There's a lot of directions this can go, right?
- Old folks just hatin.
- These new kids suck and just don't wanna know about how to make 'good music'.
- The old folks didn't guide the kids so here we are.
- We didn't appreciate the king shit artists we got handed to us in the 90s so fight wolks did what they do and now here we are.
- Wait up Puff! Didn't YOU help help weld hiphop and R&B together? And then it REALLY got melted into one another when rappers got tired of paying for hooks and said 'fuck it, I'll do my own hook, son!'? And singers said 'oh really!? Well, I'll do my own rapped verse too' and its kinda been screwed up ever since once rap took over and singers had to decide how they were going to survive?
- Radio!? Who is still waiting for the radio to tell them who to listen to!?
Maybe the 'radio!?' angle is the most useful one to take? Maybe?
Because there IS something to say for radio not being the center/base anymore for basically anyone. Your search and listening history are in charge now.
If we go back to even to like 1997, radio formats were OBVIOUSLY super repetitive and limited to certain acts and 'categories' of music even within the hiphop and R&B spaces. And they were OBVIOUSLY 'missing stuff'. And nonchalantly so. And those mfers didn't listen when people tried to tell them.
But oops..technology intervened and made it a lot easier for people to go their own way. Napster. Computers. CD burners. Around this time, I was well on MY way to abandoning radio altogether. Personally, I was already drifting away when I started having enough money to buy tapes and CDs of my own instead of just rolling with what my parents had.
Then, artists (even some of the popular ones) were OPENLY hating on the concept of how the radio setup worked. Saying it on songs, in interviews, and all of that. JayZ. Outkast. Little Brother. The retro/soul folks. Just saying out loud 'hey, you radio people are full of shit. You're not playing the best stuff, you're not TRYING to play the best stuff. And we're trying to figure out how to go around you so that people can get these jams'. Then that magic carpet kept growing until where it is now, right?
Once we got to streaming music and faster cell phone connections shiiiiiiiiiiid..who tf needs the radio? Artists don't need it to get by. Labels can go around the radio and don't have to play the game the same way. Big artists with large fanbases can skip major chunks of the 'putting out a record' process altogether. Even smaller artists who have THEIR fans can make money off of shows, gear, vinyl and all of that.
Now? The average person is ALMOST their own DJ all day long every day. There ARE the algos. But still, if an algorithm doesn't lay something at your feet at the right time AND you're not one for exploration, you might never hear anything other than the stuff you always hear.
I don't dare claim to have all of the answers. For my music: I come here. I ask my old azz friends. I try to hit play on random stuff every now and then. EVERY NOW AND THEN, I'll let Youtube music run wild and play random songs after its done with one of my playlists. I flip to BET Jams and whatever the more subdued version of that channel is. If I here Migos-style rapping, I turn the fuck out of the channel. Otherwise, I'll listen. My wife listens to top whatever pop radio so I get that stuff when I'm riding with her until I hear the same song 2x in a 30 minute span and request NPR or some device.
And the whole 'trap' thing? And the Weeknd/Drake/brooding and moody stuff? Yeah, I hear how that could be a problem. But I wish someone would try to talk me into not liking this:
Shiiiiiiiiiiid, I'm old but I know 'energy' when I hear it. And he FUCKING MEANT EVERY WORD OF THAT SHIT. It ain't his fault that a bunch of people are trying to replicate it with far lesser results and more fraudulent energy behind it.
>I famously asserted the only reason people claim "Break my
>soul" is just a great hit ("Song of the summer" over "about
>damn time"?) is because folks are just tired of R&B being dead
>(the post I made that claim was deleted)
>People are so tired of R&B radio playing trap-like sounds
>people happy for something not dead like trap-r&b, trap
>Folks just ain't getting no life anymore from trap-R&B, trap
>And...it seems that the Black community has no center so we
>can't tell what the people really like other than trap R&B or
>It seems radio (like Mary J Blige said) has died so...the
>Black community has no "center" (Radio was "galvanizing" to
>the Black Community for as long as I was alive) to say what we
>really like...except the fumes of trap R&B and trap hip-hop.
>Diddy Responds To Backlash On His “R&B Is Dead” Comments
>Jaelani Turner-Williams is a contributing news writer for
>with bylines at Billboard, MTV News, NYLON, Recording Academy
>and more. Read her mind on Twitter at @hernameisjae.
>After proclaiming that ‘R&B is dead’, Diddy responded to
>backlash of his statement, saying that he wanted to “bring
>attention” to the genre.
>Diddy is facing the music after claiming that “R&B is
>dead.” During an Instagram Live session with Timbaland last
>week, the Bad Boy Records and Love Records founder claimed
>that the genre was becoming endangered.
>“The R&B I made my babies to? R&B gotta be judged to a
>certain thing — it’s the feeling though, doggy. No, no,
>no. It’s a feeling,” Diddy said during the livestream.
>“You gotta be able to sing for R&B and then you gotta tell
>the truth. R&B is not a hustle. This shit is about feeling
>Diddy continued, “You gotta muthafuckas make a nigga dick
>hard or a woman’s vagina wet. You gotta cry. You gotta be
>able to get your girl back. I don’t wanna hear all this
>bitchass It’s our fault for accepting anything less
>for anybody getting on a mic. I feel like there was a death of
>R&B singing, and I’m a part of bringing that shit back! I
>ain’t feelin’ no emotions.”
>On Saturday (August 20), he went to Twitter to clarify his
>This conversation was out of love and me purposely wanting to
>bring attention to R&B! It was something that I saw the effect
>of the Hip hop and R&B balance. That balance is honesty and
>realness when it comes together, melodies, vulnerability and
>most importantly LOVE!!!
>1:04 PM · Aug 20, 2022·Twitter for iPhone
>This message is that R&B game needs more love, vulnerability,
>Also joining an Instagram Live session with the Bad Boy
>Records founder was Mary J. Blige who shared that R&B gets
>dubbed as “popular music” when white vocalists like Adele
>and Justin Bieber “get a hold of it.”
>Contemporary R&B singers like Arin Ray and Brent Faiyaz jumped
>into the ‘R&B’ is dead conversation on Twitter with their
>these old heads need to stop and just admit that THEY ain’t
>got it no more.
>you’re washed. not r&b.
>Diddy’s clarification comes days after announcing that
>he’d be joining Jermaine Dupri for a hit-for-hit music
>battle in Atlanta. In the style of Verzuz, the battle will not
>be a Verzuz exclusive amid Swizz Beatz’s and Timbaland’s
>$28 million lawsuit against Triller.
>Mary J. Blige On R&B Becoming "Popular" When Adele Puts Out A
>Song From The Genre
>The R&B icon responded to the “Who killed R&B?” question
>that Diddy posed on social media.
>By Alexis Reese
>August 18, 2022/12:11 PM
>Mary J. Blige let her opinion known about the state of R&B
>after sitting down with DIddy in a candid conversation on the
>history behind the genre and how when new tracks are released,
>it is labeled as "popular."
>"Who killed R&B?" Diddy posted on his social media accounts
>before heading to his Instagram Live with Mary J. to have a
>“You can't kill something that's in our DNA,” said Blige.
>“It's gonna keep transitioning from generation to generation
>to generation to generation. They was trying to kill it.”
>She continued, “Before I say what I'm gonna say, let me just
>say this: I wanna thank all the radio stations around the
>country that are playing R&B music and sincerely support
>"But, you know, a lot of the radio stations killed it for the
>same thing that Tank was saying. They ain't gon' jump on the
>bandwagon of whatever the hottest things is—but, let me just
>say this. We have to keep ourselves alive as R&B singers," she
>added, referring to words expressed by Tank when he appeared
>on the Drink Champs podcast.
>Blige then gave out virtual flowers to some of the greats in
>the R&B genre Chaka Khan, Etta James, Sam Cooke, Aretha
>Franklin, Jazmine Sullivan, and SWV, before reiterating that
>these artists and their contributions to R&B can't be
>"They wanna call it 'Popular Music' with Adele and Justin
>Timberlake get ahold to it, so now it's 'Popular Music.' But
>it's been popular music! We've been had it!"
>Are those of us in the Diddy, MJB generation we just can't see
>that even though it seems that the Black community
>group/collective/"thrust" "faded" when radio just ran trap
>R&B/trap hip-hop INTO THE GROUND....the Black community DID
>SOMEHOW re-emerge (through Tik-tok, IG, Twitter, etc.) into
>something else Diddy, MJB and the rest of us Gen-X people JUST