R&B or Baby Makin Music?
Rhythm & Blues (abbreviated R&B) is a term used to described the blues-influenced form of music that is predominantly performed by African Americans since the late 1930s. The name was truly created to replace the designation “race music” which signified the standard phrase in reference to most music made by African Americans. In the 1950s R&B was associated with the youth and often dismissed as a lowbrow style of art, while Jazz was considered a more highbrow form of Black expression. By the 1970s the term rhythm and blues expanded to include soul and funk forms of music, eventually leading us into the 90s and present day where it is now thought of generally as a bunch of “love songs”.
Dividing the term rhythm and blues – “rhythm” derives from the music being typically being dependent on measures of four beats or bars with the normal use of a backbeat. “Blues” derives from the melodies of the song lyrics, which were often created with a tone of sadness or the “blues”.
R&B started to become homogenized with a group of high-profile R&B producers responsible for most of the R&B hits. In addition, when it became difficult for R&B singers to sell their music due to the rise in hip-hop, some singers adopted a “hip-hop” image and were marketed as such and are now often featured on rap songs, or feature rappers on their songs.