed below are a few of my personal favourites this year has blessed me with, and I hope I can impart these blessings unto you. These groovy ladies all deserve a spot in your hearts and your playlists.


Jamila Woods—“Lonely, Lonely (Feat. Lornie Chia)”

Jamila Woods is my favourite find of the year. She’s a native to Chicago, most notably known for her features on tracks like Macklemore’s (somewhat controversial) single “White Privilege II.” Her debut album HEAVN was her chance to prove her own, and she delivered. Every single track is a gem, and all of the songs offer affirmations of positivity, faith, and belief in your black girl magic. The track “Lonely Lonely” was one of the most magical on the album, serving up the the perfect blend of mellow beats and introspective lyrics to get you into feeling at peace with yourself.



Kehlani has been killing it for a while now, but 2016 saw a true shift into the limelight. Her track “Gangsta” for the Suicide Squad soundtrack really caught my attention this year. I think anyone who saw the film got a moment of true enjoyment when this eerie track crept in under the Joker-Harley scenes, infecting the film with a scary-meets-sexy vibe. I’m truly thankful to the track for introducing me to this rad chick. “Gangasta” is a trust testament to both Kehlani’s talent and grind, definitely working to build up the hype for her highly anticipated album, Sweet Sexy Savage, dropping in 2017.


NAO—”Fool to Love”

NAO dropped her debut album For All We Know this year and it is a crazy good collection of tracks. She serves up a sound that I can only describe as electric meets R&B meets funk. It’s the kind of sound I haven’t found before, and made it one of the greatest finds of the year for me. The track “Fool to Love” is the perfect introduction into NAOs sound and world, and amps up the anticipation for the future music this artist has in store.


Ari Lennox—”Yuengling”

Ari Lennox is an artist I stumbled across on twitter, and I’ve never been so thankful. This year she dropped an EP titled Pho that showcases her undeniable talent. The girls got a killer flow, with sexy beats and vocals to match. “Yuengling” is the opening track to the collection, and really showcases what she’s all about. If you love this track, check out the entire EP, and let it whisk you away.


Tinashe—”Ride of Your Life”

Tinashe is a woman on her grind and on the rise. Her 2016 project Nightride was a collection of cool tracks that went beyond any conventional notion of R&B. The album weaves effortlessly between sexy club jams and haunting soundscapes, making for one of the best produced albums of the year. “Ride of Your Life” is one of my favorites off the album. Tinashe’s vocals paired with a club beat produced by Metro Boomin make for a tune I’m always down to dance to.


Lizzo—”Scuse Me”

To end this list, I figured I’d introduce you to my new favourite woman of the year, Lizzo. This Minneapolis hip-hop artist released her Coconut Oil EP this year, and it quickly stole the hearts of girls around the world. Track after track praises self-love and self-worth, and is a fun time all around. “Scuse Me” is my favourite off the collection—a slow sexy jam about looking sexy and feelin’ yourself in the mirror. Putting you in the groove, it’s the kind of jam everyone should have in their arsenal.


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