(Disclaimer: this is my opinion of RnB)
What is RnB (R&B, RNB, R’n’B or Rhythm and Blues) ?
The definition of RnB is actually Rhythm and Blues and was incarnated in the 1940’s. Originally Jazz influenced stepping into Rock n Roll, Funk and so on. Through out the years music inevitably goes through changes and cycles. RnB has taken on all these different connotations but when I think RnB personally; the 90’s/00’s era of music comes to mind.
You have everyone from Michael and Janet Jackson, Jodeci, R Kelly, Mariah Carey, Aaliyah, Jon B, Brandy, Monica, Blackstreet right up to Lil Mo, Koffee Brown, Usher, Musiq Soulchild and Jagged Edge for examples. I could sit here and reel off names allllll day long but you get my drift. RnB from this time focused on some kind of feeling even if the actual topics were extremely repetitive: Love, Sex and Pain which can be all broken down into sub categories. Now its not to say that these topics aren’t still prevalent now at times but they aren’t the focus, its more about turning up than anything else.
Funnily enough Tank’s latest album is Sex Love Pain 2 and bar a few songs is actually in the mold of an older RnB album. Would I say that this is the most amazing RnB album that I’ve heard in recent years? No, but it’s more along the lines of what RnB artists could be doing at this point. Sure not everyone wants slow jams but at the same time not everyone wants to turn up. Is it too much to ask for a blend of both sounds to still come out with at least a solid album?
At the minute there’s not much in the way of RnB…. it’s gone with the whole trap sound and that very samey (if that’s a word) feel. Some of the music is still really great but Party Next Door, Drake, Bryson Tiller, Tory Lanez and The Weekend etc admittedly don’t provide much in the way of authentic RnB. To repeat myself again these guys do have some great music between them…. except Tory Lanez who just slows down RnB songs and sings over them. But I digress, if these are some of the most accessible artists representing “RnB” this is all it will be. I guess what I’m trying to say if these are our “champions” of the genre what hope do the informed have of finding real RnB?
On the flip side you have groups like the Internet and Hiatus Kayote amongst a slew of other artists coming out at the moment via soundcloud and bandcamp. If you’re not aware of soundcloud (which is very unlikely) or bandcamp they are both platforms for artists/DJ’s to display their music for free or for sale. I would suggest if you ever have time to just have a look through either site I’m sure you’ll come across some good music.
Although the title of this post suggests that RnB isn’t known any more I guess it’s just part of the inevitable cycles that happen throughout music. Just remember good music is timeless!
Below I’ve shared my little RnB playlist it doesn’t cover everything nor is it the be all and end all of RnB lol. There’s ton of artists in this scene new or old that weren’t mentioned and some of these people will go into later posts. I think there’s so much scope to cover and so much room for debate I’ll come back to this topic. Anyways hope you enjoyed this brief post!
Ramblings of a music fan