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 Is R&B Dead?

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Schmiggens

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PostSubject: Is R&B Dead?   Fri Feb 26, 2010 6:46 am

Romance in R&B Is Dead.... And Hip Hop Killed It

Is there any better way to illustrate just how much misogynist hip-hop has bastardized R&B than the recent release of Sade's Soldier Of Love? Sade's style has remained more or less the same over the course of her 26-year career, but R&B has not. Her debut album Diamond Life didn't stick out like a sore thumb in comparison to other R&B/Soul music at the time, yet Soldier Of Love is almost alien within the the class of 2010.

The biggest R&B songs over the last decade are so heavily influenced by rap that they barely resemble the genre from which they stemmed. Take Usher's "Yeah", Beyonce's "Crazy In Love", or Rihanna's "Umbrella" -- three monster R&B songs from the last decade that are essentially hip-hop tracks. In an increasing number of instances, R&B hits depend on collaborations with hip-hop stars to sell. So, in exchange for the smooth sounds of yesteryear, we get a hybrid of half-singing, half-flowing lyrics over rap instrumentals.

The transformation has not been confined to technical aspects, either. R&B has transitioned from being primarily about love and affection (with a few notable exceptions) to utter debauchery. How did we go from "Love & Happiness" by Al Green and "Overjoyed" by Stevie Wonder to "Say Ahh" and "Birthday Sex"? By taking on the personality and subject matter of rap music, the romance in much R&B music has been effectively killed. No sexual stone is left unturned, no secrets remain, and the playful stories of courtship are long gone. There was a time in music history when a contemporary R&B artist would never, ever appear on a song called "What These Bitches Want?" So where exactly did things go wrong?

In the broader historical sense, Teddy Riley and the birth of New Jack Swing definitely gave the transition a kick start. But this is America, and we can't start the healing process until we find someone to blame for our problems. We need one central figure to blame for this entire R&B crime of passion, whether or not it is warranted. It has to be someone that influences the genre, sets trends, and has the respect of their peers.

It has to be R. Kelly's fault.

Sure, Beyonce is a bigger star, she's married to a rapper, and has fused her music with hip-hop as far back as her late-'90s "No, No, No" remix with Wyclef. But Beyonce's music has always been non- threatening, despite the influence of misogynist hip-hop. R. Kelly revels in being a bad boy and has been the single biggest cause of R&B's shift from romantic protagonists to "thugged out" horn dogs. He's the guy who sings about dragging women back to his room like a caveman, getting pissy drunk, and hiding midgets in the pantry. R. Kelly is great at what he does. Maybe, too good: he's given birth to a legion of young singers who grew up on his music and mimic the style he pioneered. The-Dream, Trey Songz, Jeremih,.... these guys are all running around making TP-2.com over and over again.

It's almost scary to think about what R&B will sound like in another ten years if it continues to deteriorate at the current speed. Hell, they may start passing off Lil Jon albums as soul music in 2020.

You may laugh at that now, but just wait until Trapped In The Closet 83 comes out. Then maybe we'll realize that nothing's changed for the better.

http://mog.com/MOG_Features/blog/1784109
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PostSubject: Re: Is R&B Dead?   Fri Feb 26, 2010 6:51 am

I have to agree in theory with this, R&B isn't what it used to be.
But why do we feel we have to label everything and everything has to be in this pigeonhole and can't go outside that boundary.

The article mentions Rihanna, her first big single, Pon De Replay, was very reggae based, her second big single, SOS was very dance based, and Umbrella was more of a pop song, than an R&B song. So why do we have to call her an R&B artist? Because she's black?

It seems that R&B is just the label given to any black artist these days, like black artists can't be pop stars, and white artists can't do R&B. If Umbrella had been sung by Christina Aguilera, it would be a pop song, if Toxic had been sung by Ciara, it would be an R&B song?

I think most R&B songs now a days are more like Hip Hop or Pop than true R&B, but who cares what you call it? The only time it makes any difference to me is trying to classify things in my itunes library.
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PostSubject: Re: Is R&B Dead?   Sun Feb 28, 2010 9:34 pm

Hahahah but come on, blame it all on R. Kelly? Too funny.

I agree that R&B pretty much sucks now, though. But then again, so do a few other genres.

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