Origin

Rhythm and Blues otherwise known as R&B was birthed during WWII around 1939-1945. The evolvement of R&B is due to the social changes that occurred in America from the 1940’s – 1960’s, and allowed a new genre for African-American artists and musicians to flourish. The genre took elements from jazz, blues, and gospel to form one of the most soulful genres of our time, Rhythm and Blues.

Characteristics

Since its origin, R&B has always been dominated by African-Americans. In fact, the genre replaced the term ‘race music’ which was used to label music produced by black musicians and artists. In regards to R&B’s sound, it can be described as having a ‘soulful rhythmic melody’ paired with lyrics that discuss one’s emotions and love life. Instruments almost always found in R&B are drums, which can be heard in the background.

Commodifications

As R&B increased in popularity, it’s album sales also increased. R&B artist have made profits from performing their music, as well as selling it on albums and records.

Social Implications

The rise of the genre, R&B, is a side affect of the military draft and the Second Great Migration of African-Americans.  Due to the military draft taking a majority of our men, it caused people to lose interest in jazz swing bands and ballroom dancing due to the need of a male partner. As a result, bands with fewer members developed and they created some of the very first rhythm and blues bands. As the discrimination towards African-Americans worsened, they sought after safe havens which musicians found in the entertainment industry.

 

Notable Performers

Alicia Keys

Boyz II Men

Beyonce

Chuck Berry

 

Future Genres

Rhythm & Blues is most notable for making way for Pop music. However, R&B characteristics made its way into other genres such as providing Hip-Hop an opportunity to rap about more personal issues and giving the genre a softer sound.

 

Conclusory Opinions

The birth of Rhythm and Blues is one of the many genres that were dominated and created by African-Americans. The genre allowed musicians to discuss their emotions and feelings unlike before, and allowed music to be experienced on a personal and relatable level.

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