The Grammy for Best R&B Performance was first awarded in 2012 after an amalgamation of several former categories. Subsequently, several artists have taken the gold; some even more than once. The category now encompasses solo performances, collaborations, and vocal duets performed by artists. At the upcoming 2024 Grammys, five songs have earned nods in this category. While it is admittedly a short lineup, the songs in this category are all individually strong. From SZA's chart-topping "Kill Bill," to Coco Jones' "ICU," here are the songs up for the Best R&B Performance award.
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"Summer Too Hot" - Chris Brown
This uptempo song by R&B veteran Chris Brown is certainly one of his recent bests. It was released as the lead single from his eleventh studio album, 11:11, peaking at #93 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. "Summer Too Hot" features a bouncy production from RoccStar and DSTRK. Additionally, Nasri, Tony Martinez, and Major Myjah co-wrote the lyrics with Brown. Unsurprisingly, the 3-minute track contains some truly impressive vocals from the singer.
Throughout his career, he has been nominated for several Grammy awards for his stellar vocal performances. Admittedly, he has only picked up one award, winning the Best R&B Album trophy for his fourth album, F.A.M.E. Nevertheless, he is an accomplished R&B vocalist, and the Recording Academy recognizes that. At the 2024 Grammys, Brown has another chance to finally snag an award in this category.
"Back To Love" - Robert Glasper Ft. Sir & Alex Isley
"Back to Love" appears on the soundtrack album for the second season of the Starz comedy show, Run the World. Despite very limited commercial success, it has rightfully earned a nomination in this category. The track is a sensual R&B offering featuring lush vocals from SiR and Alex Isley. It was produced by decorated producer Robert Glasper, and his son Riley Glasper. Within the 3:21 runtime of the song, SiR and Isley exhibit beautiful vocal chemistry. They sing with the deftness and conviction that is characteristic of iconic R&B vocalists. Additionally, it is all tied together by the sexy pianos and drums provided by Robert and Riley Glasper. Undeniably, "Back to Love" is a modern-day R&B gem that gives off a nostalgic, timeless vibe.
"ICU" - Coco Jones
Coco Jones released "ICU" as the second single from her Grammy-nominated fifth EP, What I Didn't Tell You. It went on to peak at number 62 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. So far, "ICU" is her only song to appear on the chart, but it is now a Platinum-certified single. The DJ Camper-produced song sees Jones showcasing admirable vocal dexterity. Throughout the track, she fully utilizes her impressive vocal range, going from sultry lows to pleasing highs. Without a doubt, she is one of R&B's brightest new stars, and songs like "ICU" show why. At the 2024 Grammys, she has a good chance of winning in this category. Alongside a nod for Best New Artist, this is one of the five categories she's nominated in.
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"How Does It Make You Feel" - Victoria Monet
With the release of her debut album, Jaguar II, Victoria Monet's artistry evolved. While she had previously released several projects, none of them had caught the attention of the Recording Academy. Although those projects were great in their own right, Jaguar II was evidently an elevated sonic experience. "How Does It Make You Feel" is the sixth track on the critically acclaimed album. Additionally, it is one of its standout tracks. It undoubtedly houses some of the best vocals from Monet on the entire project. The song was solely produced by veteran producer D'Mile. He is also, deservedly up for Producer of the Year, Non-Classical, for his stellar work on Jaguar II. With "How Does It Make You Feel," Monet could claim the award for Best R&B Performance at the 2024 Grammys.
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"Kill Bill" - SZA
One of the biggest songs of 2023, "Kill Bill" is a slow-burning R&B masterpiece. It was released on January 10, 2023, as the fifth single from SZA's critically acclaimed sophomore album, SOS. Subsequently, it peaked atop the Billboard Hot 100 chart and is currently certified 5x Platinum. Besides SZA, "Kill Bill" was written and co-produced by Rob Bisel and Carter Lang. Although the song runs for less than three minutes, it contains a stunning vocal delivery from the singer. Admittedly, the sing-rap style employed by SZA is quite laidback compared to other performances on this lineup. However, her performance is just as worthy of this nomination as every other song on this list. SZA's delivery is just right on "Kill Bill." Additionally, there are some sweet spots all over the song where SZA flexes her vocal chops.
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