Where is Neo-Soul Now?

Nov 9, 2018

Where Is Neo-Soul Now?

Has anyone else been wondering about the neo-soul movement lately? The musical genre of neo-soul developed in the eighties and nineties, came to the forefront of popular and mainstream music in the nineties, and carried on into the early two thousands. The genre has musical ties and origins deriving from hip-hop, jazz, R&B, and, most of all, soul. It distinguished itself from the more manufactured and produced contemporary R&B during that time and became integral to the musical trends of those decades, especially as it pertains to the black community. Some of the most popular artists in the neo-soul genre of that time include Jill Scott, Lauryn Hill, Erykah Badu, Maxwell, Sade, The Roots, and more!

Young Rapper

Neo-soul today, in the 2010s, is not necessarily nonexistent. But there is an argument to say that has evolved to become an element reabsorbed into those original genres. There aren’t too many new artists in this moment, as established as those mentioned above, that are directly associated within the neo-soul genre– but that doesn’t mean that they don’t exist. There are several young and newer artists that can be named right now– tobi lau, KAIIT, Goapele, and Willow Smith just to name a few– that have emerged/are emerging and are making sure neo-soul has a place in the contemporary music scene.

This is also not to say that some of the pioneers and more associated acts of the original neo-soul movements are out of the picture. These artists are still creating and flourishing within the music industry and the entertainment industry as a whole. Lauryn Hill is currently on a tour celebrating the twentieth anniversary of her debut and only album, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill. Maxwell has recently released the third installment of his Black Summers’ Night album trilogy, BlackSummers’NIGHT.  


singer D’Angelo and  vanguard black messiah

Along those same lines, singer D’Angelo is reportedly working on new music. D’Angelo is a fellow musician to Maxwell and Lauryn Hill, also being credited with shaping the neo-soul movement in the nineties. A member from his management team has revealed that he “has been working in the studio, deep in the recording process”. His third and most recent album was titled Black Messiah and was released in 2014 after releasing no new music since 2000. So, makes sense to say that we’re very curious as to what he has in store for his listeners.

Who are some of your favorite neo-soul artists? Classic or contemporary? You can comment below or let us know via social media @vocalworkout!