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From the Archives: Old R&B Gems That Deserve Your Attention 

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Hampton U chapter.

Deep within music  lies the roots of so many of our favorite songs we listen to on repeat today. The classics, the songs we grew up with and that  ultimately shaped the person we are today. It’s the music we never knew we needed when we first heard it as an adolescent, but find so much comfort in the lyrics as we evolve into our adulthood. R&B reveals the soul, rhythm, and blues behind the melody and lyrics. It creates a vibe that is unmatched, and among the Black community is a renowned trademark into our history. We create memories, emotions, and love through the words of these songs. So here are three old R&B gems that remain on repeat for me. 

Pretty Wings by Maxwell: “Pretty Wings” by Maxwell is an undeniable choice for an old R&B gem. It was and still is an emotional masterpiece that will make you feel something regardless of what you’re going through. His ability to craft the lyrics and align his vocal range was done in a way that makes you want to curl in a ball and cry. Maxwell ultimately speaks about the ending of a relationship, and the struggle to set someone free. Throughout the song he sings how in order to do her and himself justice he must set her free hence “Pretty Wings.” The painful part of the song is his realization that the girl deserves better than what he could truly give her. It’s a classic heartbreak R&B gem, and quality piece of music nonetheless. 

Teach Me by Musiqsoulchild:  “Teach Me” is a soulful and heartfelt R&B song that dominated a large part of the rhythm and blues era. Singer Musiqsoulchild in renowned  for his smooth and emotive vocals, as well as his ability to blend various elements of soul, and neo-soul into his music. He effortlessly lets his talents be portrayed throughout this song where he sings about openly seeking  guidance in navigating  love, expressing a yearning for a deeper connection and understanding within the relationship. The song expresses a willingness to learn from his partner and grow together, emphasizing the idea that love is a journey of discovery and mutual understanding. Musiq Soulchild uses his soulful delivery to convey a sense of vulnerability and sincerity, creating an emotional connection with the listener. Definitely an underrated gem that deserves all the love. 

I’m Sprung by T-Pain: “I’m Sprung” is a classic and perhaps had everyone in a chokehold in the early 2000s. He sings about how he is down bad for a girl, and not particularly used to feeling so strongly about someone before. The melody and beat makes it a banger accompanied by a romantic but upbeat feel to it. The lyrics are relatable to anyone who has had a crush and not used to the new and exciting feelings that come with it. T-Pain has a way to articulate his music in ways that accentuate not only his vocal range, but his ability to incorporate  lyrics that can resonate with many people.

Zoë Rose

Hampton U '25

Zoë Rose is currently third year Journalism major with an emphasis on English & Creative Writing from Watchung, New Jersey. When she's not writing, she enjoys listening to music, spending time with friends, and doing yoga <3