R&B/RnB is an abbreviation for Rhythm and Blues; a genre of popular African American music which originated in the 1940s.
The term Rhythm and Blues was devised by music journalist, Jerry Wexler, who worked for Billboard magazine to replace the
offensive term, ‘Race Music’, prior to RnB. The term "Rhythm and Blues" replaced the Billboard category Harlem Hit Parade in
1949. RnB in the 1940s was characterised by its jazz based, urbane rock style accompanied by a heavy, continuous beat.
Record companies at the time used the term RnB to describe increasingly popular recordings that were predominantly aimed at
urban African Americans.
In 1948, Louis Jordan (left) dominated the top
five listings of the R&B charts with three
songs, two of which were based on the
prominent rhythm called the ‘boogiewoogie’. Jordan played the the saxophone and
provided vocals for his band the ‘Tympany
Five’, accompanied by musicians on
trumpet, tenor saxophone, piano, bass and
drums – key instruments in RnB.
Early 1950s – The meaning of RnB was modified as it was often associated with blues records and contributed to the
development of rock and roll.
Mid 1950s – The term R&B again evolved into a term used to describe music styles and subgenres that came from and
incorporated electric blues, gospel and soul music.
1970s - Rhythm and Blues was used as a general term for soul and funk.
1980s - A newer style of R&B developed, becoming known as Contemporary R&B; a music genre that combines elements
of rhythm and blues, pop, soul, funk, and hip hop.
Contemporary R&B is categorised by its refined record production style and drum machine backing along with a smooth vocal
arrangement. Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey are all vocalists who popularized
Contemporary RnB. It is essentially newer version of soul and funk-influenced pop music that originated as disco faded from
Nowadays, the term R&B is almost always used instead of the full rhythm and blues, and mainstream use of the term usually
refers to contemporary R&B. Electronic influences are becoming an increasing trend along with the influence of hip hop/dance
inspired beats although the grittiness of hip hop are reduced. In the future
Hip hop music is a music genre consisting of rhythmic music that follows certain established
conventions such as the incorporation of rapping - a rhythmic and rhyming speech that is chanted by
the artist. It formed as a music genre and culture during the 1970s in New York City when block parties
became increasingly popular especially amongst African American youth residing in The Bronx (one of
the five boroughs in NYC).
The term Hip Hop is believed to have been created by rapper Keith Cowboy (top right) who was part of
Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five. Cowboy later worked the "hip hop" term into a part of his
stage performance, which was quickly used by other artists such as The Sugarhill Gang (right) in their
song "Rapper's Delight” (1979).
The four key conventional elements of Hip Hop include: Mcing/Rapping | DJing/Scratching | Break
Dancing | Graffiti Writing
DJs who performed at block parties often played popular genres of music, especially funk and soul
music. Having noticed the positive response they began to isolate the percussive breaks of popular
songs. Jamaican dub music often used this technique and was introduced into New York by Jamaican
and other Caribbean immigrants such as DJ Kool Herc aka Clive Campbell (left) who is considered the
father of Hip Hop whilst soul singer James Brown, and musical 'comedy' acts such as Rudy Ray
Moore and Blowfly are often considered Godfathers of hip hop music.
music, particularly that of
the griots ( a West
African historian, storyteller, prai
se singer, poet and/or
musician) of West African culture
are known to be the root of
rapping. Influences of rap
include the African-American
traditions of signifyin', the
dozens, and jazz poetry as well as
the call and response patterns of
African and African-American
1983-84 - The New School of hip hop was the second wave of hip hop
music, examples include the early records of Run-D.M.C. and LL Cool J.
Mid-1980s, Early 1990s – The Golden Age of hip hop, a period in
mainstream hip hop characterized by its diversity, quality, innovation
and influence as every new record that emerged reinvented the genre.
1986, early 1990s – Gangsta Rap and West Coast hip hop reflects the
violent lifestyles of inner-city American black youths.
2000s –Figures like Dr Dre, 50 cent and Eminem kept hip hop popular.
However in 2005, the sales of hip hop music began to decline;
mainstream hip hop was thought to have died.
Mid-2000s – The hip hop genre was revitalised by artists such as Kanye
West, Outkast and M.I.A who allowed Alternative hip hop to gain a place
on the market.
R & B and Hip Hop are the pop (i.e. popular music) of today.
Like all pop music from the 1950's until now, it's aimed at 16-25
year olds. It's aimed at black and white audiences of both
genders, because the corporates want to maximise revenue so
they need to appeal as large an audience as possible.
Although R&B has been around since the 1950s, the modern public still listen to Contemporary R&B . Furthermore, songs
of this genre continue to appear on the charts and garner millions of views on YouTube which showcases how popular the
genre remains. The YouTube comments on some R&B music videos also express how much the genre reaches out and
brings out empathy within people.
The same can be said about the Hip Hop and
Rap genre as the artists, old and new, keep the
genre alive with new music that features the key
conventions of hip hop as well as the
fresh, modern twist provided by the lyrical
content that continues to provoke thought from
the listeners. Hip hop remains a mainstream
genre due to the devoted fans of hip hop artists
who have been a part of the music industry for
decades such as Jay Z who’s singles continue to
top the charts. Artists such as J Cole appeal to
the public because of the 90s hip hop influence
on his music, the comeback of lyrical content
accompanied by his ‘dope’ beats has gained
positive reception from the public.