R&B State Of Mind

Of course this will be taken the wrong way by most of the readers here, but lately I’ve been quite apathetic towards rap. Sure there’s been a lot of great hip hop music to drop this year, from Dom Kennedy’s From The Westside, With Love to Curren$y’s Pilot Talk, and the year isn’t even finished. But lately I’ve found myself anticipating the projects of non-rap acts more than a rapster album.

Don’t get me wrong, I have my “locked” version of a certain mega-star’s album which may or may not have leaked yesterday (which, while I am intrigued to see if this is actually it, I really hope it doesn’t leak until the prerequisite two weeks before the actual release date, as someone will swack themselves a copy from the pressing plant they work at and flood the cyber- masses with it), and there are a few choice LPs I am waiting on. Yet now there seems to be some sort of R&B-tinged renaissance, and I’ll admit I’m pretty excited about it.

Erykah Badu has already released one of the best albums this year, and has quite possibly one of the greatest music videos in the history of evAr to accompany it. Dwele’s hovered around the public eye for years, primarily dropping vocals on songs that have now been used in Yahoo! commercials of all things, before quietly dropping the pleasantly entertaining W.ants W.orld W.omen a few weeks ago. Meanwhile his neo-soul compatriot of sorts Bilal is getting ready to drop a new project later on this September. Hearing news of a possible group consisting of Amy Winehouse and ?uestlove is always a good thing in my eyes, and The Roots’ upcoming project with John Legend seems interesting as well. Hell, even Lauryn Hill is making a progressive return to the spotlight via the festival circuit.

Perhaps due to my advancing age and lowered tolerance for bullshit, I’ve preferred stuff doesn’t compel me to consider seppuku after hearing an audio equivalent of a bukkake scene starring Kapri Styles. But there comes a time where eventually MurderDeathKillHomocide Rap (not to be confused with CoonPorchMonkeyJigaboo rap, which – depending on your perspective on life – is essentially one and the same) grows tiring, even though I have an admittedly quasi-hypocritical appreciation for it. And unlike rap music, R&B artists aren’t criticized for coming off as soft when they talk about the single most equally basic and frustrating emotion of all: love. I’ll never have anything in common with The-Dream (although despite his knucklehead style of youth music he is, ironically, older than I am, and with children) when he yaps about expensive, gaudy makeup bags in that awful chipmunk voice, but Sade tells me more about love than I know about love through her haunting vocals. On top of that, she’s 50 and still looks younger than Terius. Something ain’t right with that boy, I’m telling you.

At the end of the day I’m still going to prefer rap music, but there’s no denying that R&B has been outdoing hip hop for a few years now. I mean you don’t hear anybody saying, “R&B is dead” or some nonsense, right?

  • http://Pierzy11@gmail.com Pierzy

    Call me closed-minded, but I’ll never be able to love R&B the way I love rap. It just doesn’t have the same energy and power. The emotion is certainly there, but in a different way.

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  • LV

    I love R&B more than I love hip hop (mainly because that’s what I grew up on and I’m a singer) but I still love hip hop.

  • Just Some Nigga

    This is ironic that you would post this cause I actually would say its more dead than hiphop if either were arguably dead. R&B is the easiest genre to write for considering there subject matter is typically the same no matter what. Not to mention half the r&b artist today are more pop like. There are no more Jodeci’s coming out. Which is cool I guess, but if you are going to be an R&B singer why not be unique and sing about some shit that no R&B artist has ever sung about? Which would be easy because like I mentioned before its all love or sex, pick one. Outdoing? MMM Im not sure its fair to say that because we are in a time where everything has pretty much been done. And I love R&B “good R&B” but I cant say they have been doing SOOOOOO good. I mean lets be honest here what R&B artist is doing anything ground breaking? Janelle Monae’s album arguably better (probably better) than Badus and Monae is actually more Experimental artist. And speaking of Badu I was actually less impressed with her album this year which in my opinion is arguably her worse but then again shes Eryka Badu so her worse is like somebody elses best to some degree. I also wanted to mention (and I know Im gonna git alot of hate for this but) Alicia Keys hasnt been sweet since she first came out. Her music has overall been pretty wack despite what everyone who bought her shit thinks. She’s been subpar. And Usher’s album…. Fail. Probably his worse as well. So I really dont see how downing R&B would be “nonsense”. I could continue but I probably said too much as it is. However I really like most of your blogs Meka *lol*. But this one was a little eh to me.

  • Moving Sideways

    Album of the year:

    Janelle Monae – The ArchAndroid

    If you haven’t taken the time to listen to this album front to back and appreciated the variety of sounds and impeccable production value of every single track on there you should probably not call yourself any kind of music fan.

  • Anonymous

    Sades Album=Album Of The Year

  • Maga D

    I’d agree. I have always and will always loved rap. My first love and favorite music. But for the past two years really, I’ve been mostly into R&B with a little rock. Janelle Monae (with the accent mark), The Foreign Exchange, Jose James, and Musiq have been in rotation. Don’t get it wrong though, rap, imo, > R&B, but lately…. it’s about even.

  • Worley

    “I mean you don’t hear anybody saying, ‘R&B is dead’ or some nonsense, right?”

    On the contrary, my pops and his crew have been saying that for years. I would have to agree with them too. Trey Songz, The Dream and many of the clowns that can barely hold a note don’t stand a chance against Aretha, Smokey and Marvin. There are a few exceptions, but R&B definitely is not what it used to be. Just like rap.

  • http://www.bboycult.com $yk

    “There are a few exceptions, but R&B definitely is not what it used to be. Just like rap.”

    ^

    * cues ‘Nights Over Egypt’-The Jones Girls *

  • swype-matic

    You do know there’s also watered-down r&b too right? And it’s even more generic than the most bland rap songs, cause 99% of r&b literally IS about the same single subject or two. There is very little r&b that I listen anyway. If it’s not Alicia Keys, Mariah Carey, Jahiem, and a couple of others, I could really care less. When I’m just desperate for an r&b fix, I’ll borrow stuff from my sister.

  • nicholasdelorejo

    I don’t think R&B isn’t beating hip-hop in a sense as it is getting a little more attention now that rap appears to be in a bit of a decline both musically and in appreciation. I agree R&B has been getting more watered down over the years, but lately its still has been able to create quality releases that have sold some decent numbers than rap has. albums from Maxwell, Sade, Erykah, Robin Thicke, Melanie Foina, and Mary J BLidge have not only sold well (in today’s terms) but have been still well recieved by their core fans. So the same amount of people still appreciate R&B music todays as before. I can’t say the same preople appreciate rap before are still buying music from roughly all its artists as they do now.

    Also while I’ll admit R&B deals with the same subject matter but the thing that seperates it from rap is that it not only deals with something relatable on a typical basis and it has a far greater balance of bullshit and real music than hip-hop does. Usher’s album has done the same amount of numbers as Sade’s. Can anyone say that for rap? No. It’s often the “bullshit sells over real music” mantra. My point is that Seems far more stable in its mainstream presence (no matter how low its popularity) than hip-hop. Drake is the last new hip-hop artists to debut these days and even he came out as a R&B-ish rapper.

    Also: cosign to both Moving Sideways and Anonymous. Both Sade and Janelle Monae’s albums have shitted on all rap albums and most albums in general that have been released thus far.

  • ff1one@yahoo.com

    i’m starting to appreciate r&b more as i grow older and wiser. BUT, there was a time when id make love over hip hop. After giving it a chance, r&b goes hard…pause. There are actually some r&b songs that are more lyrical than some hip hop songs. like any music genre, just make some good music!!!

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  • No Mames Buey

    I’ve been exploring old school R&B. 1 cool thing about Stevie Wonder, is (roughly) half his subject is “traditional R&B” romantic love steez, but half is social commentary, as if he was Kweli’s uncle or some such.

    In addition to Stevie, I rec M Jackson (obsv), Prince, Earth Wind & Fire, The Gap Band, The Brothers Johnson ( [||] the band name, but dudes made good tunes dunnies!).

    In particular that 70s 80s funk (such as Earth Wind) was cool in that it’s exciting upbeat music, that are BANDs with BLACKS PLAYING INSTRUMENTS, on a great level comparable to any other genre that has instrumentalists.

    No new R&B really intrigues me like this old school stuff I’ve been checking, however I admit I could be sleeping hard on some new stuff. I did dig Foreign Exchange stuff, however I check for Phonte stuff ever since digging the Little Brother albums.

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  • El Tico Loco

    I ain’t mad at R&B cuz at least singers haven’t stopped singing their hearts out when given the opportunity because they know that their voice is their bread and butter not the lyrics that’s up to the writers(I know some singers write but you get my point). On the other hand rappers stopped rapping and have been trying to be successful with as minimum effort as possible after awhile people get tired of paying for halfass work, hence the current label bottom lines.

  • Anonymous

    “bukkake scene starring Kapri Styles”
    Thanks for helping me update my adult library Meka ;-)

    • TWINSKING

      “Decorate My Face” Kapri Styles LOL

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  • Andrew

    i cannot wait for the John Legend album either… it’s gonna be incredible.

    to me R&B isn’t what it used to be though. i don’t really hear much soul in the mainstream, and its a lot of rhythm, but lacking in the blues dept…

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  • sb

    and you may never will hear that r and b is dead….you are on point today young man

  • eesco

    Reading this post reminded me of a conversation myself and a group of my peers were having about music in this day and age. The converstaion started off by one of my friends saying that they went to a festival where aretha, new edition, and chaka khan performed and how much fun she had and it made me think what are we going to have as classic records when we get older. Everyone paused for a minute and was like damn we are kinda screwed. I mean when you think of the generation before us meaning the 60s, 70s, I came up in the 80s but the 80s also, there were always groudbreaking or just flat tremendously talented artis making original music. Not so much in the late 90s and currently the 2000s. Don’t get me wrong there are some artist that are phenominal ie. raheem devaughn, janelle monae, Amy winehouse (yeah she crazy but don’t get it twisted she makes soul music) just to name a few but as far as the mainstream what do we really have. I mean think about the back yard BBQs with marvin or sam cooke on spin and how everyone can appreciate the music cause its timeless. I don’t think that we are afforded the same kind of entertainment today. I don’t know maybe i’m just crazy i just want to know what others think.

  • Yonnie 3000

    What? No, “lay off the thesaurus” comments today?

  • Anomalous

    R&B is “dead” in the same way that hip hop was “dead.”

    If you want good R&B, you’ll find good R&B, but listen to anything on the radio waves and on the idiot box, it’ll cut up your soul and feed the pieces to satan lol. The most “popular” form of R&B music is some of the worst shit I’ve heard in my life, but when R&B gets it right, it’s sweet as hell.