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RnB Kid
RnB Kid

Contemporary R&B (also known as RnB) is a music genre of western popular music. Although the acronym “R&B” originates from its association with traditional rhythm and blues music, the term R&B is today most often used to define a style of African American music originating after the demise of disco in the 1980s. This newer style combines elements of soul, funk, dance, and, from 1986 on with the advent of New Jack Swing branded R&B, hip hop.

The abbreviation R&B is almost always used instead of the full rhythm and blues term, although some sources refer to the style as urban contemporary (the name of the radio format that plays hip hop and contemporary R&B).

Contemporary R&B has a slick, electronic record production style, drum machine-backed rhythms, the occasional guitar riff to give the song a rock feel, the occasional saxophone solo to give a jazz feel (mostly common in R&B songs prior to the year 1993), and a smooth, lush style of vocal arrangement. Uses of hip hop-inspired beats are typical, although the roughness and grit inherent in hip hop is usually reduced and smoothed out. R&B vocalists are often known for their use of melisma, popularized by vocalists such as Whitney Houston, Stevie Wonder, Janet Jackson and Mariah Carey.

With the transition from soul and disco to R&B in the early to mid 1980s, new stars such as Prince and Michael Jackson rose in pop. Jackson's Thriller re-popularized black music with pop audiences after a post-disco backlash among United States mainstream audiences.

Female R&B singers such as Whitney Houston and Janet Jackson became very popular during the second half of the 1980s, and Tina Turner came back with a series of hits with crossover appeal. Richard J. Ripani observed in his book, The New Blue Music: Changes in Rhythm & Blues, 1950-1999 (2006), that Jackson's third studio album Control (1986) and fourth studio album Janet Jackson's Rhythm Nation 1814 contributed to the development of contemporary R&B, as Control "was one of the first to create an identifiable bridge between rap and mainstream R&B" and Rhythm Nation 1814 (1989) "[made] use of elements from across the R&B spectrum." Jackson 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." Also popular was New Edition, a group of teenagers who served as the prototype for later boy bands.

In 1986, Teddy Riley began producing R&B recordings that included influences from the increasingly popular genre of hip hop. This combination of R&B style and hip hop rhythms was termed new jack swing, and was applied to artists such as Keith Sweat, Guy, Jodeci, Bell Biv DeVoe, and the popular late 1980s/early 1990s work of Michael Jackson. Another popular, but short-lived group (with more pronounced R&B roots) was Levert. In the late 1980s, George Michael became one of Britain's best-known Contemporary R&B musicians. His debut album Faith went to the top of the R&B album chart in the US, making him the first white artist to achieve this honor. Faith produced a number of chart-topping singles, including a U.S. R&B number-one hit. The album also won several music award including the Grammy Award for Album of the Year. Michael Jackson remained a prominent figure in the genre, following the release of his album Bad which sold 30 million copies.

During the early 1990s, new jack swing/R&B group Boyz II Men, the most successful R&B male vocal group of all time, re-popularized classic soul-inspired vocal harmonies. Michael Jackson also incorporated new jack swing into his 1991 album Dangerous, with sales of 32 million copies it is a prominent example of the genre attracting mainstream notoriety. Several similar groups (such as Shai, Soul for Real, Az Yet, All-4-One, and Dru Hill) followed in their footsteps. Boyz II Men and several of their competitors benefited from producers such as Babyface and Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis. As a solo artist, Babyface and contemporaries such as Brian McKnight eschewed prominent hip hop influences, and recorded in a smooth, soft style of R&B.

In contrast to the works of Boyz II Men, Babyface and similar artists, other R&B artists from this same period began adding even more of a hip hop sound to their work. The synthesizer-heavy rhythm tracks of new jack swing was replaced by grittier East Coast hip hop-inspired backing tracks, resulting in a genre labeled hip hop soul by producer Sean Combs. Hip hop soul artists such as Mary J. Blige, Jodeci, R. Kelly, Monica, Brandy, Ginuwine, Usher and Aaliyah brought more of hip hop slang, suggestive or explicitly sexual lyrics, style, and attitude to R&B music. This subgenre includes a heavy gospel influence in terms of vocal inflections and sounds. The style became less popular by the end of the 1990s, but later experienced a resurgence.

During the mid 1990s, Janet Jackson, Mariah Carey, girl groups TLC and SWV and Boyz II Men brought contemporary R&B to the mainstream. Jackson's self-titled fifth studio album janet. (1993), which came after her historic multi-million dollar contract with Virgin Records sold over ten million copies worldwide. Boyz II Men and Mariah Carey recorded several Billboard Hot 100 number-one hits, including "One Sweet Day", a collaboration between both acts which became the longest-running number-one hit in Hot 100 history. Mariah Carey, Boyz II Men and TLC released albums in 1994 and 1995—Daydream, II , and CrazySexyCool respectively — that sold over ten million copies, earning them diamond RIAA certification. Other top-selling R&B artists from this era included Vanessa L. Williams,Toni Braxton, Ginuwine, Mary J. Blige, Brandy, Monica, Mya, Aaliyah, Usher and R. Kelly, and groups En Vogue, BLACKstreet, Salt-N-Pepa, SWV, Jodeci/K-Ci & JoJo and Destiny's Child.

In the late 1990s, neo soul (which added 1970s soul influences to the hip hop soul blend) arose, led by artists such as D'Angelo, Erykah Badu, Lauryn Hill, and Maxwell. Artists such as Lauryn Hill and Missy Elliott further blurred the line between R&B and hip hop by recording both styles. As 1999 ended, Billboard magazine ranked Mariah Carey and Janet Jackson as the first and second most successful artists of the 1990s.

Soulful R&B continues to be popular, with artists such as Rihanna, who continues to fuse R&B vocals with music from different genres.

RnB fashion tends to be very 'glam', with colors such as gold or bronze. Women often wear glittery dresses. Male RnB singers often do the full suit thing, think Ne-yo. Casual fans, of course, don't, and usually dress in jeans, denim jackets, RnB-ish t-shirts, those weird retro-style caps (with the shiny bits) and trainers, with minimal gold jewellery.

Info -save for the last paragraph, which is mine- from wikipedia, image by me.

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