R&B's new generation | EW.com

Music

R&B's new generation

R&B's new generation -- Artists such as Bobby Brown, Alexander O'Neal, and Al B. Sure are releasing new albums

Keith Sweat isn’t the only young love god making hearts flutter. Since Bobby Brown’s ”My Prerogative” — the first new jack swing hit — swept the nation in 1988, there has been an explosion of handsome, under-30 black men gazing longingly from album covers, among them Alexander O’Neal and Al B. Sure!, both of whom can make the gazee feel like the only girl in his life. Originally new jack swing revved up black pop crooning by setting it to hip-hop’s infectious beat, but the form quickly took off in many directions (raided by stand-up soul groups like Color Me Badd, Jodeci, and Boyz II Men).

Bobby Brown, the pure dance wizard with a ”tenderoni” side, is expected back on the charts in January after a long absence. O’Neal has the sharp wardrobe and cutting wit: He made his name with 1987’s dance-floor dis ”Fake.” But his latest, All True Man, is a totally grown-up collection of insights from the heart of the young single male, and very smooth. Sure! is the real singer in the bunch, a suitable-for-framing pop idol whose image is all seduction even though most of his tunes jump. And those are just the biggies. As long as people fall in love, there’ll be a good-looking guy in a nice suit singing to you, and only you, baby.