Contemporary R&B (or just R&B) is a music genre that combines rhythm and blues with elements of pop, soul, funk, hip hop and electronic music.
The genre features a distinctive record production style, drum machine-backed rhythms, pitch corrected vocals, and a smooth, lush style of vocal arrangement. Electronic influences are becoming an increasing trend and the use of hip hop or dance-inspired beats are typical, although the roughness and grit inherent in hip hop may be reduced and smoothed out. Contemporary R&B vocalists often use melisma, popularized by vocalists such as Stevie Wonder,Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey, Mary J. Blige, Jodeci, Boyz II Men, and Beyoncé. As of late 2000, contemporary R&B rhythms are being combined with elements of hip hop and pop music.
According to Geoffrey Himes speaking in 1989, the progressive soul movement of the early 1970s "expanded the musical and lyrical boundaries of [R&B] in ways that haven't been equaled since". This movement was led by soul singer-songwriter/producers such as Curtis Mayfield, Marvin Gaye, and Stevie Wonder.Norman Whitfield's productions at Motown, the record label of Gaye, were also pioneering for setting the soul vocals and simple hooks of earlier rhythm and blues records against strong backbeats, vocal harmonies, and orchestral sounds, all of which thickened the texture of the music. Gaye's own music on albums such as What's Going On (1971) incorporated jazz influences that led the genre into a looser musical direction.
The nearest precursor to contemporary R&B came at the end of the disco era in the late 1970s, when Michael Jackson and Quincy Jones added more electronic elements to the sound of the time, creating a smoother dancefloor-friendly style.The first result was Off the Wall (1979), which—according to Stephen Thomas Erlewine from AllMusic—"was a visionary album, that found a way to break disco wide open into a new world where the beat was undeniable, but not the primary focus" and "was part of a colorful tapestry of lush ballads and strings, smooth soul and pop, soft rock, and alluring funk".
Richard J. Ripani wrote that Janet Jackson's Control (1986) was "important to the development of R&B for a number of reasons", as she and her producers, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, "crafted a new sound that fuses the rhythmic elements of funk and disco, along with heavy doses of synthesizers, percussion, sound effects, and a rap music sensibility."Ripani wrote that "the success of "Control" led to the incorporation of stylistic traits of rap over the next few years, and Janet Jackson was to continue to be one of the leaders in that development." That same year, Teddy Riley began producing R&B recordings that included hip hop influences. This combination of R&B style and hip hop rhythms was termed "new jack swing" and was applied to artists such as Michael Jackson, Bobby Brown and Bell Biv DeVoe.
In contrast to the works of Boyz II Men, Babyface and similar artists, other R&B artists and groups from this same period began adding even more of a hip-hop sound to their work, like the innovative group Jodeci. The synthesizer-heavy rhythm tracks of new jack swing were replaced by grittier East Coast hip hop-inspired backing tracks, resulting in a genre labeled "hip hop soul" by Mary J. Blige and producer Sean Combs who also had mentored group Jodeci in the beginning and helped them with their unique look. The style became less popular by the end of the 1990s, but later experienced a resurgence. In 1990, Mariah Carey released "Vision of Love" as her debut single. It was immensely popular peaking at number 1 in many worldwide charts including the Billboard Hot 100, and it propelled Mariah's career. The song is usually said to have popularized the use of melisma and brought it into mainstream R&B.
During the mid-1990s, Whitney Houston's The Bodyguard: Original Soundtrack Album eventually sold over 45 million copies worldwide becoming the best-selling soundtrack of all time.Janet Jackson's self-titled fifth studio album janet. (1993), which came after her multimillion-dollar contract with Virgin Records, sold over 14 million copies worldwide. Boyz II Men and Mariah Carey recorded several Billboard Hot 100 No. 1 hits, including "One Sweet Day", a collaboration between both acts, which became the longest-running No. 1 hit in Hot 100 history. Carey also released a remix of her 1995 single "Fantasy", with Ol' Dirty Bastard as a feature, a collaboration format that was unheard of at this point. Carey, Boyz II Men and TLC released albums in 1994 and 1995— Daydream .
In the late 1990s, neo soul, which added 1970s soul influences to the hip hop soul blend, arose, led by artists such as Erykah Badu, Lauryn Hill and Maxwell. Hill and Missy Elliott further blurred the line between R&B and hip hop by recording both styles. Beginning in 1995, the Grammy Awards enacted the Grammy Award for Best R&B Album, with II by Boyz II Men becoming the first recipient. The award was later received by TLC for CrazySexyCool in 1996, Tony Rich for Words in 1997, Erykah Badu for Baduizm in 1998 and Lauryn Hill for The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill in 1999. At the end of 1999, Billboard magazine ranked Mariah Carey and Janet Jackson as the first and second most successful artists of the 1990s.
Simultaneously, in the second half of the 1990s, The Neptunes and Timbaland set influential precedence on contemporary R&B and hip hop music.
R&B acts such as Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, Janet Jackson and Mariah Carey are some of the best-selling music artists of all time.
Following periods of fluctuating success, urban music attained commercial dominance during the early 2000s, which featured massive crossover success on the Billboard charts by R&B and hip hop artists.
In 2001, Alicia Keys released "Fallin'" as her debut single. It peaking at number one on the Billboard Hot 100, Mainstream Top 40 and Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs charts. It won three Grammy Awards in 2002, including Song of the Year, Best R&B Song, and Best Female R&B Vocal Performance. It was also nominated for Record of the Year. million copies in the United States and earned five Grammy Awards.Beyoncé's solo studio debut album Dangerously in Love (2003) has sold over 5
Usher's Confessions (2004) sold 1.1 million copies in its first week and over 8 million copies in 2004, since then it has been certified Diamond by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and, as of 2016, has sold over 10 million copies in the US and over 20 million copies worldwide. Confessions had four consecutive Billboard Hot 100 number one singles—"Yeah!", "Burn", "Confessions Part II" and "My Boo". It won three Grammy Awards in 2005, including Best Contemporary R&B Album, Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal for "My Boo" and Best Rap/Sung Collaboration for "Yeah!"
In 2004, all 12 songs that topped the Billboard Hot 100 were African-American recording artists and accounted for 80% of the number-one R&B hits that year.Along with Usher's streak of singles, Top 40 radio and both pop and R&B charts were topped by Outkast's "Hey Ya!", Snoop Dogg's "Drop It Like It's Hot", Terror Squad's "Lean Back" and Ciara's "Goodies". Chris Molanphy of "The Village Voice" later remarked that "by the early 2000s, urban music "was" pop music."
Between 2005 and 2009 Raymond, Knowles and Keys released albums— B'Day , Here I Stand , I Am... Sasha Fierce and The Element of Freedom .
Mariah Carey's The Emancipation of Mimi (2005) debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 and earned ten Grammy Award nominations. Second single "We Belong Together" topped the Hot 100 charts for 14 weeks, and was later hailed "song of the decade" and won a Grammy Award for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance in 2006.
The mid-2000s came with the emergence of new R&B acts Ashanti, Keyshia Cole and Akon. Ashanti's eponymous debut album topped both US Billboard 200 and Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums charts. It earned her three Grammy nominations winning one for the Best Contemporary R&B Album. R&B newcomer Chris Brown released his self-titled album in 2005 which debuted at number two on the "Billboard" 200. His debut single "Run It!" peaked on the Billboard Hot 100, Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs and the US Radio Songs.
During this time also came the emergence of R&B songwriters.Bryan-Michael Cox co-wrote Usher's "Burn" and "Confessions Part II" (2005), Mariah Carey's "Shake It Off" and "Don't Forget About Us" (2006), and Chris Brown's "Say Goodbye" (2006). Keri Hilson would co-write songs Mary J. Blige's "Take Me as I Am" (2006), Omarion's "Ice Box" (2006), and Ciara's "Like a Boy" (2006). Rico Love co-wrote Usher's "Throwback" (2005), Keri Hilson's "Energy" (2008), Pleasure P's "Boyfriend #2" (2008). The-Dream wrote Rihanna's "Umbrella" (2007), J. Holiday's "Bed" and Usher's "Moving Mountains" and "Trading Places" (2008). Ne-Yo wrote Mario's "Let Me Love You", Rihanna's "Take a Bow" and "Unfaithful", and Beyoncé's "Irreplaceable" (2006).
According to Billboard , the most commercially successful R&B acts of the decade were Usher, Alicia Keys, Beyoncé, Mariah Carey, Rihanna, Chris Brown and Ne-Yo.
Continuing from the 1990s and 2000s, R&B, like many other genres, drew influences from the technical innovations of the time and began to incorporate more electronic and machine-made sounds and instruments. The use of effects such as Auto-Tune and new computerized synths have given R&B a more futuristic feel while still attempting to incorporate many of the genre's common themes such as love and relationships.
Early 2010s artists such as Kelly Rowland, Ne-Yo, Usher, and Chris Brown began embracing new electronic influences while still keeping R&B's original feel. Kelly Rowland's "Commander",Usher's "OMG", "DJ Got Us Fallin' in Love", "Scream" and "Climax", Chris Brown's "Yeah 3x", "Turn Up the Music" and "Don't Wake Me Up" are all EDM-oriented. As this electronic element continues to grow apparent throughout the genre, contemporary artists like are gaining popularity outside of R&B and continue to collaborate with non-R&B artists.
Singers Miguel, John Legend and Jeremih are popular in mainstream hip hop for many collaborations with rappers such as Wale, Rick Ross and J. Cole. Today's R&B is far more diverse and incorporates more sonic elements than before, as it expands its appeal and commercial viability.Trap music's influence maintained a strong presence on the music charts with R&B singer Beyoncé's songs "Drunk in Love", "Flawless" and "7/11", Bryson Tiller's debut studio album, Trapsoul and Mary J. Blige's "Thick of It".
Latin R&B is gaining ground since the wave of artists began mixing trap with that sound in the middle of this decade.Spanish-language singles by Alex Rose, Rauw Alejandro and Paloma Mami, which borrow shrewdly from R&B, are captivating a global audience. In Latin America, the genre became popular with Alex Rose's "Toda", and Sech's "Otro Trago".
Mariah Carey is an American singer, songwriter, actress, and record producer. Known for her five-octave vocal range, melismatic singing style, and signature use of the whistle register, she is referred to as the "Songbird Supreme" and the "Queen of Christmas". Carey rose to fame in 1990 with her eponymous debut album. She was the first artist to have her first five singles reach number one on the Billboard Hot 100, from "Vision of Love" to "Emotions".
Mary Jane Blige is an American singer, songwriter and actress. Her career began in 1991 when she was signed to Uptown Records. She went on to release 13 studio albums, eight of which have achieved multi-platinum certifications. Often referred to as the "Queen of Hip-Hop Soul", Blige has won nine Grammy Awards, four American Music Awards, and twelve Billboard Music Awards. She has been nominated for three Golden Globe Awards and two Academy Awards, including one for her supporting role in the film Mudbound (2017) and another for its original song "Mighty River", becoming the first person nominated for acting and songwriting in the same year.
The Neptunes are an American production and songwriting duo composed of Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo, formed in Virginia Beach, Virginia in 1990. Williams often provides additional vocals on records and appears in the duo's music videos, while Hugo tends to stay behind the scenes.
Jermaine Dupri Mauldin is an American record producer, songwriter, rapper, entrepreneur, and DJ. He was born in and was raised in Atlanta, Georgia. He has worked with and produced for Usher, Migos, Ludacris, Jagged Edge and Mariah Carey.
James Samuel "Jimmy Jam" Harris III and Terry Steven Lewis are an American R&B/pop songwriting and record production team. They have enjoyed great success since the 1980s with various artists, most notably Janet Jackson. They have written 31 top ten hits in the UK and 41 in the US.
Christopher Alan "Tricky" Stewart is an American record producer, record executive, songwriter, and music publisher. In a career spanning over 30 years, Stewart has won 5 Grammys and is responsible for over 50 million records sold. He is noted for producing many hip hop, R&B and pop chart topping singles, often with The-Dream. Some of Stewart's record breaking singles are: Britney Spears' "Me Against the Music" (2003), Beyoncé's "Single Ladies " (2008), Rihanna's "Umbrella" (2007), Justin Bieber's "One Time" (2009) and "Baby" (2010), Mary J. Blige's "Just Fine" (2007), Mariah Carey's "Touch My Body" (2008) and "Obsessed" (2009), Ciara's "Ride" (2010), Mýa's "Case of the Ex" (2000), Karina Pasian's "16 @ War" (2008), and Nicole Scherzinger's "Your Love" (2014).
Johntá Austin is an American singer-songwriter, arranger, producer, vocalist and rapper, signed to Jermaine Dupri's So So Def Recordings. He is known for collaborating with producers Bryan-Michael Cox, Jermaine Dupri and the production duo StarGate. He was awarded two Grammy Awards for his work on the songs "We Belong Together" by Mariah Carey and "Be Without You" by Mary J. Blige.
Bryan-Michael Paul Cox is an American record producer and songwriter who is notable for his extensive work with multiple platinum-selling artists including Usher, Mariah Carey, Mary J. Blige, and Toni Braxton. Among his most notable productions are "Be Without You" for Mary J. Blige, "Burn", "Confessions Part II" and "U Got It Bad" for Usher, and "Shake It Off", "I Stay In Love" and "You Don't Know What To Do" for Mariah Carey.
R&B/Hip-Hop Airplay is a chart published by Billboard magazine that ranks the top R&B and hip hop songs in the United States, based on audience impressions from a panel of radio stations monitored by Nielsen Broadcast Data Systems. It was also used in sister publication R&R, which listed the chart as Urban National Airplay. The chart is not the R&B/hip-hop subset of the Hot 100 Airplay chart, but rather uses a separate panel of R&B stations in urban and urban adult contemporary markets. It was the primary airplay component chart of the US Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart until the issue dated October 20, 2012, when Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs was revamped to include digital sales, streaming, and airplay from all radio formats. The Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Airplay chart encompasses two separate airplay charts, both of which are based on radio spins rather than audience impressions: Mainstream R&B/Hip-Hop and Adult R&B Airplay, which measure airplay on urban contemporary and urban adult contemporary stations respectively.
Richard Preston Butler Jr., better known by his stage name Rico Love, is an American rapper, singer, songwriter, and record producer. He was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, but split his childhood between Milwaukee, Wisconsin and New York City's Harlem neighborhood. He attended Florida A&M and, while visiting Atlanta, Georgia, worked his way into the music industry through connections with Usher, who would become one of Love's frequent collaborators.
"Mine Again" is a song by American singer and songwriter Mariah Carey, from her tenth studio album The Emancipation of Mimi (2005). It was co-written and co-produced by Carey and James Poyser. It was recorded at MSR Studios and Honeywest Studios, both located New York City. It is a R&B and soul inspired ballad. The lyrics revolve around the protagonist wishing for a second chance at a seemingly failed relationship. The song garnered positive reviews from music critics, praising Carey and Poyser's production and her vocal performance. Upon the release of The Emancipation of Mimi, "Mine Again" debuted on the US Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart at number 82, and reached a peak of number 73. In 2006, it was nominated for the Best Traditional R&B Performance at the Grammy Awards.
The Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart ranks the most popular R&B and hip hop songs in the United States and is published weekly by Billboard. Rankings are based on a measure of radio airplay, sales data, and streaming activity. The chart had 100 positions but was shortened to 50 positions in October 2012.
Thaddis Laphonia "Kuk" Harrell is an American songwriter, vocal producer, arranger and engineer. He was a member of a songwriting–production team composed of himself, Christopher "Tricky" Stewart and Terius "The Dream" Nash. In 2011, Kuk Harrell and partner Tricky Stewart joined the ranks of Fox's American Idol along with music mogul Jimmy Iovine, producing many of the songs performed on television by the contestants and released via iTunes. 2011 marked the highly anticipated return of Jennifer Lopez and her album LOVE? in which Kuk served as Album Vocal Producer. Earning his fourth Grammy for the vocal production of Rihanna's No. 1 Billboard Single "Only Girl ", Harrell is also the vocal producer and co-writer of Rihanna's Grammy-winning single "Umbrella". A composer and engineer on Beyoncé's chart topping "Single Ladies " from the album I Am... Sasha Fierce, he is also vocal producer and engineer of the Diane Warren-penned "I Was Here" from Beyoncé's 2011 album 4. He also produced the majority of the vocals on Mary J. Blige's Platinum album Growing Pains, which won the 2008 Grammy for Best Contemporary R&B Album. The first single from Growing Pains, "Just Fine", earned a Grammy nomination for best R&B vocal performance in 2007.
"Love in This Club Part II" is a song recorded by American R&B singer Usher, and features rapper Lil Wayne and fellow singer Beyoncé. "Love in This Club Part II" was released by LaFace Records on April 28, 2008, as the second single from Usher's fifth studio album, Here I Stand (2008). It is a sequel to the album's lead single "Love in This Club" which features Young Jeezy. Originally, vocalist Mariah Carey and rapper Plies were intended to feature on the record. Usher acclaimed the additions of Beyoncé and Wayne, and called it "a really special record". Produced by Soundz, the track samples the 1971 song "You Are Everything" by the Stylistics.
Stargate is a record producing and songwriting team composed of Tor E. Hermansen and Mikkel S. Eriksen, based in Los Angeles. The team's genres include R&B, pop and hip hop. Stargate was established in Trondheim, Norway.
A Mary Christmas is the eleventh studio album and first Christmas album by American R&B recording artist Mary J. Blige. It was released on October 15, 2013, by Matriarch, Interscope and Verve Records. The album was primarily produced by David Foster, and features guest appearances from Barbra Streisand, Chris Botti, Jessie J, The Clark Sisters, and Marc Anthony.
Paul Boutin is a French-born American music mixer, audio engineer and a long-time collaborator with producer/songwriter/artist Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds.
The singles discography of American rapper Jay-Z consists of 68 singles as a lead artist, and 51 singles as a featured artist, as well as 14 promotional singles.
"Somewhat Loved " is a song by American R&B production duo Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis featuring American singer-songwriter Mariah Carey, for their debut studio album Jam & Lewis: Volume One (2021). It was released as the album's third single on June 10, 2021. The song peaked at number nine on the US Adult R&B Songs chart, and number 30 on the US R&B/Hip-Hop Airplay chart.