7 R&B Albums From 2023 We're Grateful For This Thanksgiving

The feel-good season is upon us, and we’re reflecting on a few albums that we’re glad dropped this year.

BYWyatt Westlake
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best r&b albums 2023

The holidays are quickly approaching. And, with the end of the year around the corner, it's about that time we begin rounding up our highlights of the year, whether albums or singles. End-of-year lists are a fourth-quarter affair that both celebrate and conclude the year in music. We’ve already spotlighted this year’s best hip-hop albums, but there has certainly been no shortage of quality R&B music in 2023. 

To kick off November and this year’s Thanksgiving, we are highlighting some standout R&B albums from 2023 that we’re grateful for. These selections have been in rotation all year long, holding significant replay value and leaving lasting impressions on R&B as a whole. Here are 7 of the best R&B albums of 2023, listed in no particular order. Take a look at the albums below.

Kali Uchis - Red Moon In Venus

Kali Uchis has evolved artistically over the years and her latest album is a culmination of her many different styles. Following the reggaeton-centric Sin Miedo, Red Moon In Venus returns to Uchis’s R&B roots. It is her most soulful record yet, featuring production from Darkchild, Yussef Dayes, Sounwave, DJ Khalil, and more. While displaying her musical evolution, Kali Uchis maintains the dreamy R&B that established her as a unique voice within the scene. With Red Moon In Venus being one of the best R&B albums of 2023, Kali Uchis is already looking to next year as she readies her next Spanish-speaking album, Orquídeas. 

Read More: Kali Uchis' Releases Love-Laced LP, “Red Moon In Venus”

Tinashe - BB/ANG3L

Since going independent in 2019, Tinashe has been steadily releasing her most creative and confident albums yet. Following her excellent fifth album, 2021’s 333, she is back with yet another release. At just 7 tracks and a 20-minute runtime, BB/ANG3L might just be Tinashe’s boldest album to date as she freely blurs the lines between R&B and pop. With trippy production, infectious melodies, and catchy choruses, she embraces the experimental sound of her mixtapes with the polished creativity of her studio albums. On BB/ANG3L, she freely explores the moodier side of her sound, resulting in her most candid and concise work yet. 

Daniel Caesar - Never Enough

On his second album, 2019’s Case Study 01, Daniel Caesar diversified his sound with a range of tempos and subjects. His latest work, Never Enough does not look to recreate Freudian, but opts for a new approach to his ethereal and transparent R&B style. The music is more melancholy than ever with its themes of heartbreak, pain, and honesty. He also includes some love songs for good measure. With Never Enough, Daniel Caesar continues to reinvent his unique sound of R&B, making for one of the best R&B albums of 2023.

Read More: Daniel Caesar Taps Omar Apollo, Ty Dolla $ign, And Others For “NEVER ENOUGH” Album

Jorja Smith - Falling Or Flying

Another artist who pushed themselves artistically this year was Jorja Smith. In 2023, she came back with Falling Or Flying, which contains some of her strongest material yet. Smith continues to provide her dynamic vocal range and vulnerability in her songwriting. However, what particularly stands out are the moments where she explores new musical territory. The lively “Little Things” and pop-rock-inspired “Go Go Go” are balanced with the emotional openness of “Try Me” and the album’s title track. With Falling or Flying, Jorja Smith artfully delivers her signature R&B sound while going above and beyond.

Read More: Jorja Smith “Falling Or Flying” Album Review

Mahalia - IRL

Mahalia stunned listeners with her sincere songwriting and eclectic musicality in her 2019 debut, Love And Compromise. This year, she is finally back with her second album, IRL. While this album may favor a consistent mood over the adventurous nature of her debut, the results live up to high expectations. One of Mahalia’s greatest strengths is her ability to translate real-life experiences into engaging R&B songs, which she does on IRL. Inspired by a traumatic breakup and sessions in therapy, she draws from the painful parts of her past to confidently express herself. With the help of Joyce Wrice, JoJo, Stormzy, and Kojey Radical, Mahalia once again outdid herself on her long-awaited second album. 

Kelela - Raven

One highly anticipated R&B release that finally arrived in 2023 was Kelela’s second studio album. On Raven, she seamlessly builds upon her artful blend of ambient R&B and electronic music, resulting in another breathtaking album. Her 2017 debut, Take Me Apart was primarily centered around electro-R&B and pop, but Raven also incorporates elements of UK garage and dancehall. The production certainly matches Kelela’s enchanting vocals, as well as the deeply personal lyrics. Even with six years in between albums, Kelela did not disappoint in the slightest, exceeding expectations with Raven.

Victoria Monét - Jaguar II

Victoria Monét had a banner 2023 with the release of her debut album, Jaguar II. Following her 2020 EP, Jaguar, as well as being a successful songwriter for the better part of a decade, this year has been her crowning moment. Monét realized her full potential on her last EP, but she is at her most daring and musically creative on its sequel. With her debut, she makes Jaguar a full-length experience. At a lean 11 tracks, Jaguar II accomplishes many different facets of R&B while also traversing house and dancehall. Her delicate yet commanding vocals lend themselves to an array of expressions, from sentimental and reflective songs to sensual and groovy highlights. An impeccable debut album, Victoria Monét’s Jaguar II is undoubtedly one of the best R&B albums of 2023 that we’re grateful for this Thanksgiving. 

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About The Author
Wyatt Westlake is a writer from Somerville, MA. He has been writing about hip hop, RnB, and beyond for almost a decade, joining the HNHH team in 2023. Majoring in Communication Studies, he is currently finishing his BA at Temple University. Wyatt is also a radio presenter, hosting his own shows and curating eclectic playlists since 2019. An avid concert-goer, one all-time moment for him was when Dave brought him onstage to perform “Thiago Silva” in front of a sold-out crowd.