From Erykah Badu to Maxwell: Songs From Neo-Soul’s Baby Years [Playlist]

Photo Credit: Peter Van Breukelen/Redferns

Photo Credit: Peter Van Breukelen/Redferns

To celebrate our upcoming On & On: A Night of Neo Soul party we made a playlist dedicated towards the baby years of the genre.

If you’re a regular reader of Okaylayer, chances are you know the origin story of neo-soul. Former Motown Records president William “Kedar” Massenburg came up with the phrase in the ’90s to help market and promote some of the emerging talent — mainly D’Angelo and Erykah Badu — that was fusing soul, hip-hop, and R&B into one gorgeous cocktail.

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Massenburg put a name to neo-soul. But, of course, the genre had been around for years prior to that. There are traces of neo-soul found in a wide spectrum of artists, from Prince to Tony! Toni! Toné! to A Tribe Called Quest. Although neo-soul is far from its heyday, it’s still a force, with artists like Steve Lacy, Ari Lennox, and Kyle Dion carrying the torch.

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Every month we have a party dedicated to neo-soul. On Thursday, September 26th our third On & On: A Night of Neo Soul party will go down at Paper Tiger in Los Angeles. (You can RSVP for that party here.) That night we will be celebrating Siaira Shawn, who will be releasing her new EP, Tender.


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Singer-songwriter @siairashawn speaks on artistry and purpose. Her new EP ‘Tender’ drops tomorrow! • We’re thrilled to have her this Thursday at On&On with @xojsmn + @somebadi! See you there LA! RSVP in bio • #OKPis20 #onandonlounge #thisisforthelove

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You should pull up. Until then check out our special neo-soul playlist dedicated towards the baby years of the genre below.


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