December 12, 2022 | Tokyo, Japan | Team RJHH
Japanese R&B is a constantly evolving musical genre that has drawn inspiration from various genres such as soul, funk, hip-hop, and pop to create a unique and captivating sound. Since the 1990s, Japanese artists have contributed to shaping the R&B landscape by creating catchy melodies and moving lyrics that have found a loyal fan base in Japan and around the world.
The best Japanese R&B albums are those that have managed to combine catchy melodies, moving lyrics, and influential voices to create an unforgettable listening experience. Artists such as Utada Hikaru, SOULHEAD, Minmi, Acharu, pukkey, Crystal Kay, Thelma Aoyama, Heartsdales, and EMI MARIA have made their mark on the R&B scene with unforgettable tracks that have touched the hearts of listeners. A new generation of artists emerged in the late 2010s, such as aimi, Kira, Furui Riho, Konny, and others, who have produced new albums. These current music projects are the result of motivated artists who have captured the essence of this musical genre while bringing a personal and innovative touch. Their music includes several musical influences that contribute to creating a unique sound.
Thus, we have selected the best Japanese R&B albums of 2022. These projects offer a variety of sounds and atmospheres, ranging from classic R&B to hip-hop and soul influences. They all have familiar catchy melodies that will not fail to make you feel alive. We hope this list will help you discover new artists and appreciate the richness of Japanese R&B.
Ai | DREAM
Ai is a Japanese star recognized by her peers for her musical talents in various genres, including R&B, pop, soul, and rap. Born in Los Angeles and raised in Kagoshima, Japan, she developed a diverse musical range that led her to collaborate with renowned American artists such as Snoop Dogg, Chris Brown, Jim Jones, Lloyd, Trey Songz, and BOYZ 2 MEN.
See also : Ai DREAM, Universal Music Japan
In February 2022, Ai released her highly anticipated latest studio album, DREAM, consisting of nine tracks offering a perfect blend of musical styles. The album showcases up-and-coming Japanese rap stars but not only. DREAM is a true musical adventure that explores sounds ranging from Gospel to R&B to Hip-Hop. One of the most popular tracks on the album is “THE MOMENT,” featuring rapper ¥ellow Bucks, which mixes rap passages with Ai’s raspy voice. The song has been streamed more than ten million times on streaming sites. The track “IN THE MIDDLE” features Japanese pop icon, Daichi Miura, adding a touch of variety to the album’s mix of musical genres.
Following the album’s success, Ai began a tour throughout Japan with more than 30 performances, allowing fans to experience her musical universe live. DREAM is a must-listen album for music lovers who want to discover Ai’s versatile talents in various musical genres.
Furui Riho | Green Light
Furui Riho, hailing from Hokkaido, is a young R&B singer who has made waves with melodic compositions and arrangements. She began exploring her love for music at a young age, participating in a gospel choir, which helped shape her musical roots. Since then, she has continued to climb the ranks of the Japanese music industry, churning out successful singles that have been streamed millions of times.
See also : Furui Riho Official Website
In March 2022, Furui Riho released her debut album, “Green Light,” culminating in several years of hard work. The nine-track album features some pop-influenced tracks but retains the big R&B hits that have made her a household name. The songs from “Green Light” have been streamed over two million times on Apple Music and Spotify, attesting to the young artist’s growing popularity. Furui Riho is still in the early stages of her career, but she is poised to become one of the rising stars of the Japanese music industry. With her undeniable talent for composition and arrangement, she is on track to become one of the most influential artists of her generation. Undoubtedly, we can expect many more successful singles and perhaps even collaborations with other renowned artists in the near future.
In summary, “Green Light” is a good album that glimpses Furui Riho’s potential as an artist. With her undeniable talent for composition and arrangement, we look forward to seeing what the future holds for this talented young singer.
aimi | Chosen One
Aimi is a talented R&B artist currently based in Tokyo. With only two years in the industry, she has already released three EPs, making her one of the most critical voices in contemporary Japanese R&B.
Before the release of her first EP, titled “WATER ME,” in 2020, Aimi was virtually unknown. However, her talent quickly caught the attention of R&B music fans in Japan and quickly gained popularity. One year later, Aimi released another EP titled “Changed 4 Good”, allowing her to expand her audience in Japan and worldwide.
see also: Aimi’s official website page
In February 2022, she released her third EP, “Chosen One, “ consisting of seven tracks. In this third album, fans quickly felt her influences on 90s R&B and contemporary artists such as H.E.R, Jhene Aiko, SZA, and Summer Walker. Passionate about songwriting, she skillfully mixes English and Japanese in her lyrics to reach a wider audience. Furthermore, Aimi celebrates love and life and has sweet and encouraging words for those affected by the Coronavirus pandemic. Since her resounding successes, Aimi has collaborated on several notable projects, including one with renowned producer Grooveman Spot and a collaboration with singer EMI MARIA.
In summary, Aimi is a talented R&B singer who has won the hearts of many fans thanks to her talent, passion for songwriting, and unique blend of musical influences. With a career that is just beginning, it is clear that she will continue to surprise and inspire her fans in the years to come.
Kønny | Back 2 Me
The first album by Kønny, titled “Back 2 Me”, was released in November 2022 and was a success for the Japanese R&B artist. Despite his relatively unknown status, Kønny generated excitement among listeners thanks to dozens of singles released on SoundCloud. With the release of Back 2 Me, Kønny presented high-quality music production and exceptional vocal performances.
The album features ten original tracks, each a testament to Kønny’s talent. One of the notable features of the album is how Kønny incorporates elements of rap into his tracks, particularly in the song “One Way Love,” where he delivers an explosive rap verse. Kønny’s vocal performances are impressive as he blends different tones to create a unique atmosphere in each song. Listening to the album, one can sense maturity and reflection in the lyrics, often imbued with nostalgia and a personal quest for meaning. The themes are varied and touch on love, daily life, and personal growth.
Overall, “Back 2 Me” is an exceptional debut album for Kønny. The Japanese R&B singer has demonstrated his musical potential, powerful voice, and ability to create unique atmospheres in each song. With this debut album, Kønny has managed to captivate listeners’ attention and will surely gain popularity.
Jasmine | Re:Me
Jasmine is a renowned singer, famous for her unique voice and amazing performances. After a long period of inactivity for five years, she made a comeback in 2019 with the album JASMINE2.0, a project that brought her closer to the hip-hop universe.
In January 2022, Jasmine presented a new album titled “Re:ME”, composed of 22 tracks. This project includes new songs discovered by her fans, as well as songs previously released in her old albums. The album is a work that incorporates JASMINE’s neo-blues sound with extreme lyrics that hit home. The Tokyo-born singer once again invited artists from the Japanese rap scene to participate in her latest project, including 5LACK, MC Tyson, OZWorld, Jinmenusagi, and AK-69. In addition to purely R&B tracks, there is a superb collaboration with rapper B.I.G Joe in the track “Come & Talk to me”. This winning combination of Jasmine with a rapper is further proof of her ability to transcend musical genres.
In “Re:ME” Jasmine offers us a rich and varied sound palette, ranging from soft and moving songs to more rhythmic and catchy tracks. The lyrics are imbued with melancholy, despair, and hope, and deal with themes such as love, loss, identity, and self-acceptance. “Re:ME” is a remarkable work that showcases Jasmine’s versatility and talent. With her unique voice and collaborations with rappers from the Japanese hip-hop scene, Jasmine continues to impress her audience with her authentic and moving music.