Hip Hop Soul

What is Hip Hop Soul?

Hip Hop Soul is a Subgenre of R&B music made most popular during the 1990s. Hip Hop R&B fuses the soul of singing with hip hop productions.

Origin Story

Hip Hop Soul evolved from new jack swing, another form of R&B popularized by artists and producers like Keith Sweat, Bobby Brown, Teddy Riley, Guy and so forth. New Jack swing incorporated elements of hip hop into contemporary R&B music. Hip hop soul took the hip-hop/ R&B synthesis further by having R&B singers sing over heavy backing tracks typically found in contemporary hip-hop.

Evolution of Hip Hop Soul

Hip Hop Soul was coined by well know producer and rapper Sean “Puffy” Combs. He created this term during the promotion of What’s the 411? An album by famous singer and actress, Mary J. Blige. This album was filled with mid-tempo ballads, along with being sung over samples and hip-hop beats. Uptown records would go on to produce several albums with the same styles as What’s the 411? Including Diary of a Mad Band, Jodeci. Diary of a Mad Band introduced the four-man vocal group to hip hop soul recordings whilst, processing them out of their new jack styles. Many other artist found their way to the heart of hip hop soul including 112, Tony! Toni! Toné and Blackstreet.

Sean “Diddy” Combs
Mary J Blige “What’s The 411?”
Montell Jordan’s this is How we do it Album

Montell Jordan’s “This is How We do it” was a key recording for the hip hop soul genre. It sampled Slick RIck’s 1989 “Children’s story” and epitomized the hip hop soul genre. Another Key recording is Method Man and Mary J. Blige’s “I’ll Be There for you/You’re All I Need to get by.” this song sample Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell’s “You’re All I Need to Get by which Method Man rapped over as Mary J serinated the song. Other artist include TLC, Adina Howard, Faith Evans, SWV, Total and so on.

Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell “Your all I need to get by”
Mary J Blige and Method Man

Hip Hop Soul Today

Since the 1990s, Hip Hop Soul has experienced a lull in popularity, but aided in a new genre being formed out of Hip Hop Soul called, Neo Soul. Neo Soul, coined by Kedar Massenburg, incorporates funk, jazz, fusion, hip hop, african music pop, rock and electronic music. Neo Soul is known to be a less conventional sound of Contemporary R&B.

Ari Lennox

Whipped Cream By Ari Lennox (Samples Two Of Us by Cameo 1978)

Got me By Dreamville/Ari Lennox(Samples Come Over by Faith Evans 1995)

Musiq Soulchild

Half Crazy by Musiq Soulchild (Samples Vivre Pour Vivre by Francis Lai 1967)

B.U.D.D.Y (Samples Heartbreak by Taana Gardner 1981 and Back to Life Soul II Soul 1989)


Before I Let Go by Beyonce(samples/cover of Mazie and Frankie Beverley Before I let go)

6 inch by Beyonce (samples Walk on by by Issac Hayes and My girls by Animal Collective)

Chris Brown

Undecided by Chris Brown (Samples I love your smile Shanice 1991)

Play No Games by Chris Brown, Big Sean and Ty Dolla $ign (Samples Piece of My Love by Guy 1988)

Erykah Badu

Fall in Love your funeral (samples Warning by Notorious B.I.G 1994 and Intimate Friends by Eddie Kendricks 1977)

Bag Lady by Erykah Badu (Samples XXplosice by Dr.Dre, Hittman, Kurupt, Six-Two and Nate Dogg 1999)

Jasmine Sullivan

Let it Burn by Jasmine Sullivan (samples Ready or Not by After 7 1989)

Bust Your Windows by Jasmine Sullivan (samples crank that by Soulja Boy 2007 and Bad Man Waltz by Salaam Remi 2008)





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