Rhythm and Blues: The Most Pleasurable Genre of All

Jevaney Gooden is a writer and student at Humber College

March 3, 2015

Rhythm and Blues has always been my go-to music genre. It has been an outlet for me ever since I was a child. Music, specifically, is a way for me to escape for the real world, and recreate my own in my mind. R&B music has been a way for me to relate and connect to many people in my life. Most of my first initial encounters with people are conversations related to music. It’s something that has always represented me.

It’s been around for quite some time, and it is one of the top relatable genres today. The thing about R&B is it doesn’t all sound the same. There are many different songs that you would never guess are R&B. It’s because it consists of many sounds all meshed together to create greatness. R&B is mostly combined with a mixture of soul, jazz, urban sounds with a heavy beat, forcing you to two-step. R&B music is slowly taking over the music industry, and soon everyone will be able to identify R&B off the bat.

R&B today is completely different from what it used to be. It all started in the late 40s with artists like Louise Jordan and Roy Brown that introduced the world to the sounds of R&B music. The sound of blues slowly left the R&B genre and urban culture soon took over. Especially when women started to enter the music industry, R&B music switched up. Women like Whitney Houston, Patti Labelle and Anita Baker gave a little twist on the genre. It became very sentimental and passionate. Their voices together and the melody created magic. They slowly started to positively impact the music industry and became an outlet for many other upcoming urban artists.

Having R&B as a genre of music was a way for the urban culture to express their emotions on their own accord. The way they put their sounds together to create their melody is distinctive and easy to point out. It immensely differs from the genres like pop, and rock and roll. But it doesn’t stop there.

There are many artists who can create R&B hits without being in the urban culture, but the African-American culture makes it hard for the people not of the same origin to be able to call it R&B. Like Miguel, a singer, songwriter and producer once said, “there’s plenty of artists who are making R&B music, but because of their ethnicity, it’s considered something else.” Unfortunately because there still is discrimination and hatred in this world, some artist’s feel uneasy about labeling themselves as R&B artists because of the urban culture connected to it.

Is R&B music only for the urban African-American culture? Not at all, it is not limited; it’s available to anyone around the world. Although it’s hard to bring everyone together, it does happen and some artists are comfortable enough to label their type of music as they please. Elvis Presley had two songs in 1957 that were considered R&B named “Jailhouse Rock” and “Treat Me Nice”.

Artists can record an album pertaining a different genre with every song; they don’t always have to stick to the same kind of music. That’s the cool thing about artists nowadays; they are able to give the world variety. They give their audience what they want to hear, and because most of artists today have a mass audience of many cultures, races and interests, they have to be able to make their music as relatable as possible. They can’t just have songs pertaining one subject or one theme; having a mixture allows more fans, and more fans means more publicity. It is a way for them to make more money, to make it to the top of the music industry.

Artists like Beyonce, Usher, and Justin Bieber have many songs pertaining different genres, and it shows in their success. They could have just stuck to one genre and one type target market to make their music relatable to, but they realized that music is all about sharing and expressing emotions. Emotions are contagious, and it should be expressed through music for everyone to listen to and to empathize.

R&B music is the best out. It is easy for everyone to find a song that connects to a part of their life somehow through R&B music. If you’re feeling down you might just play some “Weak” by SWV or want to party to some “Pour it Up” by Rihanna. Whatever your taste is, you can find it in variety of R&B songs. Consider yourself warned, you might listen to some blues, jazzy R&B that will make people boogie down or modern R&B that will make you rock, bob your head and maybe bust a move or two. The world can associate themselves the diversity that R&B artists make within their music.

How does music impact your life?

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