Kemi Ade’s 9 UK Black R&B Artists You Need to Hear

Kemi Ade © Prexa Shrestha
Kemi Ade © Prexa Shrestha

This Black History Month, Atwood Magazine has invited artists to participate in a series of essays, interviews, reviews, poetry, playlists, and more features in recognition of, and out of respect for the symbolism and significance of this month.

Today, South London-based artist-to-watch Kemi Ade shares her list of need-to-know, “insanely underrated” Black UK R&B artists as a part of Atwood Magazine’s Black History Month series. One of London’s most exciting artists herself, Ade recently released her EP DRIVE (Dusk Edition) in January 2021 – a three-track record hot on the heels of last October’s introductory DRIVE (Dawn Edition) EP, whose expressive songs set a high bar of propulsive, intimate, and bouncy R&B. A stunningly soulful, seductive collection of empowering, introspective, and expressing songs, Kemi Ade’s double EP DRIVE project is a vibe in all the right ways. It’s smoldering R&B ready to light up the 2020s: A provocative and compelling musical journey through groovy, confident highs and immersive lows that brings us up close and personal with the artist. A six-song set with two short introductory tracks for each record, DRIVE (Dawn Edition) and DRIVE (Dusk Edition) mark an ascendant moment for Kemi Ade’s artistry. Dawn and Dusk pull us in and drag us under, hypnotizing listeners through a fine balance of earnest and heartfelt sentiments drenched in a deliciously heated R&B environment. There is no denying Kemi Ade’s talent; she is undeniably one of the UK’s most exciting voices in R&B, and an artist we cannot wait to hear more from in the coming years.
Featured here are a selection of Kemi Ade’s favorite current Black UK R&B artists: Gramn, Rukhsana Merrise, Kadeem Tyrell, Qhairo, Tamaraebi, Jamilah Barry, J Warner, Shae Jacobs, and Bellah.

''A F*cking Vibe'': Kemi Ade Dives into Her Seductive, Empowering 'DRIVE' Dawn & Dusk EPs

•• ••

9 Insanely Underrated UK Black Artists

by Kemi Ade


She’s from East London and her vocals are phenomenal. A pen is like no other. This is one of my favourite songs, and I think you’ll love it too.


•• ••

Rukhsana Merrise

I remember the first time I heard Rukhsana’s voice. I was blown away. Rukshana’S tone is literally husky honey. Check out her song ‘See you again’, it’s nostalgia in 3 mins.

•• ••

Kadeem Tyrell

How it Feels is honestly the song I was repeating all 2020. It makes you feel so good you forget you’re in a panasonic. Kadeem really did his thing on this one.

•• ••


As an Alternative RnB lover, Qhairo is a fave and annoyingly underrated. His voice is like liquid gold and he brings a new edge to sound. I LOVE HIM. Get into this.

•• ••


Tamarabi really said he was the The King of Indie RnB with this one. Innocence is a stunning piece of music. He literally sings to your “Innocence”.

•• ••

Jamilah Barry

A voice that literally stunned me to silence the first moment I heard it. Jamilah literally has an undeniable tone. Her voice is so special. ‘Dance Moves’ is so special to me.

•• ••

J Warner

Single-handedly the best male vocalist in the UK. Penmanship is absolutely BRAZZZY. I love a BOUNCE. Strawberry Moon has that and so much more. Let this one just wash over you.

•• ••

Shae Jacobs

So I’m a huge fan of Afrobeats. But Shae, he does it in a new way that is for the ladies. THIS SONG. I swear to you it’s the perfect song to make you feel sexy and dance. The perfect mix of Afro + RnB. ADD SHAE TO YOU PLAYLISTS.

•• ••


This song is insanely good. Infectious even.  Bellah’s  tone & the Drums. A melting pot of greatness. Bellah is literally an R&B Queen in the making. Do NOT Sleep On HER.

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DRIVE Dusk - Kemi Ade

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''A F*cking Vibe'': Kemi Ade Dives into Her Seductive, Empowering 'DRIVE' Dawn & Dusk EPs


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