Published On May 25, 2012
R&B was once known as the soul of the hip-hop community. Today, to say the least, it just isn’t what it used to be.
Reminiscing about what used to be of R&B leaves me with one feeling: an old Rose watching her blue heart-shaped diamond necklace fall back into the depths of the ocean. Only this time, there is no Rose, because there appears to be no survivors.
What happened to our r&b music? From Jazz to the Blues, Blues to Soul, and Soul to R&B/Neo-Soul– was the next lineage in line, rap-singing?
The most devastating thing about the disappearance of r&b is that there’s nothing around to balance rap. Rap has, however, morphed into a fusion of r&b, pop, and rap– with auto-tune. And even more, what used to be r&b/rap collaborations are mostly rappers singing their own hooks, except much less harmonious than Bone Thugs N Harmony, and far more disconnected from a perfect pitch than Krayzie Bone.
I never realized how drastic the crumble of R&B has graved until I stumbled upon one nostalgic video and got lost in a world of them for hours, at high volumes. While rap appears to be evolving into a plethora of different sounds– sub-cultures, themes, ideologies– and is literally able to cater to any kind of rap fan who seeks, there is no substitute for r&b.
The content on mainstream radio is not diverse. However, the problem is not this transformation of hip-hop, but what appears to be the lack of motivation for the resurgance of R&B. Is it dead? Will there be no new generation of r&b singers to take over and reclaim a piece of the pie as it once was?
Considering the latest fiasco by Brian McKnight, now known as his attempt at a “parody,” I’d say he was dead on. ”Show Me How Your Pussy Works,” was the most ridiculous scenario of an R&B song that you could ever find… from Brian McKnight. But if you actually take a listen to our modern-day portraits of rhythm and blues artists, worst have been said in a more clever and catchy way. So at my 22-23 years of age, I’m a bit disappointed that I can’t help but feel like an old head when it comes to these new standards of lyrics and subject matter. Am I the only one?
After reliving and reinvigorating my soul with a plethora of 90s r&b, I present to you the question and the answer:
WHAT HAS BEEN MISSING IN R&B TODAY?
Usher/Monica – “Slow Dance”
Faith/Carl Thomas – “Emotional”
R.Kelly/Sparkle – “Be Careful”
2. DANCE SONGS NOT CATERED TO STRIP CLUBS
Lucy Pearl – “Dance Tonight”
Jennifer Lopez – “If You Had My Love”
En Vogue – “My Lovin’ (You’re Never Gonna Get It)”
3. SONGS WITH STORY LINES
Dru Hill – “In My Bed”
Mya – “Movin’ On” feat Silkk the Shocker
Case – “Happily Ever After”
4. HEARTFELT BALLADS
Mariah Carey – “My All”
Xscape – “Who Can I Run To”
Brandy – “Have You Ever”
5. SEXY SEDUCTIVE
Aaliyah – “One in a Million”
TLC – “Red Light Special”
Toni Braxton – “You’re making me High”
6. SONGS ABOUT BROKEN HEARTS
Tyrese – “How You Gon’ Act Like That”
Faith Evans – “You Used to Love Me”
Avant – “Separated”
And there’s much more where that came from