5 Rising R&B Baddies Whose Style Slays As Hard As Their Music
I don’t know about you, but when I check out a new artist, I judge them on style just as much as on sound. It says a lot about how an artist wants to be perceived. It’s no surprise, then, that some of the most influential R&B singers were major style icons.
R&B has always been as much about fashion as it is about music, especially in the ’90s.
Who can forget Aaliyah in that mesh-sleeve crop top and belly chain, in her video for “Are you That Somebody”? Her flawless post-goth side-bangs and black lipstick getup gives me chills to this day.
How about when Lil’ Kim served us red-carpet thot looks at the 1999 VMAs in her one-shoulder “mermaid” jumpsuit and a single nipple pasty? R.I.P. vintage Lil’ Kim.
Now, there’s a new wave of R&B babes who are walking in the footsteps of the women before them, and breaking new ground, in music and in fashion. These five are ones to watch.
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1. Abra, a.k.a. the “Darkwave Duchess”
Abra’s music has this ‘80s, lo-fi thot vibe that’s also super present in her style. With bleached-blonde beach waves, tube tops, and pleated skirts, she looks like a babe you’d see on the cover of those “Sweet Valley High” books you cherished as a tween: confident yet coy.
2. Destiny Frasqueri, a.k.a. “Princess Nokia”
Princess Nokia is kind of a chameleon. In 2013, and under the alias “Wavy Spice,” she looked more AA model than the tomboyish rapper she is today. To go along with her fearless flows about growing up brown and poor in NYC, Princess Nokia’s style fuses aspects of chola beauty like dark brown lipliner, with an ‘80s rap aesthetic like jerseys and high-tops.
3. Tommy Genesis
Tommy Genesis looks like that “bad girl” you’d heard about (or maybe were) in high school. The one who’d ditch class to smoke cigarettes with the skater kids under the bleachers and never had to run in Phys-Ed because she was supposedly always on her period. Musically, the self-proclaimed “fetish rapper” has been compared to M.I.A. But with her half-brown, half-blonde hair, oversize crops, and patched-up mini skirts, Tommy’s style has a distinctive DIY vibe that’ll speak to your inner emo thot.
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4. Kali Uchis
If Marilyn Monroe and Selena Quintanilla had a baby, it’d be Kali Uchis, a singer-songwriter from L.A. by way of Colombia. What I love about Kali is that she always resembles a wealthy femme fatale. But, like her music, she keeps her style playful, often rocking lingerie as outerwear and Barbie-pink nails to compliment her tattooed hands.
5. Liana Bank$
NYFW darling Liana Bank$ makes music that never really sticks to one aesthetic — and the same can be said of her style. With her penchant for green hair, fresh kicks, all black, and statement sunnies, Liana merges cybergoth looks with an R&B swag.
In the end, what make these R&B babes stand out as fashionistas is that they never tie themselves down to just one look. They’re a little hip-hop, a little rock’n’roll, and even when they’re doing the most, they always seem effortless.