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Is R&B dead?

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  • Is R&B dead?

    Been thinking about this lately. 20-25 years ago, R&B was at it's best IMO, 15 years ago it was pretty much dominating the charts, but in the last 10 years it's kind of disappeared altogether. In my year end top 100 of 2000, 33 songs were R&B, last year it was 11, and even then, most of them are a bit of a reach to be called R&B.

    I hope the genre can make a comeback, there has to be some acts that can spot a gap in the market, or is nobody wanting to listen to new R&B? Alicia Keys new album is promising and The Weeknd at number one is perhaps the nearest thing we've had to a more melodic sound from black music at the top in recent years, but it's not R&B exactly!
    1 SG Lewis |2 Miley Cyrus |3 Paul Woolford|4 NOTD |5 Zero 7

  • #2
    All genres tend to have peaks and trends that go around in circles. We had tropical dance outstay its welcome by a good 18 months with songs even now in 2020 sounding like they belong to 2015//2016 *sigh*

    Trap seems to be the flavour of the streaming year right now so expect this trend to outstay its welcome until 2023.

    As for r'n'b, if the songs are of high quality then i'd like to believe there would be some sort of renaissance. Of course it's all subjective as i'd consider a song like Fallin' by Alicia Keys high quality r'n'b whereas i personally think Burn by Usher is boring despite all its success.


    • #3
      Originally posted by SholasBoy View Post
      The Weeknd at number one is perhaps the nearest thing we've had to a more melodic sound from black music at the top in recent years, but it's not R&B exactly!
      Be careful before some brainless hack calls you racist for using the word black.

      Millennial R&B peaked between 2001-2005, an era that was shoehorned between the two greatest R&B records ever recorded.
      Originally posted by beredy
      When people see your post this is what they see:



      • #4
        R&B is just not dead. It's just evolving to a new form of R&B which involves heavier Hip-Hop/Trap productions, less-melodic choruses and more minimalistic singing approach. It's still R&B but it just doesn't sound like the R&B we grew up with.

        Out of all the songs on the Billboard Hot 100, these are what I would classify as R&B:

        14. Justin Bieber - Yummy
        16. Lizzo - Good As Hell (kinda 50/50 about this)
        17. The Weeknd - Heartless
        22. Chris Brown - No Guidance (feat. Drake)
        54. H.E.R. - Ella Mai (feat. YG)
        66. Jhene Aiko - P*$$y Fairy (OTW)
        91. Summer Walker - Come Thru (with Usher)
        92. Tory Lanez - Jerry Sprunger (feat. T-Pain)
        93. Justin Bieber - Get Me (feat. Kehlani)
        96. DaniLeigh - Easy (feat. Chris Brown)

        11 out of 100. Not that bad considering how the music scene has changed a lot these past few years. One of the reasons why R&B is not as popular as it used to be is I feel like these days R&B singers are becoming more and more explicit with their lyrics so it's kinda losing its wider appeal and it makes it hard for Pop radio to play these kinda songs. Not to mention that R&B singers these days don't make catchy choruses anymore.

        Out of all the songs I listed above, "Come Thru" is definitely the CLOSEST to the type of R&B that we're familiar with back in the day, especially with the involvement of Usher and by sampling "You Make Me Wanna...".

        Occasionally we would also have some surprising success here and there. "No Guidance" stayed in the top 10 for what, like 24 week-ish? It also reached the top 10 in the UK and Australia I believe. "Boo'd Up" by Ella Mai was also another huge success for R&B, followed by "Trip" which I believe reached #11 on the Hot 100. So, while R&B is not in its best form today, it's definitely better than how it was during the EDM/Dance-Pop domination a few years ago I feel like.


        • #5
          P.S.: "Come Thru" has really become my #1 most played song on Last.FM. It really is personally THE best R&B song I've heard in a long time. It brings lots of memories from the '00s while still managing to sound current. Whew.


          • #6
            Pure R&B is still alive and well. We have artists like Ari Lennox, H.E.R. Daniel Caesar, Tank etc. As someone said above, trap is popular so to get a hit, artists have to incorporate it.
            Who knows if pure R&B will ever rule the charts again. I mean I expect songs here and there to break through (like Boo'd Up).