The good ole rhythm and blues


Rhythm and Blues began to evolve during World War II. It incorporated black musical traditions such as the boogie woogie, swing, jazz combos, etc.  Initially R&B was known as ‘race music’, but was later changed because the term was deemed as offensive. This musical genre can be divided into five streams. The first stream (1940’s -1950’s), the second stream (1950’s-1960’s), the third stream (1960’s-1970’s), the fourth stream (1970’s-1980’s), and the fifth stream (1990’s-present). This post will compare the development of the second stream and fifth streams of R&B while illuminating their stylistic diversity. 

The second stream (1950's-1960's)

The development of rhythm and blues, was developed during World War II. Gospel, blues, and jazz were developing during this period and became a recognizable part of the R&B sound. An instrument that was utilized constantly in this era was the electric guitar. But jazz ,particularly blues, could be in heard in this genres music. R&B artist Muddy Waters is an example of an artist who used Blues and the electric guitar in his music. Some other prominent artists during this era of R&B was Little Richard and Chuck Berry.

The fifth stream (1990's-present )

In the modern day of R &B, it is hard to pinpoint what element is being used in the music as opposed to the second stream of R&B. In my opinion the most used element would be the pop sound. A good deal of R&B music today, is experimented with using technological sounds like dubstep or remixes. R&B artist, Bruno Mars, is an example of an artist that utilizes this, given his recent music. Nonetheless, the style of R&B has always been a unique genre, but with todays technological advancements it is more symbolic. Some notable modern R&B artists in this era would be Bruno Mars, Mary J. Blige, Lauren Hill, Erykah Badu, and many more.

Diversity of R&B

R&B has a wide range of styles. It ranges from the styles of blues, gospel, big band swing, and even some pop elements. Various types of instruments are used in R&B as opposed to just one type. As seen in the first stream the electronic guitar was a vital instrument in this era. In the fifth stream there are more technical instruments like autotune and remixed sounds. Both streams used an electronic sound to enhance their music the only difference between the two streams is how they sounds are utilized. In my opinion the R&B genre can be experimented with using various different methods. Rhythm and Blues is a diverse genre that has changed throughout the many eras that it has gone through.


The R&B genre has gone through many different streams. In the second stream, the use of the blues and jazz element were used. In the fifth stream, the use of pop music is the most used element as shown in the last video below this text. R&B is a unique genre and can be experimented with more than any other genre. It has lasted for decades and I’m certain if will last for many more.

Videos of R&B music in the second stream and fifth stream

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