Rhythm and Blues is one form of Black popular dance music. The name of the genre was originally race music but the name was changed to what we know now as R&B for marketing purposes. R&B arose during two major historical events: World War II and the Second Great Migration. Because of this, many bands became short staffed which resorted to the creation of bebop and R&B.
Stylistically, the music varied from region to region as it spread across the country. This music was generally performed in juke joints and clubs. As oppression increased from the 1940s through the 1960s, the genre increased in popularity and created a music scene of it own kind.
Today, the R&B that we know is upbeat but still has a smooth and slow sound to it. This music is still used for dance music but not as commonly as hip-hop or pop music is today. Also, the R&B music today also has a spoken word style of lyrical delivery. This can be seen in Mary J. Blige’s song “All That I Can Say” featuring Lauryn Hill.
R&B has sort of crossed over into the hip-hop genre. So at times it is hard to decipher what the genre of a song is. Especially with the new technology that is used to make the music. Producers are now using technology such as computers, samplers and Auto-Tune to mix current trends with old school trends.
Today, R&B music tops the charts consistently. I believe that R&B will always top the charts and be popular due to its abilities to cross so many genres and reach many different audiences.