Is R&B Dead?

Published: Wednesday 30th Dec 2009 by Sam
moviesoundtracks

Exactly three years ago rapper Nas controversially proclaimed that ‘Hip-Hop Is Dead’. Fast forward to the present and the same bold declaration can arguably be applied to R&B too. Indeed, with today’s industry churning out an increasingly homogenised sound, one which largely seems to favour the Pop genre, the future (or lack thereof) of R&B as we’ve known it does not look promising. The question remains, though: is this a bad or good thing?

Birthed in the 1940’s, R&B music saw its journey to mainstream prominence really pick up in the 1960’s with the Motown movement. Furthermore, the 70’s ushered in a host of wildly successful R&B acts such as Marvin Gaye, Smokey Robinson, and Aretha Franklin. Though the likes of Prince, Sade and Chaka Khan continued the trend in the 1980’s, it was the 90’s which saw the true boom and arguable peak of R&B. If in doubt, the names and successes of Lauryn Hill, TLC, Mary J. Blige, Boyz II Men, R Kelly, and Toni Braxton, to name but a few, speak volumes.

Yet despite the dizzy heights it once enjoyed, R&B today no longer occupies its once-pole position in the musical sphere. For evidence of this, one need not look further than the Billboard R&B/Hip-Hop Charts, where songs topping the chart often struggle to make any impact on the all-inclusive Billboard Hot 100. Though fans and stans oft cite the successes of their favourite act on the R&B/Hip-Hop tally, any such success is arguably limited to the Urban arena – one of the smallest when compared to other genres.

If the format is truly in decline, then what happened R&B?

On a surface level, the fusing together of R&B with other genres such as Pop and more recently Dance/Electronica can be heralded as a (positive) testament to the ‘coming together’ of the world’s many cultures and societies. Yet, R&B and Urban music more generally, seem to have drawn the shorter end of the stick in this cultural exchange. For, while both the Pop and Dance genres have benefitted greatly from flirting with R&B, they have also managed to remain successful genres in their own right. R&B, unfortunately, has not. Today it’s almost laughable for both new and established acts to release ‘pure R&B’ and anticipate any chart success (see: Mariah’s ‘Memoirs’ and any new act NOT jumping on this Euro-Pop bandwagon).

Yes, there are exceptions such as Maxwell and Sade, both of whom have enjoyed critical and commercial success this year, releasing music with their trademark (R&B) sound. However, it’s wholly believable that the hype surrounding their comebacks largely factored in to them defying the odds.

More so than any other factor, the industry’s gradual move to a more Pop-dominated mode-of-operation seems to have dealt R&B what could prove to be a fatal blow. Traditionally even the most R&B of R&B songs were sprinkled with Pop sensibilities i.e. catchy hooks and hummable melodies. However, what used to be a quality-rich genre seems to have been replaced with what long caused Pop music to not be taken seriously – the idea of image over substance. No longer are vocals or the establishing of artists who will inspire future generations the priority of labels. Instead, we now have models posing as singers topping the charts (“eh eh eh”). Even undeniable talents such as Beyonce, whose first album was an all-R&B affair, have moved further away from the genre in favour of an almost-entirely Pop sound. These occurrences have consequently birthed a culture of fast-food music made for fickle audiences, who see artists as only as good as their last hit.

The idea of R&B being dead may be premature and somewhat pessimistic. However the likelihood of its eventual demise is becoming increasingly evident with each new generation. As an advocate for innovation and the blurring of musical boundaries, it would be endearing to see R&B in its pure form return to prominence and co-exist alongside its diluted incarnation.

Your thoughts?

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  1. JEDDY December 30, 2009

    Only one word needs to be said… TRUTH!!!!!!

  2. Tom December 30, 2009

    Thank God for Jazmine Sullivan and JoJo.

  3. Justin December 30, 2009

    R&B isn’t dead. All the 70’s acts you listed actually began their careers in prominence in the 1960’s. The industry has always been Pop dominated from the days of its inception. You can try and define Pop music as singular thing, but you can’t because POP is whatever is currently Popular. Thus Hip-hop acts like Kanye West are just as much pop music as they are Rap music. The problem that you are trying to address is the fact that the lines between R&B and Pop have blurred so far that for many its hard to tell the difference. What the majority of pop music is now is a blend of R&B and European electronica with some Rock influences as well. Pure R&B is not dead, its just not getting its shine. There are artists like Ledsi, Ndambi, Goapelle among other who are doing R&B and just aren’t getting the attention that the quality of their music deserves. As bloggers, we have a role in this as well. If you want to see pure R&B make a comeback, show it to your readers. For example, if you say Rihanna has no talent, thats your opinion and that’s fine, but rather than spend your time making posts about her and her singing abilities of lack there of, use that time to introduce you thousands of visitors to the artist out there who are currently making real R&B music.

  4. elena December 30, 2009

    “rather than spend your time making posts about her and her singing abilities of lack there of, use that time to introduce you thousands of visitors to the artist out there who are currently making real R&B music”

    That would be right, but only if you’re not interested in how many hits your site gets, just saying.

  5. Blu Majik December 30, 2009

    I think you’re on to something Sam. I still wonder why today R&B is not marketable as it once was back in teh 90s and early 00s. I was just thinking the other day about the time when Brandy, Monica, Case, Donnell Jones, Ginuwine and others dominated both R&B and Top 100 charts. Idk what happened. Maybe it’s when predominantly pop acts enlisted R&B/Hip Hop producers to create hits for them. Or if many R&B acts enlist so many rappers onto many of their songs to spark interest in their project. Idk…these are thoughts I’ve had.

  6. Lovher December 30, 2009

    Saying its dead it is coming from a greedy money perspective. I think there is a market for it, its not as large as pop etc, but there is a market for it. Real vocal talent ,,,let’s be honest Anthony Hamilton, India Ire, Musiq, from a sells point of view may not be hiting the mil mark however….they sell out shows way past there hits that put them on. I would even say that for new comers such as Jennifer hud, Robin Thicke, Jasmine Sullivan. Just off those initial hits and statemtns of quality they will do shows for years to come long after Rihanna’s off the note hot songs have fizzled. I think pop stars are far more recycled. R&B have long lasting careers. People will always want to hear real notes and passion. I l=think r&b has fizzled where it has lost the performance aspect of the art. They just stand thee and deliver a vocal verses a memeoriable performance. Temp, supremes, jacksons, motown artist were very r&b but they had a show too. Videos like Usher and Beyonce before the switch had performance value. FE Beyonce Diva and Ego…those are r&b her performance pushed them. R&b’s visuals are sufferiing and taking a back seat to the creative and extra of the pop world. Gaga, Katey Pery, ect. Oh and black folks need to start buying again. We tend to kill ourselves. Quit bootlegging .

  7. scrabs December 30, 2009

    definitely, everything is pop and commercialised now, boring!!!!!!

  8. tehe December 30, 2009

    Crazy in Love is a pop song, it is not R&B, baby boy, and naughty girl are all pop songs, beyondroid’s album was not an all r and b affair

  9. GeeMan December 30, 2009

    I agree with yu Sam R&b is dead and has been for a while nowadays we have to a little spice to it for it to become popular.

  10. DOM December 30, 2009

    Brandy’s Human album was good… but no1 bought it!

  11. kbelize December 30, 2009

    @tehe

    I bet you think Amerie’s 1 Thing is an R&B song though? Am I right? Crazy In Love is an Urban R&B record, just like Work It Out, THE DIFFERENCE IS, Crazy In Love just became popular! Would you consider Alicia Keys Fallin a Pop Song? It went #1 on the Hot 100 charts just like CIL!

  12. Ghetto Fab December 30, 2009

    RnB is dead when it comes to the radio. But not really because there are still decent artists out there. You would never know though because they are barely/rarely played at all. It is up to us to support and push for these artists. Melanie Fiona has probably the best RnB album out there today but only few know. Its a shame. And let’s not even mention Beyawnce. That wig swinging country heffa been singin trash every since that “I Am” album dropped. Somebody need to give that chile a clue

  13. kbelize December 30, 2009

    R&B isnt Dead, its just NOT THEE MOST DOMINANT GENRE ANYMORE! This isnt 1992 & the LaFace Era! Not every R&B Artist that drops a slow jam will be a HUGE success! Everyone wont pull a Whitney or Maxwell. You have your, Keri’s, Alicia’s, Keyshia’s Mariah’s & Mary’s but not everyone in R&B will do what they did!

  14. s.p December 30, 2009

    rnb is not dead, rnb ruled diz decate. usher broke records with his 19 week stay at no1,mariah stayed at no 1 for 14 weeks that alone is enough to show dat rnb aint going nowhere. and it wont die, remember alicia keys fallin and no one, neyos so sick? mis independant. marios let me love u? keri hilsons knock u down. and most top 20 rnb hits become hot 100 hits and an artist does become succesful without having top 20 hits on hot 100 look at john legend. jeniffer hudson. jazmine sullivan? india arie. fact is rnb will last 4ever, even pop acts stil a lil bit from rnb check party in the usa by miley cyrus

  15. Ballin’ December 30, 2009

    You have all arguably forgotten about Ms. Alicia Keys. Her album, especially Diary of Alicia Keys, was phenomenal and did really well. The first single You Don’t Know My Name and If I Ain’t Got You were R&B to the fullest. She is still delivering hits in this current climate and R&B music runs through her veins. Also, what about Mary J Blige? She is R & B to me.

  16. December 30, 2009

    “For example, if you say Rihanna has no talent, thats your opinion and that’s fine, but rather than spend your time making posts about her and her singing abilities of lack there of, use that time to introduce you thousands of visitors to the artist out there who are currently making real R&B music.”

    PUH-REACH.
    this essay is all well and good, but its screaming into the wind if you don’t do anything about it.

    not saying blogs need to be all n’dambi, goapele, and yahzarah, but damn, it seems like every post here is rihanna, mariah, chris brown, and beyonce. sprinkle in a segment for little known artists now and then and maybe one of them will catch fire.

    until then its complaining just for complaining’s sake.

  17. samandtrentneedtoreadthis December 30, 2009

    LOL you kill me with these kind of posts, what site do you want exactly these reflections are so passe, the only reason rnb may be dead in your eyes is because you don’t actually listen to the underrated artists that are currently still releasing music, check out LeToya Luckett, Teedra Moses (when she stops with this whole mixtape stuff and release that album lol), Tank, Tweet, Keyshia Cole. You pride yourself on bringing a blog with good music and that when all you do is moan about artists like rihanna, britney, etc. Why not use this power you have to enlighten people to the underrated talent who can’t make it big as opposed to fuelling the promotion for people who you say are killing rnb.. Who’s killing rnb? All that would take would be people like yourself and others looking in the damn mirror.

    PS. I got this comment copied and saved so don’t bother deleting it mmmk 🙂

  18. Steffon December 30, 2009

    The 90’s music was the best. Had the best artist

    Brandy
    Monica
    Aailyah
    Mya (Sometimes)
    Usher
    Toni Braxton

    These artist set the tone up for real music

    Hopefully 2010 will bring that back out since all of these artist have albums dropping next year.

    Love Brandy tho.

    • khan flo mah March 31, 2014

      This is an OLD thread, but i had to say something. YOU SAID,
      “Brandy
      Monica
      Aailyah
      Mya (Sometimes)
      Usher
      Toni Braxton
      These artist set the tone up for real music”
      HAVE YOU LOST YOUR SINGER LOVIN MIND!? BLACk music has been turned into a SINGER ONLY genre. Where ONE man is making the music for 10 Singers. NONE of those people you listen HAS any “real music” SOMEONE ELSE, has “real music” and they sing over it. Making melodies? means very little. Many of these “artists” have melodies that dont deviate for the Root note more than 4 times! Listen, If I have a wedding? And I need someone to entertain, And you need a DJ to play some Karaoke stype blank cd’s so you can SING, cuz you got NOTHING ELSE to offer? if you need to have people dancing about, behind you, because your stage appeal is so poor, no one wants to see you just standing there? if you cant find a c maj 7 on a piano? YOURE NOT A MUSICIAN. And that would leave out MUCH OF THE PEOPLE WE ARE CALLING R&B singers.. White artists, have always had bands. WHEN in history did blacks drop every instrument, and care only for the singer? it was before motown. because people like sam cooke was already leading that thinking. the 50s, blacks played. So in the civil rights years, blacks lost ALL value. to the point that the music is now Low quality, and can LITERALLY be made by ONE man with ONE FINGER. This has nothing to do with being “modern” and “changing times”. because COUNTRY hasnt shifted to SINGLE FINGER PLAYED music. IT STILL can be played live with the instruments used to make the song. BUT THIS DRECK called r&b? is CRAP. Listen….WHAT IS SEAL? SADE? MACY GREY? KHAN FLO MAH? Its like, ANYONE BLACK is hurled into hiphop/r&b and is expected to stand on the stage with someone like Snoop, and some singer from the VOICE, singing and being PUSHED to HIT THAT HIGH NOTE i dont care if they are singing a death march song! THIS IS SAD…American idol..SINGER SINGER SINGER…NO BLACK BANDS anymore. The roots dont count. THATS ONLY ONE. THIS IS SAD SAD SAD. Singers…Singers that PRACTICE their “soulful” runs, In GENERAL so as to use them WHEREVER. Its like practicing an ADLIB of a song not playing!!! how it is an adlib? its scripted!! UHHHH I blame mariah carry for THAT little piece of low quality we all see.

  19. Dham December 30, 2009

    I don’t believe that you can call Beywolfs debut an “all RNB affair.” It was not. It had a hip-hop influence and twist to it.

  20. Dham December 30, 2009

    I don’t believe that you can call Beywolfs debut an “all RNB affair.” It was not. It had a hip-hop influence and twist to it.

  21. samandtrentneedtoread December 30, 2009

    LOL you kill me with these kind of posts, these reflections are so pointless, the only reason rnb may be dead in your eyes is because you don’t actually listen to the underrated artists that are currently still releasing music, check out LeToya Luckett, Teedra Moses (when she stops with this whole mixtape stuff and release that album lol), Tank, Tweet, Corrine Bailey Rae, etc. You pride yourself on bringing a blog with good music and that when all you do is moan about artists like rihanna, britney, etc. Why not use this power you have to enlighten people to the underrated talent who can’t make it big as opposed to fuelling the promotion for people who you say are killing rnb.. Who’s killing rnb? All that would take would be people like yourself and others looking in the damn mirror.

    PS. I have this saved so don’t bother deleting as it’ll be up in a min mmmk 🙂

  22. caroline wilson December 30, 2009

    THE 90’S WAS THE S*** FOR R&B,THATS WHEN IT CROSSED OVER WITH NEW JACK SWING AND ALL THE GIRL AND MALE GROUPS.THE OO’S WAS MORE FOR HIP-HOP.R&B IS GOING TO EVOLVE INTO A NEW GENRE INTO THE ’10’S

  23. Candy December 30, 2009

    R&B is not dead t may be somewhat dormant for the mainstream. Music will tranistion into the next trend or fad, but good music never dies. R&B is just out of favor with acts like the Jonas Brothers and Susan Boyle grabbing the interests of the white majority. But those artists like Sade and Maxwell who stay true to their roots with good music always have a place. Other great artists like Ledisi are bubbling and ready to be known on a wider spread basis. Mariah had a decent record, she would do well to not straddle the fence with newer producers with limited musical skills but decent electro synth skills. All Memoirs needed was some good hard true musicians behind the beats. There is always a place for great artists and great music even when mass interests float away like the waves.

  24. Dilla December 30, 2009

    I think this generation appreciates pop music more than r&b. I personally am waiting for r&b to make a dominant return to the scene. Good r&b though, not the b.s. I cannot wait to see a refreshing roster of new and underrated talent , receive the promotion that they so desperately need, in order for good music in general to make a come back. I honestly appreciate music in all genre’s, but it has to be GOOD MUSIC, not hot garbage, with perfume sprayed on it.

  25. Simon.Jay December 30, 2009

    Hey great article , what you say is really true , i think R&B isnt dead so to speak but got lost. However I feel in the next decade it will make a comeback , with vocalists such as Monica and Brandy showing why they were so big in the 90’s releasing new material. Ginuwine saw some success this year as his album was album 1 on the R&B charts and his single last chance was number 1 for 4 weeks on the R&b chart if im correct.

    When the hype over euro dies down im sure more established artists such as Beyonce and chris brown will be jumping back on the R&B train . Chris browns debut album was also pure rnb but since hes watered it down alot.

    Also i say the next decade because , there are alot of new young talent up and coming who i believe will be taking the stage soon , Tiffany Evans , Karina Parsian , Justin Bieber are a few artists

    In recent years i think music has moved more away from lyrics and vocal ability and jumped onto beats and cathy hooks being more likeable.

  26. Jay2009 December 30, 2009

    R&B ain’t dead, it’s just UNDERrated and that’s a shame, but the audience is filled with people bouncing to Pop music, they’re just asking for that “fast food music”, so R&B don’t sell, shame, shame.

    and about Beyoncé recording only Pop music, that’s not entirely true when you listen to a lot of her unreleased stuff, it’s almost ALL R&B, I guess she gotta release some Pop to sell, management pressure.

  27. Korey December 30, 2009

    R&B is not dead to true R&B fans.

    because R&B is no longer main-stream and topping the charts hardly means it is dead!

    If you are a true R&B fan you know there are artists out there are churning out SUPERIOR R&B albums:

    J. Holiday – Round 2
    Listen to “fly”
    Tank – Love, S**, Pain
    Listen to “My heart”
    Jazmine Sullivan – Fearless
    Listen to “Need U Bad
    Mariah Carey – Memoirs of an Imperfect Angel
    Listen to “Inseparable”
    LeToya – Lady Love
    Listen to “Lazy”
    Heather Headley – In My Mind
    Listen to “In My Mind”
    Joe – Signature
    The Whole Album!
    Ginuwine – A Man’s Thoughts
    Listen to “Last Chance”
    Maxwell – BlackSummersNight
    y’all know pretty wings!

    Dont’ ever say R&B is dead!
    there are always true R&B artists who stay true to the roots of what the music is all about!

  28. Rob December 30, 2009

    F*** you Sam and Trent! I am officially never visiting this site again! Your continual hate towards Rihanna is both unwarranted and just tired now. (Yet your posts on her stay getting ya’ll the most hits) You are both lame haters who can suck on Rihanna’s c***! B****!

  29. Jmoore December 30, 2009

    I think that R&B is on its last leg. Many artist today jump on the band wagon of what ever or whomever is hot.

  30. bee December 30, 2009

    RnB died when they combined it with hip-hop. The sales got confusing and they tried to make everything hip-hop. There is no more soul in the music. That is what is missing from most black music now soul. Also because most radio stations now are owned by two companies they decide what will be heard and what will not be heard. So if you have some pimply faced suburban white still almost teenagers determining what’s to be played on black radio stations and the same pimply faced teenagers running the record industry what do you think will happen. Ice Cubed said this years ago that it is young white suburban teenagers determining what should be heard from black muisc.

    You also have so many black artisist willing to sell their soul for a perfume line. It’s not about the music anymore it’s about can I market this person for several different products. That is how most artisist make their money now by endorsements. Put some real music out and you will see it sell. Look at Maxwell, Whitney, even Susan Boyle. I can guarantee when Jill, Eryka, and even if Lauren were to come out with their music it will sell. Real music still sales if you can find it in the stores.

  31. jj December 30, 2009

    @BEE:
    did you see any of the artists some of these people mentioned…
    you need to get your head right because there is plenty of soul left in plenty of true current R&B artists…check that post from KOREY

    PROPS KOREY! those are my jamzzz!

  32. LEA December 30, 2009

    R&B is far from dead, if any genre is dead it’s RAP. When Gucci Mane, Soulja Boy and others can sell millions of records you know it’s over with.. BUT There are still plenty of talented vocalists out right now doing their thing.. I love Maxwell but he ain’t no damn legend..

  33. J-Wellz December 30, 2009

    NO R&B IS NOT DEAD.SOME OF TODAY R&B ACTS TRY 2 KEEP IT ALIVE.I ALSO THINK ITS THE GENERATION THAT HAS CHANGED 2.I REALLY DO MISS THE 90’S MUSIC A LOT.LIKE THESE SONGS

    SUBWAY & 702-THIS LITTLE GAME WE PLAY
    AALIYAH-ONE IN A MILLION &
    MYA-BEST OF ME
    DONELL JONES-WHERE I WANNA BE
    SOUL 4 REAL-CANDY RAIN
    R.KELLY-DOWN LOW
    GINUWINE-SO ANXIOUS
    USHER-NICE & SLOW
    HI-FIVE-I LIKE THE WAY (THE KISSING GAME)
    & MORE

    BUT WIT TODAY GENERATION WE LISTEN 2 SONGS LIKE THESE

    LLOYD-PLAYER’S PRAYER & STREET LOVE
    CIARA-PROMISE & LIKE A SURGEON & NEXT TO YOU (GOD DID I LUV DAT SONG N 2004)
    CHRIS BROWN-YA MAN AIN’T ME & POPPIN & SING LIKE ME
    TREY SONGZ-I INVENTED S**
    DRAKE FEAT.LLOYD-A NIGHT OFF (DATS MA S***…I JUST HAD 2 PUT DAT IN THERE IF U HAVEN’T HEARD GIVE IT A LISTEN)

    BUT NO R&B IS NOT DEAD IT JUST CHANGED A LIL BIT BUT WE THE NEW GENERATION HAS BUT OUR OWN LITTLE SPIN ON IT.

  34. anonymouss December 30, 2009

    NOOOO!!! dont say the word “dead” with my favorite musical genre since like birth!

    unfortunately i do agree tho. R&B is dead in the pop game. In the radio industry R&B is based on how black you are. if ur a black artist singing pop, rock, electro, anything really they’ll label u and pass u off as R&B, even tho ur not. however i believe it will never truly go away because lots of underrated “neo-soul” artists continue to keep it alive 🙂

  35. Mya December 30, 2009

    POP MUSIC IS POPULAR MUSIC MEANING YOU CAN HEAR THE SONGS ALL OVER THE WORLD THE SONGS BEING PLAYED ON ALL RADIO STATION AND ALL OF BEYONCE’S MUSIC DOES THAT FROM HER DIL DAYS UNTIL NOW SHE ALWAYS HAD CROSSOVER SOUND ALWAYS FROM DC DAYS

    HELL MICHEAL JACKSON DID IT
    WHITNEY HOUSTON DID IT THE BLACK GIRL SINGING THE BIG WHITE BALLDS THAT WHAT THEY CALLED HER IN 80’S
    MARIAH CAREY DID IT SINGING THE SINGING BIG SONGS
    JANET JACKSON HAS A CROSSOVER SOUND IN HER MUSIC
    TINA TUNER WENT ROCK AND ROLL
    PRINCE DID IT
    BOYZ 2 MEN DID IT THE BIG BALLDS

    BIG SONGS ARE ALWAYS GOING TO GET MORE PLAY CUZ MORE PPL CAN’T RELATE TO THEM ALL OVER THE WORLD.

    THEIRS MORE TO THE WORLD THAN BLACK AND WHITE

  36. Mya December 30, 2009

    PPL CAN RELATE MORE TO POPULAR MUSIC THAN JUST R&B SOME PARTS IN THE WORLD THEY DON’T EVEN PLAY R&B MUSIC R&B SOUND IS IN THE BOX POPULAR MUSIC IS WORLDWIDE SOME ARTIST MADE R&B SONGS THAT HAD A CROSS OVER SOUND TO IT LIKE DESTINY’S CHILD THATS WHAT THEY WAS KNOWN FOR THATS WHY THEY HAD MORE SUCCESS AROUND THE WORLD THAN ANY US FEMALE GROUP

  37. Jamie December 30, 2009

    You lost your mind…lol Jojo…Trey Songz…Alicia Keys…Maxwell…Jazmine….Brandy…Monica….Mary….Usher…Chris…god help me but even Pleasure P had some of the biggest rnb joints in the last year….open your eyes.

  38. KarenCaring December 30, 2009

    was that ‘eh eh eh’ directed toward Rihanna? fyi she can sing good so idk what ur talking about

    r&b isn’t dead. Justin Timberlake sold a bunch and so did Chris his last album before graffiti. Fergie solo album had a r&b sound on a lot of her songs and so did Gwen. i get wet when ever I listen to Trey Songz talk about his sticky face LOL so r&b isn’t dead to me

  39. Manny December 30, 2009

    R&B isn’t mainstream anymore, even really good r&b albums aren’t get’n in play. There has been some really good r&b albums released this year ( Brandys Human, Mariahs Memoirs, just to name a few) both reciving minimal play & sucess. It doesn’t matter how good the album is anymore. I feel our generation has lost sight of what is good music. This bubble gum pop has taken over and many artist falling into that trap. Good R&B albums are so much harder to come by.

  40. Nick December 30, 2009

    R & B is NOT dead @ all … the problem is: MTV/BET don’t play $*!t, BUT garbage !! NO LIVE MUSIC/NO MUSIC VIDEOS/just crap crap crap reality shows….I do NOT even support those channels anymore…We need shows, like we used to have, that showcased artists when new albums came out, & they gave us shows on stage (LIVE SINGING/DANCING), we only get awards shows now, & THAT IS THE PROBLEM!! ALSO the website people, start showcasing more artists in the spotlights, interviewing them, & give us stories to know what music is about, & their story behind the new music….but its NOT dead, plenty of artists are trying, we too da*n cheap to actually buy things now-a-days/we download download…im saying, I AINT RICH, but I support real artists….

  41. Vernanda Julien December 30, 2009

    the simple fact is the main audience that r&b is aimed at (black people) dont go out and buy albums anymore since the greatness that is illegal downloading emerged. so in order for so called r&b artists to get any sort success they need to make music that would be apealing to a larger audience. (that’s my opinion anyway)

  42. 12345 December 30, 2009

    funny how the one that is saying this listens to ciara keri hilson and all those shitty c**** rofl

  43. mashondamusic December 30, 2009

    R&B is not dead I love Melanie Fiona as well as K.michelle. I think next year will be great for the both of these ladies! I havent heard much from K.michelle but the songs I have heard were straight soul R&B! Melanie whole album is dope. I also cant wait for the return on Monica and Fantasia.

  44. Jasmine December 30, 2009

    R&B is taking a break. Decades recycle themselves. Young people might not realize this but it is true. The 1950s, 1970s, and 1990s entailed R&B and soul music having major success on the charts and saleswise. The 1960s, 1980s, and present days has pop/european pop music having success with R&B and soul diminishing. In a couple years R&B and soul music will be back and will have major success on the charts.

  45. Chile December 30, 2009

    After JUSTIN’s comment ,this topic should be closed. Or Sam needs to rewrite this…or scrap it. You know, this shows how lucky you have gotten, Sam. Because honestly, u aren’t that much of a knowledgeable source for this kind of music. You really know as much as your age…and that is not enough.

  46. bobs December 30, 2009

    Please don’t pretend like you’re journalists. You just don’t have the talent or the vocabulary. Stick to what you know best, useless gossip.

  47. BitchPlease December 30, 2009

    Yes Nick that is the biggest problem. People say this music is dead this and that. My brother always say how he likes no music that is out and that he ran out of music to listen to. BET/MTV/VH1 are the biggest and most popular music channels and they don’t play any videos. I remember when BET repeatedly played artists videos that wasn’t even popular. They actually promoted artist. I remember when you use to turn on MTV/BET/VH1 and they all would have videos on at the same time.

  48. Pucci December 30, 2009

    to me for r&b to be dead would mean for no one to be doing that sound of music anymore. if there are still artiist like maxwell, sade, mary, jazmine sullivan, monica & brandy still singing r&b music, then the genre. r&b is not did, it’s just lost its shine… btw, o & let’s not forget, rap music comes second to pop on the charts nowadays too IMO.

    @ 12345,

    sam never said he didn’t like the music that’s out today. & so what if he listnes to ciara & keri hilson. truth be told i love them both, but they were not great fixtures on the charts this year. ciara was an r&b artist who tried to pop thing & it didn’t work out. & you see that most of keri’s pop songs don’t make that big of an impact. so please, do me a favor & shut up!

    @Korey

    I actually own some of those albums you named & the songs you listed are my favorites from the albums. J. holiday’s fly was a VERY VERY VERY VERY VERY, underrated album… pop artist might have the success, but r&b artist have the respect of ppl, IMO.

  49. Kahari December 30, 2009

    This was written by me on my Myspace page around March of this year where I felt as if R&b had lsot its soul and intertwined itself in a techo-pop electronica, Hip-Hop driven style…

    As an aspiring singer myself, I firmly believe that the music industry has become nothing more than just a competitive business filled with incompetent singers and rappers who create insensible music that has been rejuvenated from past formulaic radio singles. Sure, today’s music is poppy and with its catchy tunes, but it only lasts for a season, then, today’s tunes is in tomorrow’s distant memory. Now, I must say there are in deed some artist I believe that have created a path of longevity, to where they have not become so much of a commodity to the industry’s desires by forming a musical sound that originates their own aura and shines at their best. Artists like Christina Aguilera, Chrisette Michelle, Beyoncè Knowles, Kaynè West, Jennifer Hudson, Ashanti, Keyshia Cole, John Legend, and Ne-Yo are some who have found instant success. (There are many other artist out there who have achieved a semi-success career, too with Top Ten Billboard radio singles and heavy rotation on urban, pop, and adult contemporary radio stations…). All other artist, fall under the category of struggling to stay relevant or simply have disappeared. The music industry is always constantly in rotation and it can go forward or reverse backward abruptly. And with the music, as it changes, people change. You see a lot of artist coming out with a hot single or they’re career only last for so long due to that one record. And then, the next minute you know, America’s radio station is on to something entirely different. Now, artist are force to set trends with their music it’s no wonder why almost everything you hear on the radio sounds like something so familiar because the producer re-creates that specific sound and switch it around just a bit. I like good quality music, and I39m a teenager, so I still do follow up after the more contemporary music. But, what really captivates me as a music listener is an artist that displays versatility and shows their audience that they can’t be molded into just only one particular style.

  50. MS.CLAY December 30, 2009

    @ BOBS> I LOVE THAT YOU REALLY HATE THIS SITE AND ITS OWNERS BUT YOU CONTINUE TO COME TO IT! I LOVE IT!!!!!!

    TO THE PPL WHO ARE SAYING THAT SAM AND TRENT SHOULD STOP POSTING “RIHANNA POSTS” AND THINGS OF THAT NATURE AND THAT THEY SHOULD START POSTING THINGS THAT EXPOSE NEW ARTISTS AND MORE MUSIC, ETC, ETC, PLEASE UNDERSTAND THAT THIS IS NOT A “NEW ARTISTS” SITE NOR IS IT AN “EXPOSE THE ARTISTS AND THEIR MUSIC” SITE! THIS IS A BLOG SITE!!! I REPEAT IT IS A BLOG SITE!!!!!! SO IF YOU GUYS WANT TO READ AND HEAR THINGS OF THAT NATURE MAYBE YOU SHOULD CREATE ONE YOURSELVES AND STOP CRITICIZING SOMEONE’S WAY OF RUNNING THEIR OWN ISH!!!!!! GOSH!!!!!

    AND I DON’T THINK R&B IS DEAD, HOWEVER I DO THINK IT IS NOT AS POPULAR AS IT ONCE WAS BACK IN THE DAY BECAUSE OF THE DOMINATION OF THE POP GENRE! I LOVE ALL GENRES, BUT R&B AND HIP HOP ARE MY FAVORITE! I THINK ARTISTS LIKE MAXWELL, SADE, TREY SONGZ , AND OTHER ARTISTS ARE DOING WHAT THEY CAN TO KEEP R&B ALIVE BUT THERE’S ONLY SO MUCH THEY CAN DO TO KEEP IT REAL R&B AND NOT STRAY INTO THE MAINSTREAM TO DRIVE SALES! THE WHOLE AUTOTUNE THING DESTRUCTED R&B AS WELL!!!! I THINK OMARION HAD A GREAT R&B ALBUM WHEN HE MADE “O” BUT HE IS TRYING TO HARD TO PLEASE OTHER PPL BESIDES THE REAL R&B FANS! I ALSO THINK THAT BEYONCE’S FIRST ALBUM WAS AND ENTIRE R&B ALBUM AND THAT WAS AND STILL IS MY FAV BEYONCE ALBUM! I LIKED THE LAST TWO HOWEVER IT IS TOO POP-PY!!! I LOVE BEYONCE BUT HER NEXT ALBUM MUST CONTAIN R&B IN ORDER FOR HER TO KEEP HER ORIGINAL FANBASE!!!

  51. Ben December 30, 2009

    Very VERY good topic about my favorite style of music, especially at this moment where we are closing out the decade and we can now analyze how R&B has evolved in the past 10 years. I agree with a lot of what you said, I do believe R&B of today doesn’t quite feel like genuine R&B that we once had years ago. I am only 21 years old, but within those 21 years of living, I have seen many changes in R&B from New Jack Swing(which I have been studying so much of lately) to “Jams”(a term introduced in the 90s), to Hip Hop infused R&B to the new millennium R&B(when Pop artists like Backstreet Boys, NSync, Britney and Christina really started to see R&B was a force to be reckoned with and incorporated it into their material), that was when Pop and R&B really started to mesh. Then we have the rebirth of Autotune/synthesizing from the 80s thanks to T-Pain reshaping the R&B genre we have today. And of course there is so much more in between, I could go on and on. But in my honest opinion, I don’t think R&B has been REAL R&B since at least 2004, but it was at it’s best in the 90s. Back then it was so many acts of R&B that had equal time to shine, including the now faded “R&B Groups.” And R&B acts didn’t have to fight to compete with Pop singles in order to sell records like they do today. I found it interesting how you mentioned MC’s Memoirs album this past Fall as a Pure R&B affair, and it was. In fact, despite Mariah’s lack of promo for it, this is actually a REALLY good album and one of the best of the year. Pretty much most of R&B acts today dilly daddle with Pop and Rock influences, but there are a select few that for the most part stay within the medium like Maxwell, Alicia Keys, MJB, Raphael Saadiq, and a few others. But as someone who listens to a variety of music styles, I have to say that it is not just R&B that has lost it’s substance. The same can be said for Rock, Country, Hip Hop (especially, we may have to do a whole other column for that one), and even Pop itself. As someone had stated before that basically what Pop is today is “whats ever popular,” Pop was once upon a time a genre in itself. But because there is so much genre-meshing nowadays (Pop/R&B, Pop/Rock, R&B/Hip Hop, Country/Pop, and so on) Pop is just classified as one big fuse. Damn this is such a deep topic.

  52. Julius December 30, 2009

    Of course you would take the opportunity to bash Rihanna…which is very gosh of you. As if singing was what really mattered to Barry Gordy in the sixties, because we all know he loved P**** over anything else…I.E. Diana Ross! Bish can’t sing a scale, but she’s an RnB legend. We can talk about all these other artists…Ledisi, Goapele, or whoever they are, but in reality…I don’t wanna hear that crap. Music for me is like a soundtrack to my life. When I’m cleaning up, driving, suppose to be working, or clubbing I wanna hear the kinda music that compliments that. Forgive me if I don’t bump Melanie Fiona on the way to the club. LOL….I’d rather hear “Hard” by Rihanna! LOL. As for Beyonce’s “Crazy in love” anyone from DC knows that it was “GoGo” inspired and produced by Rich Harrison. RnB is a fusion of different styles of music with blues undertones….stop tryin to put artists in a box!

  53. ushhaaaa December 30, 2009

    I’m sorry imma let y’all finish but this is the best post in this topic, pretty much shuts sam and trent down and speaks the truth them two need to take notes actually could they hire justin?? haha will do a hell of a better job!

    Quote Justin:

    R&B isn’t dead. All the 70’s acts you listed actually began their careers in prominence in the 1960’s. The industry has always been Pop dominated from the days of its inception. You can try and define Pop music as singular thing, but you can’t because POP is whatever is currently Popular. Thus Hip-hop acts like Kanye West are just as much pop music as they are Rap music. The problem that you are trying to address is the fact that the lines between R&B and Pop have blurred so far that for many its hard to tell the difference. What the majority of pop music is now is a blend of R&B and European electronica with some Rock influences as well. Pure R&B is not dead, its just not getting its shine. There are artists like Ledsi, Ndambi, Goapelle among other who are doing R&B and just aren’t getting the attention that the quality of their music deserves. As bloggers, we have a role in this as well. If you want to see pure R&B make a comeback, show it to your readers. For example, if you say Rihanna has no talent, thats your opinion and that’s fine, but rather than spend your time making posts about her and her singing abilities of lack there of, use that time to introduce you thousands of visitors to the artist out there who are currently making real R&B music.

  54. Maggie December 30, 2009

    I think music is just changing, like any art does. R&B artists are starting to be influenced by electronic, dance, and pop music. That doesn’t mean death, it means a new form of R&B.

    Punk rock has so many subgenres you could never count it on two hands. I love the way that music is mashing together like this. Not all pop or dance music is shallow, and I think this should be recognized.

    Besides, there has always been shallowness in music, so you can’t attribute to one genre doing it as a new thing.

  55. Maggie December 30, 2009

    Also there are a lot of artists in the independent music culture still creating music of old, so classic R&B will never be dead–No they might not make hits, but neither will people playing folk music, certain punk genres, etc.

  56. mskelly December 30, 2009

    UNDA MY UMBRELLA ELLA ELLA EH EH EH! Sam you hater you always use that line but we all know why its cos its the ISH!!!

    Hahaha how can you be crtiticising artists when you listen to the same stuff a la MY GOODIES MY GOODIES, or WHEN LOVE TAKES OVEERR YEAAAHAAA!! sorry had to do it lol

  57. Lovher December 30, 2009

    I have to say this……Beyonce’s songs have a pop appeal but they were r&b. The dc vibe of crazey in love was heavily influences, naughty girl was too, and i love how we didn’t mention “Me Myself and I” lol classic. Upgrade ya is urban diva is urban, daja vu funk, ring the alarm….i still don’t know but it was tina turner ish. Let’s not hate on Beyonce congrat her. lets only make keyshia alicia jasmine jennifer just as hot. if we buy it than it will be. beyonce has a pop look and attack performance wise thats all it is nothign else. the problem is r&b tends to get so caught up in the music they forget about presentation. Trey songz has a multi plat album right now. but he can’t perform it. him walking around stage is not interesting, its not as broad a look. he is limiting that. good music has came out christette michelle, but watching her is boring in a pop aspect. no one that is rreal r& has created that way to engage people.

  58. jeff December 30, 2009

    R&B as many here have said is not dead but sadly is fading slowy with time,
    POP has taken over and times like the 90’s were R&B was reining and songs of that genre were at the top of the Billboard are gone, And I do agree that artist such a Trey Songz, Mario, Melanie Fiona and Jazmin Sullivan are bringing that Classic R&B feel back but people are not interested and just sleep on great artist and Albums.

    Also I have seen that Many R&B singers are crossing over to appeal more to a POP audience and are auto-tuning themseleves only to keep up with todays musical preference.

    Mariah is a big example because many dont see that people are not interested ever nsince she has taken a more urban R&B route which is sad because Mariah is actually making worthy R&B music.

  59. Ultra_Sonikz December 31, 2009

    This is something ive been battling with this question my self for soo long. im a 19 Y.O aspiring R&B producer, i feel like R&B has lost its “soul”, dont get me wrong there are still amazing artists out like maxwell, (Black summers night is in rotation on my ipod @ all times) Sade, jasmine sullivan, joe just to name a few, but there is nothing memorable in todays music period its about how marketable they can be, alot of the s*** that gets played on Bet, Mtv, and your local radio station wont be remembered 2 years from now! think about every Motown song that comes on, whether or not its a Smokey song or MJ, people will always go “oooooo thats MY jam” what new artist today will even make to the end of their current recording contracts?
    jus my 2 cents!

  60. FiercerMC December 31, 2009

    R&B is not dead
    We’re just having too much of it going on the radio. People just wanna take a breather by indulging to other genres of music but they will definitely go back to R&B.
    R&B music is timeless while Pop is good only when it’s still hot on the charts but becomes forgettable as soon as it’s no longer there…

  61. True December 31, 2009

    I don’t think r&b is dead
    it’s just artist who make r&b are not the artist record label push for, they support & push pop artist because they believe they are easier to market on radio & TV, their audients is mainstream meaning one quick hit will make them money, with R&B artist it’s about album sales & having a core loyal audients. I think we have had a decline in R&B music because we don’t have big name entrepreneur /producers we used to, there was Teddy Riley, Puffy, JD, Babyface & more

    The labels like Motown who push r&b have all gone.
    We are relate on producers to get big enough that they owned their own labels & push out artists
    Even though I hate diddy in the 90’s he found great artist & used to support them in to making it.
    Even in the beginning of 2000 we had
    timberland, missy, jazzy, pharrell & Neptune’s some of them are still around but they mostly looking out for their own career’s then investing in new artist. And when they do invest in artist it’s the same formula pop act they support because they believe the money is in the mainstream.

  62. 12345 December 31, 2009

    R&B dead when Aaliyah dead, period.

  63. Kyle December 31, 2009

    I don’t think R&B is “dead.” If anyone wants to listen to R&B in this “ringtone/hip-pop” era, you just have to kinda dig for it. Like Sam said, Maxwell and Sade are still prevalent along with R&B newcomers such as Jazmine Sullivan, Ledisi, and Melanie Fiona. It’s just sad that R&B isn’t as recognized as it used to be in the mainstream. It’s hard not to notice that there hasn’t really been an R&B hit to crossover to pop radio in the past couple years. And while many R&B singers have had to conform to a more radio-appealing pop sound, it’s important to note artists who have stayed within their boundaries and continue to deliver solid R&B cuts. One artist that really pops out to me is Letoya Luckett. Her first album was pretty hip-hop flavored, but on her second album she went straight for the soul sound and I think it worked. Did the project succeed? Not really in terms of sales, but I think people respected the R&B sound that she went for on “Lady Love.” So in conclusion, I think if people want R&B in todays music state, you kinda have to shuffle around for it. But it’s still alive in my opinion.

  64. Shan December 31, 2009

    Bell Biv Devoe is what happened to good ole R & B. They started with the “Hip Hop smoothed out on the R & B tip with a pop feel appeal to it ” Then the 90’s was filled with that sound. The best R & B was the 80’s no doubt, we actually had bands…Klymaxx, S.O.S. and my favorite Atlantic Starr. Those were the days…

  65. kayla December 31, 2009

    I dont think rnb is dead its just simply ignored as if it doesnt matter because now a days it doesnt matter how much talent you have it is determined on looks and how you can draw a crowd if you have artist like cassie being able to put albums out and people clling it rnb then thats sad. We have so many great Rnb artist out like Whitney, Maxwell, Jazmine Sullivan, Keyshia Cole, Mary j Blidge, Monica, Brandy. These artist and a few others represent what Rnb is and some of them are very underated and slept on and wont get the chance of day. For example Brandy’s Human album was terribly underrated that album was one of the most influential albums of 2008 lyrics were beautiful and had meaning but thats not enough today it just simply people not appreciating good music anymore.

  66. C-C December 31, 2009

    1st of all, Julius, u are the biggest idiot on here! You’re tryna call Sam close minded but that’s what u are! People like Ledisi, Goapele, & Melanie Fiona may not be your cup of tea, but their music is not crap! And they deserve just as much attention as Rihanna, Beyonce, & etc. Your state of mind is exactly like today’s average listener, and that’s a brainwashed one! Life ain’t all about partying!

    And the reason why mainstream R&B is in a sad state is because people keep ignoring artists like Amerie, who keep making good music, but for some reason people say F it!

    And 1 more thing, anybody who blames the Hip Hop influence for R&B’s downfall is buggin! Yes, the fusion of R&B and Hip Hop has crippled things a lil bit in this past decade, and made things stale. But, the Hip Hop influence is what made the 90’s so great, and there was actually diversity back then too.

  67. leesha December 31, 2009

    I think that R&B has just lost its soul Brandy, Monica, SWV, Xscape, Usher, and few others have been missing from the game, I am a total 9o’s head so I find myself listening to Brandy’s albums and Monica’s album a lot because they represent what real R&B music is, in my opinion R&B music is made to be listened to nowadays everyone just wants to dance and I like Beyonce but I love Brandy.

  68. Urbnstyle December 31, 2009

    I sort of agree with the comments above. I agree that there hasnt been any good R&B acts to make a big impact in the R&B scene in a while. Yes there are many under rated R&B singers that have been recently introduced but there hasn’t been a wow factor in any of them. There hasn’t been any staying power, most of the “R&B” artist now make one hit wonder songs with catchy hooks with a popular collaboration with another artist. The 90’s was the best time for real R&B artitsts and music as well as in the early 90’s dance music was very popular but then it faded away, but nowadays dance/club music is what everyone is listening to. Good R&B albums relseased this year such as LeToya’s album Lady Love is a great example of real R&B with the majority of the album being smooth grooves and slow jams. However her album didnt make a huge impact as Beyonces album I…Am because of it’s Pop appeal and huge promotion. Richgirl seems to make think that they will be a great R&B group because all of them can sing which reminds me of EnVogue.

  69. Hipp00 January 1, 2010

    hmm. I really don’t think R&B is dead………
    It’s just with record sales the way they are,R&B singers need to expand there fan base. Beyonce is pop/r&B meaning she does both…(ex. from IAMSF, Single Ladies, Diva, VideoPhone, If I were a Boy. Ego r all R&B songs, they have a R&B based beat and even the lyrics have urban slang in it.. Beyonce is good at making her songs pop/r&b and that’s what most R&B artist need to do because that’s what’s gonna keep your songs on the radio….Look at CB, Rihanna & Beyonce out of all the R&B females & Males there songs always chart the highest, why ? cuz they keep there songs have a pop edge so not only R&B fans are listening to there ish…But then again look at Rihanna, she went hip-hop now she’s starting to flop (because the ppl want pop/r&b!!) lol…..There are still artist like Beyonce, Ciara, Letoya Luckett, Keri Hilson, Ne-Yo and many more even if some may argue there flops, I still hear there songs on the radio keeping the R&B genre alive…. But on some real look at the Pop genre, there hardly anyone holding it down in that genre besides GaGa & Bey…Maybe music is just dieinq. With all this bootlegginq artist prply don’t work as hard on there albums like they use too.. =[

  70. Hipp00 January 1, 2010

    and I think it’s reall fuckedd up how MTV took the R&B out of there awards….. There were way more R&B singers I heard on the radio then pop singers…So idk what is qoinq on ova there , they must be smokiinq that qood s*** over at MTV headquaterz.

  71. anonymo January 1, 2010

    I agree it is dying and is not as prominent as it was in the 90s and early 00s (aah those were the days). I don’t understand how people could buy some of the music today which make it to the top of various charts and feel like I’m missing out when I’m not really mssing anything. IMO I think illegal downloads was to blame for the downfall and I put my hands up and accept I was part of this problem. Also have noticed the way big artists like Rihanna, Beyonce and Usher have geared their music away to pop/dance since starting out all rnb. Here in the UK rnb radio stations who would never play stuff from the UK grime scene (N’Dubz etc) now have this crap playing on loop and also now include rock! I’m always playing stuff from the 90s and feel like I’m getting old as I don’t like many current music.
    Record companies are not interested in nourishing talent anymore, always looking to make a quick buck. IDK how this vicious cycle will end and when we will see real music, real rnb make its mark again but I hope it is very soon as I’m losing the will to live.

  72. MIss Higgi January 1, 2010

    R&B is not dead, a demand for true talent is DEAD!! This new generation is culturally deprived… So little true talent today… Truly a shame…

    THANK GOD for urban stations that focus on old skool!!!

  73. Ed January 1, 2010

    NO ….R&B will never die.
    They try to spin the name and what to call it.
    Neo-Soul, Soul and R&B will never die.

    Look at Erika Badu, Maxwell, Angie Stone, Jill Scott, The Roots,Alicia Keys so many others.
    The old groups EWF, Con Funk Shun, Cameo, Prince , Chaka Kahn, Patti LaBelle. Maze,
    The Whispers
    can still draw an audience.

    Youngin’s like that music also..that’s why they sample it …all the time.
    Only problem they don’t have the BANDS that can really play the instruments like back in the day.

    Currently, they are all doing R&B and Soul music whether they realize it or not.
    I think Rap is dying a slow death because people are tired of the dirty lyrics
    and the unpolished stage acts and so on.

    With Ols School and the current Badu, Maxwell …continue to sell out when they go on tour.
    And that’s why when you go to the shows there is standing room only because people
    form all age groups are there.

    Word !

  74. markfresh421 January 1, 2010

    I agree, to an extent. I think its jus as much the industrys fault as it is the public. We do have solid R&B artists that get bypassed on a regular (I.e. Keyshia Cole, Trey Songz, Amerie, and The-Dream) people don’t want to hear pain heartbreak and cheating which is a big factor in R&B. Its a recession we want lighter more comforting songd (Just Dance, I Gotta Feeling) the R&B movement isn’t dead I think in a few years it’ll b huge again.

  75. truth serum. January 1, 2010

    The problem isn’t that R&B or hip hop or any of these genres is dead. The problem is that the WHOLE RECORDING industry itself is dead! And we only have ourselves to blame. It started to decline when music was made more accessible via the internet. Napster surged the RIAA sales into a decline, and ever since 2000 it has been declining further and further. Why do you think there are hardly anymore record stores and such? There’s no market for them. The only artists who sell big now are those that:

    a.) Have been prominent forces within the industry prior to the market declining (Beyonce, Usher, Alicia Keys, Jay-Z, Kanye… etc) IE BIG NAMES
    b.) New artists that are co-signed by another big name… (IE Rihanna, Justin Bieber, Drake)
    c.) A smalllll fraction of artists whom happen to get lucky.. (Lady Gaga) and these are a small anomaly of people.. who usually get more famous for their appearance & persona versus raw talent.

    Nearly all of the big names and artists with the most force now were able to nourish their careers. They were allowed mistakes, and they were heavily promoted. Beyonce was manufactured by Matthew Knowles & was able to use her fame via Destiny’s Child to secure a good solo effort. Their first album did not do huge numbers nor did it produce massive sales. Jay-Z first started off rapping in Hawaiian shirts and being Big’s shadow. His first album, tho critically acclaimed, didn’t get mainstream success as far as sales nor did Vol 1. Usher’s first album, the debut when he was 15 only spawned one hit single that didn’t really impact mainstream so much either.. but his sophomore album My Way blew him up. Alicia Keys’ debut was a long process, as she had already been signed twice, and left a group..

    Also note…. the reason why music isn’t successful these days is because SOCIETY has changed. Today’s generation of young adults (whom determine what is successful or not) aren’t as prolific nor are they as mentally mature as they had been during the Motown era. In the 60’s, R&B.. BLACK music reflected love, triumph, and the societal issues that were ongoing — civil rights movement, segregation, Jim Crow laws. In the 70’s, it was disco and still an ongoing revolution that lasted until the 80’s. Art was alive in all facets back then — literature, music, and poetry. Today, our young culture is for the most part dumb. We are oversexed with little order or regard for the issues that are going on… we’re in a recession, the Health Care Bill has just passed Senate, we’re still at war, and many of our children are having s** at younger and younger ages… but none of these issues are addressed via music, poetry, art.. Nothing. Instead we prefer to party it up, and “escape” versus dealing with reality and this is also a reason to why music in itself is not successful. Also note, we spend way too much time consumed with the lives of celebrities…. Look at these blogs and hits generated! There has to be a balance, and due to this media exposure these artists get where much of their lives is documented or rumors comprised and gone viral, it causes a large distraction to the music itself. IE Chris Brown, Usher, Rihanna, & Alicia Keys to name a few.

  76. Whew!!! Chile…. January 1, 2010

    I always say that thee is no such thing as pop> what we have as music today is watered down dumbed down R&B , witch itself is diluted Soul music. What a shame , And with these “models as singers” makes me wonder sometimes if its really about music at all. Maybe it is all about creating culture. Just a thought. I mean look around at the world. Everybody listens to the same things, wears the same thing, This world is getting more and more orchestrated and boring everyday. Music industry my a*ss

  77. Chry5ta1 January 1, 2010

    I’m not gonna go into it, but the last two posts (especially #truth serum) hit the nail on the head.

    The industry has become one big massive machine. We just need to buy real music and go to the gigs!

  78. walkitout January 1, 2010

    This blog entry is soooooo f***** up. The author is talking about old school R&B (which he calls “pure R&B” *rollseyes*) which isn’t very popular among the masses nowadays, which is why it doesn’t sell so well. However the modern R&B (which the author seems to be calling “pop” music) is plenty popular and is selling great. MUSIC CHANGES. Popular R&B music has changed over the years just like popular pop music has changed; neither genres of music sound the same as they did way back when. The author just wants to call contemporary R&B music “pop” music because it’s popular. But its not pop. To sum this up, the author is hella wrong. R&B is alive and well; it has just changed with the times, like all popular forms of media and entertainment has. Now I happen to love R&B music that has an old school vibe as long as the artist on the song its actually singing (too often old school R&B has people pretty much talking, which I hate) and the songs ~means~ something. Blackstreet’s “Don’t Leave Me” is an excellent example of an awesome old school R&B song. However I love contemporary R&B as well. Mariah’s Memoirs has a very original R&B vibe, and the album is great.

    I also disagree that black artists are just slapped with an R&B label. Jordin Sparks is not an R&B singer is she? No, she’s a pop singer. It’s just the most black artists ARE R&B/hip hop/soul so on and so forth. Hell, Jordin Sparks is the only popular black singer I could think of who’s NOT R&B/hip hop.

  79. UMMMM January 1, 2010

    Once an R&B star makes pure R&B music and it starts to cross over on the Pop charts if gives them a chance to spread in there music instread making the same genre of music which i think is a good thing. Alicia Keys make R&B music yet it crosses over to the pop charts which made her make more songs like No One which has more pop sound to it…to me doesnt matter if somebody makes R&B or pop music if u cant perform the song live then its gonna suck any way….when it comes to live performanes AK (when her voice is not tired) and Beyonce are the only 2 people who can deliver live thats why i would i would consider AK the Queen of R&B/soul and Beyonce the Queen of Pop/R&B. AK makes R&B songs that crosses over to the Pop charts and no matter what Genre of music Beyonce is singing its going to chart high because she gives one hell of a performances dancing or just singing. Also, once you have more fans you just cant cater to one genre.

  80. urztruly4 January 2, 2010

    I wudnt say its fully dead,but its sure dying..and u’ll b in denail if u don’t know that…ppl don’t know what to do..anymore,bcuz u. See ppl like Joe that’s still strong in that genre but doesn’t have as much succes as he use to..the whole music game has changed..we jus gotta figure out how to make it work for ur situation.

  81. ChatManGuy January 3, 2010

    I’ve read some of the responding post that says r&b is not dead, but imho it sure is close. Some of you went on to name some of your favorites that I have also heard as well & to tell you the truth, I wouldn’t buy a lot of their material. I currently have several video channels & when some of the new r&b songs comes on, I turn it & it’s the same with some of the new rap songs I hear. The problem to me is, it’s just not as good as it used to be. Mary J., A. Keyes, Usher, K. Cole, the new comer J. Sullivan & Sade are holding it down with music I would buy, but some of the other artist you guys have named are just okay or weak & that’s just not good enough these days to get my dollars. I’m sorry if I have offended or hurt any of you, but that’s just my opinion.

    Peace to all & a Happy New Year.

  82. tee January 9, 2010

    jazmine sullivan, keri hilson and letoya luckett is the best r&b on the girls side

  83. The MikeMan March 31, 2010

    “Models posing as singers….”
    “Pop sound….” “fickle audiences…”

    TRUTH!!! All these stupid youngsters like a song for a month as long as everyone else likes it. Then when it becomes obsolete or not on the radio or 106 & Park, they suddenly dont like the song anymore and delete it off their iPod’s and MySpace’s. Fickle…exactly. Every R&B song that comes out now is about the club or seeing a “fly b****” and taking her home or just being “fly”. T-Pain, Keri Hilson, Lady Gaga, Trey Songs, Pleasure P, the new Beyonce,etc….they can all die. Bring back genuine R&B!!!

  84. black to the bone May 18, 2010

    “Bring back genuine [email protected]!!!”

    Please preach! let’s face it , the songwriting in [email protected] is pretty rubbish too. Young people, there was a time when genuine musicianship and the concept of “jamming” was important to [email protected] where big.noisy,vacant drum beats didn’t count for s*** next to genuine syncopation, when there was a genuine bassline in a tune as part of the melody. Excellance , or at least a mantra of practice,practice,practice was what was needed before anybody dreamed of even stepping into an adult musical arena. And that is now the problem. older record executives as well as being the leeches they have probably always been have now shifted far too much of attention to sideways pimping these young artists until they become “brands”. When you get too caught up in promoting yourself and not your music, it’s obvious that the music will suffer.It may sell, but it will, no doubt, suffer. Plus a lack of adult perspective in the music is beginning to really jar me. but my friend really hit it on the head. She honest to god calls radio [email protected] “crack” music. She also says that this generation carries on like they invented s**, but that lyrically they appear to be unknowingly uninspired by s**. And I think she is right. [email protected] “soul” is on a vacation right now and Lord knows where the funk has gone!

  85. D. October 13, 2010

    R&B is dead because of lack of spirituality, empathy and, dare i say it “God.”
    I say God because God is love…and nowadays people want God out of their music so that they can participate in a secular (godless) lifestyle. People may not believe this but African-American culture used to very spiritual and religious, which meant this lifestyle was passed on to their music. However, in today’s times, you can see why R&B is so bad because R&B requires empathy, love, sensuality, intimacy, relationship, respect, honor….all of these things are synonymous with “God”…

    you take God (or a God-centered lifestyle) out of the lifestyle of a music artist and all you get is an empty and self-centered style of music….you can hear what’s missing in R&B if you really decide to listen….instead of catering or worshipping your “flesh”

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