OPINION: What Happened To Rhythm And Blues?

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R&B is not what it used to be.

Where are the male R&B singers or true R&B singers in general? They are a dying breed. Nowadays you can't turn on the radio without hearing a supposed to be R&B song “featuring” a rapper or a hiphop beat. What happened to rhythm and blues? Some singers are still doing great R&B music but they aren't getting the exposure or opportunities they deserve. I get it, many mainstream musicians put out what sells but many of our R&B singers have veered so far from their initial target audience and sound that its hard to believe that their genre was originally R&B.

Everyone is a rapper or want to be the next person with the hottest club banger. Of course, every song on an artist's album won't be somber and heavy but there doesn't seem to be a balance anymore. There is too much “rhythm” and not much blues. Many of the singers singles aren't R&B and the artist are barely singing anymore. Although these labels we place on music are nothing but names to place music in a box they still matter especially when the artist claim to be apart of said genre themselves.

Maybe its just a sign of the times. R&B isn't the only genre going through a upward battle with a slight revitalization (underground movement). Its a new era and things inevitably change so my seemingly dismal outlook on today’s R&B might be do to my nostalgia. At Least neo-soul is still holding it down. Whatever it is, when I want to hear some ballads, deep thought provoking melodic-monologues, or just a light hearted song I’ll turn the dial to an oldies station or search for some new up-and-coming artist on the net.

Maybe I’m looking in all the wrong places. If you have any suggestions as to what’s hot and who is representing rhythm and blues right, leave a comment. I’d love to hear your suggestions.