What is this new yet slightly familiar sound that I am hearing from beyond the radio mountain tops? Wait a minute, are those piano chords? No it couldn’t be, it just could not be. Oh but wait, am I hearing…yes yes… I think I am. Are those sweet angelic harmonies coming through my speakers? Is someone playing a trick on me, cause I know they freaking lying. Now wait a minute! Mother of Mary and Joseph, are those VOCALS! Music Gods am I hearing R&B Music again!
Let the resurgence of R&B Music began. For the last ten years, there has been a terrible rumor out that the genre of R&B was dead. Even though there indeed have been sprinkles here and there throughout the industry, that rumor may have held some weight. Lets just face it, after the completion of the early and mid 2000’s, singers have found it extremely difficult to sell in today’s market. More importantly, Black singers have found it hard to sell. Remember the era when artist like Ashanti, Monica, Ne-Yo, Usher, Keyshia Cole, Lloyd, Brandy, Marques Houston, 112, 702, Jagged Edge, Fantasia, Tyrese and SO MANY OTHER singers and groups dominated the charts and music video channels?
The popularity and mainstream success of Hip Hop has changed the way we listen and digest music. It’s fast pace, straight to the point delivery works perfectly with the short attention span of today’s generation. Did that come across as shade? Oh well. Don’t get me wrong I am not a Hip Hop hater at all. Hip Hop is very essential to our culture. It speaks our home language and is PERFECT for the turn up. However, this blog is about R&B.
I love R&B music for many reasons. The most important reason is due to the art of singing in
general. Not one voice is exactly the same (Even though some are similar). What a person can do with their vocal instrument can set them light years apart from others. I want you to sing to my soul. The tones, the riffs and the runs create a warm feeling deep inside of your spirit. Just think about how you feel when you hear KeKe Wyatt sing. Lord Jesus! She doesn’t even have to sing actual words and you still can feel a special something.
With great singing comes passion. 90’s groups like Jodeci sang with an abundance of passion. Whether the subject matter was sex, love or pain; they made you relate to their stories because they believed every word that they were singing. It’s that passion that Fantasia or Mary J Blige has that turns their concerts into Sunday morning worship sessions. Go Mary! Go Mary!
After a long dramatic absence, R&B music is slowly making its way back into the mainstream music market (Notice I said mainstream). Its a new type of R&B that I am not mad at either. I remember when singers like Bryson Tiller and Jhene Aiko first began to release that vibey type R&B. So chill and relaxed but still had that stank on it. The vocal abilities were not as strong but the delivery was brilliant. Singers like Solange and SZA take it to the next level and allow you to enter into a woman’s mind. You learn about their views on politics and personal insecurities as they sing on top of alternative beats.
Thank God for H.E.R and Ella Mai! My goodness I have been needing yall. I HAVE BEEN NEEDING YALL! I swear I haven’t been overly excited about music in a big while but those two ladies have sparked my fire yet again. The fact that Ella Mai gave us a love song with Boo’d Up. A love song? in 2018? Who does that anymore? And H.E.R, with her beautiful songwriting and precise song structures. Those deep tones, I just can not. These singers and others are showing that R&B can in fact do numbers today.
I’m excited for this new era of R&B music. It doesn’t have to sound like the R&B music that our parents grew up on. These current singers are constructing their own paths and it is working. I was recently listening to the radio and they played an Ella Mai, Queen Naija and a SZA record back to back. I WAS HAPPY AS HELL!
Special shout outs to Khalid, Sevyn Streeter, Dawn Richard, K. Michelle, Teyana Taylor, Chris Brown, Trey Songz, Tamar Braxton, Mario (Whose new album is FIRE. PLEASE CHECK THAT OUT), Brandy, Ledisi, Jill Scott, Raheem Davauhgn, Jazmine Sullivan, Lalah Hathaway (Who always kills it at the Grammys) and the many others who have continued to stay true to who they are even when the industry does not support their type of music.