Over To You: What Is “Real” R&B Nowadays?

Phil Morse | Read time: < 1 min
music genres R&B rhythm & blues
Last updated 30 August, 2017

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R&B is as old as the hills, but the meaning of the genre has changed a lot over the years, causing confusion among DJs and listeners alike…

Digital DJ Tips forum member Paul Stubbings writes in with a music question. He says: “I’ve noticed a vast difference in what people call RnB these days. If someone came to you and asked you to play some of your favourite RnB tracks, what would you play?”

Digital DJ Tips says:

Rhythm and blues goes back decades, to Fats Domino, Ray Charles, Bo Diddley and so on (my Dad has them all!). You’re obviously referring to “modern” R&B though, which is of course more influenced by soul, funk, pop and hip hop. Both genres are linked as having always been marketed mainly at a black, urban demographic – although of course the popularity of R&B reaches far wider than that.

I know what I personally think modern R&B is, but this site is really musically very neutral, so rather than break that “unwritten rule”, I’d like to throw this one over to our audience members, many of whom will have much better ideas than me.

So, where you are in the world, what is meant by “R&B”? Please help Paul out by letting us have your thoughts in the comments.

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