‘Love’ Music: The Return of Rhythm and Blues

Courtesy of philadelphia.cbslocal.com
Courtesy of philadelphia.cbslocal.com

For almost a decade, the R ‘n’ B genre has been washed over with hip hop and commercial pop music masquerading as the real thing. The music industry as a whole has often up played the popular genres as a means to accumulate more income for both the major companies and its artists. There was a time however when Rhythm and Blues was the second most popular genre in not only America but the world. Coming second only to Rock, Rhythm and Blues was the “it” thing to listen to. As a result of this industry turn, artists who originally identified themselves with R ‘n’ B were forced to change genres in order to continue making music. This misplacement was the start of the “cross-over” age.

At the beginning of the new millennium (the year 2000), R ‘n’ B artists were only able to remain relevant in the industry if they did features on hip hop songs. The problem with this was that their albums did not reflect the music in which they featured, and therefore did not sell. It didn’t take long for labels in the industry to catch-on as they warned artists to “cross-over” or find another label. This change ultimately left R ‘n’ B fans uneasy, and they longed for what would soon be referred to as “love“.

In 2011, legends of R ‘n’ B teamed up for the Bring Back the Love Tour. Artist K-Ci & Jojo was the first to join the roster. Later the duo was joined by Case, SWV, Next and Dru Hill. Before labels could get a heads up, concert tickets were sold out around the country. The trend #bringbackthelove went viral on the internet as a testament to the concert and the nationwide love of R ‘n’ B music. The single tour became a series of tours that would travel around the country for three years.

This year the announcement of new albums coming from the likes of Boys II Men and Jagged Edge was no shock. Labels go where the money is, and apparently it’s with Babyface and Toni Braxton‘s collaborative album Love, Marriage & Divorce which was the first true R ‘n’ B album to release in 2014. To come next is Boys II Men’s Collide on October 21st followed by Jagged Edge’s JE Heartbreak II on October 27th. With the new album Heaven’s Door by Case and Next over Nothing by the band Next still in the making with release dates TBD, it’s safe to say the “love” is back.

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