Your Cheat Sheet for Telling All the ‘SoundCloud R&B’ Singers Apart

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If you thought the colorful, criminal web of SoundCloud rappers was a lot to take in — well, welcome to the world of SoundCloud R&B, a rich network of singers from the U.S. to the U.K. that grows more robust and complex by the day. There are the mush mouths, the whisper octaves, and the sensitive-but-make-it-sexy dudes. You’ve likely heard songs like “Boo’d Up,” “On My Mind,” “Focus,” and “I Don’t Know Why Though,” but which breathy diva-in-waiting sings which? From the Drake-approved to the viral sensations to the household names, here’s a handy cheat sheet to ease the confusion. This list is not exhaustive — it’s just too big a universe, and it’s growing too fast! — and not every single artist listed below got their start on SoundCloud, but all are now staples of the platform and this generation of R&B stars.

The Drake-Approved

Jorja Smith

Age: 21
Hometown: Walsall, West Midlands, England
The Thing She’s Known For: Featuring on Drake’s More Life song, “Get It Together,” which came together when Drake slid in her Intstagram DMs and requested the appearance after he heard her work on SoundCloud. (But as she is quick to clarify, their relationship was strictly professional.) Also, for getting a solo song on Kendrick Lamar’s Black Panther soundtrack. But mostly, her honeyed vocals and staying unsigned.
That One Song You Might Know: “Blue Lights,” “On My Mind,” and the aforementioned “Get It Together.”

PartyNextDoor

Age: 24
Hometown: Mississauga, Ontario, Canada
The Thing He’s Known For: Being the first artist signed to Drake’s OVO Sound record label, collaborating often with Drake, writing other people’s hits (Rihanna’s “Work” and “Wild Thoughts”), homewrecking, making out with Kylie Jenner (whom he maybe once dated) in the rain in that one video.
That One Song You Might Know: “Come and See Me,” “Recognize” featuring Drake, and “Not Nice.”

Majid Jordan

Age: Majid Al Maskati (vocals), 27; Jordan Ullman (production), 24
Hometown: Toronto
The Thing They’re Known For: Signing to Drake’s OVO Sound, getting featured on and co-producing Drake’s “Hold On, We’re Going Home,” withholding their identity when they first started uploading to SoundCloud (a recurring theme on this list).
That One Song You Might Know: Besides “Hold On,” “Her, “My Love” featuring Drake, “Make It Work.”

Roy Woods

Age: 22
Hometown: Brampton, Ontario, Canada
The Thing He’s Known For: Being signed to Drake’s OVO Sound, singing sedated love songs, kicking a potentially dangerous drug habit.
That One Song You Might Know: “Drama” featuring Drake or “Instinct” featuring MadeinTYO.

dvsn

Age: Nineteen85 is 32, but the age of the duo’s other half, Daniel Daley, is unclear.
Hometown: Toronto
The Thing They’re Known For: Being signed to Drake’s OVO Sound record label and not revealing their identity for months. DVSN initially remained anonymous – à la the Weeknd – until it was discovered the pair behind the duo are Drake’s in-house producer Nineteen85 (né Paul Jefferies) and Nineteen85’s affiliate, singer Daniel Daley.
That One Song You Might Know: “Hallucinations” (whose video co-stars Queen Sugar’s Kofi Siriboe!) and “Mood.”

The Rising Stars

H.E.R.

Age: 20
Hometown: Vallejo, California
The Thing She’s Known For: Remaining totally anonymous up until last summer (H.E.R. stands for Having Everything Revealed); potentially working with Rihanna; covering Drake; working with Daniel Caesar and Khalid.
That One Song You Might Know: “Focus” and “Best Part.”

6LACK

Age: 25
Hometown: Atlanta
The Thing He’s Known For: Styling his name “6lack” but pronouncing it like “black”; signing with Flo Rida’s record label to little success; striking it big on his own on SoundCloud with his song “Prblms.”
That One Song You Might Know: “Prblms,” “Ex Calling,” “OTW.”

Sabrina Claudio

Age: 21
Hometown: Miami
The Thing She’s Known For: Being deeply racist toward black women, which was uncovered in old, derogatory tweets that Claudio has since apologized for (Claudio is half Cuban, half Puerto Rican); dominating SoundCloud prior to that controversy.
That One Song You Might Know: “Belong to You,” “Unravel Me,” “Don’t Let Me Down” featuring Khalid.

Alina Baraz

Age: 24
Hometown: Cleveland
The Thing She’s Known For: Getting discovered on SoundCloud for singing over songs by Danish electronic producer Galimatias; working closely with Khalid.
That One Song You Might Know: “Electric” featuring Khalid, “I Don’t Even Know Why Though,” “Fantasy.”

Gallant

Age: 26
Hometown: Columbia, Maryland
The Thing He’s Known For: Having one of the silkiest falsettos in the business; performing with Sufjan Stevens often (they’ve even covered Drake together); his “In the Room” live concert webseries, which has included duets with Dua Lipa, John Legend, Seal, and, of course, Sufjan.
That One Song You Might Know: “Weight in Gold,” “Gentleman,” “Bourbon,” “Skipping Stones” featuring Jhené Aiko.

RAY BLK

Age: 24
Hometown: Catford, South London
The Thing She’s Known For: Winning the BBC’s Sound of 2017 poll; staying unsigned; once being in a band with fellow British R&B singer MNEK.
That One Song You Might Know: “My Hood” featuring Stormzy and “Chill Out” featuring SG Lewis.

NAO

Age: 30
Hometown: East London
The Thing She’s Known For: Her high-pitched vocals; once singing in an all-girl a cappella group called the Boxettes; being a leading voice in Britain’s neo-soul revival; branding her style “wonky funk.”
That One Song You Might Know: “Bad Blood,” “Girlfriend,” “In the Morning.”

Mabel

Age: 22
Hometown: London (but she’s from Stockholm and Spain)
The Thing She’s Known For: Winning the genetic lottery by being the daughter of Neneh Cherry and Massive Attack’s Cameron McVey; self-starting her career on SoundCloud.
That One Song You Might Know: “Know Me Better,” “Finders Keepers,” “Thinking of You.”

The Bubbling Under

Amber Mark

Age: 24
Hometown: New York City
The Thing She’s Known For: She comes Sade-approved (Mark wrote Sade to get her permission to cover “Love Is Stronger Than Pride” on her EP, which Sade personally granted); writing an EP about the death of her mother; producing her own songs.
That One Song You Might Know: “Love Me Right, “Lose My Cool.”

VanJess

Age: Ivana Nwokike, 26; Jessica Nwokike, 25
Hometown: Lagos, Nigeria
The Thing They’re Known For: They’re sisters (but not twins); they technically got their start on YouTube posting covers and mash-ups; they appeared on Linda Perry’s Make or Break VH1 reality show.
That One Song You Might Know: “Touch the Floor,” “Addicted,” and “Though Enough” featuring GoldLink.

Sydney Renae

Age: 23
Hometown: New York City
The Thing She’s Known For: Covering Bryson Tiller’s “Don’t,” Tami, Tyrese, and more on her popular YouTube channel.
That One Song You Might Know: “Into You” cover, “How You Gonna” cover, “Tell Her.”

Mahalia

Age: 19
Hometown: Birmingham, England
The Thing She’s Known For: She wrote her first song at 8 years old; got signed at 13; has already toured with Ed Sheeran; she’s also an actress who appeared in the film Brotherhood.
That One Song You Might Know: “Sober”

The Viral Sensations

Bazzi

Age: 20
Hometown: Canton, Michigan
The Thing He’s Known For: Having his song, “Mine,” become a Hot 100 hit after its opening line (“You’re so fuckin’ precious when you smile”) was turned into a meme from a popular Snapchat filter overflowing with heart emoji. (The song has reached No. 29 on the chart.)
That One Song You Might Know: “Mine”

Queen Naija

Age: 22
Hometown: Detroit
The Thing She’s Known For: Co-starring in the popular former YouTube vlog channel “Chris and Queen” with her ex-husband (Chris Sails); going through a public YouTuber divorce after it was discovered her husband had cheated on her; gaining viral traction with her song “Medicine” about that infidelity (the song has reached No. 45 on the Hot 100 and is currently the No. 2 most popular R&B song on SoundCloud).
That One Song You Might Know: “Medicine”

Layton Greene

Age: 19
Hometown: East St. Louis, Illinois
The Thing They’re Known For: Remixing Kodak Black’s “Roll in Peace” as an R&B song backed by the “Lovers and Friends” beat; going viral with its extended version uploaded to SoundCloud; reaching No. 12 on Billboard’s R&B singles chart with her remix.
That One Song You Might Know: “Roll in Peace” remix and “Myself.”

The SoundCloud-Adjacent

These artists didn’t necessarily get their start on SoundCloud, but now dominate the platform.

Ella Mai

Age: 23
Hometown: London
The Thing She’s Known For: Her song “Boo’d Up” going viral and reaching the Hot 100’s Top 10 a year after its release; getting discovered on Instagram by DJ Mustard through her soul cover of Fetty Wap’s “679”; being signed to his label, 10 Summers; was once in a girl group called Arize on X Factor that didn’t pan out; currently has the No. 1 song on SoundCloud’s R&B section.
That One Song You Might Know: “Boo’d Up” and Naked.”

Jessie Reyez

Age: 27
Hometown: Toronto
The Thing She’s Known For: Speaking out about sexual misconduct in the music industry; being friends with Chance the Rapper; collaborating with Calvin Harris, Romeo Santos, and, soon, Eminem.
That One Song You Might Know: “Figures,” “Gatekeeper,” Body Count.”

Daniel Caesar

Age: 23
Hometown: Oshawa, Ontario, Canada
The Thing He’s Known For: Going viral on Apple Music first; getting Grammy-nominated for his debut album; working with many women on this list, including H.E.R, Kali Uchis, Syd, and Jessie Reyez.
That One Song You Might Know: “Get You,” “Best Part,” “We Find Love,” “Blessed.”

Kali Uchis

Age: 24
Hometown: Alexandria, Virginia, and Pereira, Colombia
The Thing She’s Known For: Her retro style, in both fashion and sound; working frequently with Tyler, the Creator; being a low-key cinephile.
That One Song You Might Know: “Tyrant” and “After the Storm.”

Justine Skye

Age: 22
Hometown: Brooklyn, New York
The Thing She’s Known For: Her purple hair; covering Drake; taking a knee during her performance of the national anthem at a Nets game in solidarity with Colin Kaepernick.
That One Song You Might Know: “Collide,” “Back for More, ” “U Don’t Know,” “Don’t Think About It.”

Bibi Bourelly

Age: 23
Hometown: Maryland and Berlin
The Thing She’s Known For: Writing “Bitch Better Have My Money” and other Rihanna songs.
That One Song You Might Know: “Ego” and “Ballin.”

Chloe x Halle

Age: Halle Bailey, 19; Chloe Bailey, 18
Hometown: Atlanta
The Thing They’re Known For: Getting discovered by Beyoncé from their YouTube covers of her songs; becoming the first artists to sign to her record label, Parkwood; co-starring on Freeform’s Grown-ish; being sisters (but not twins); vocal harmonies for days.
That One Song You Might Know: “Happy Without Me,” “Grown,” “Drop.”

Jacquees

Age: 24
Hometown: Atlanta
The Thing He’s Known For: Signing with Cash Money Records; briefly feuding with Tory Lanez.
That One Song You Might Know: “B.E.D.” and “At the Club.”

THEY.

Age: Drew Love, 25; Dante Jones, n/a
Hometown: Los Angeles
The Thing They’re Known for: Their feature on the hit song by ZHU and Skrillex, “Working for It”: flipping the Dawson’s Creek theme song for one of their singles; fusing R&B and alt-rock; touring with Bryson Tiller; being mysterious about their identity in the beginning; getting a Timbaland co-sign.
That One Song You Might Know: “Working for It,” “Dante’s Creek,” “U-RITE,” “Motley Crew.”

The OGs

Honorable mentions: Khalid; Kehlani; SZA; D.R.A.M.; The Internet; Jhené Aiko, Bryson Tiller; Tory Lanez; Kelela.

How to Tell All the ‘SoundCloud R&B’ Singers Apart