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R’n’B - From Boogie Woogie and Rock’n’Roll to Crunk & B

R'n'B - Rhythm and Blues - The most popular style of music, is made up of a combination of soulful vocals and a strong backbeat, and was created by and for African Americans between 1945 and 1960. Well known hits by Usher, Boyz II Men or Mariah Carey demonstrate just how much emotion is captured by R'n'B music. But there’s more to R'n'B than that, for it also has an eventful past. Who would have thought that even the songs of Elvis Presley, The Who and The Rolling Stones once graced the R'n'B charts?

Classic R’n’B

The harbingers of R'n'B were jazz and blues, found in the cities of the United States during the early twentieth century, and well received among the growing African American population. In the late 40s this music was first marketed under the name "Blues and Rhythm". Early R'n'B stars managed to break away from the standard big band formation, and began to perform in smaller groups give more emphasis to the vocals and song structures of blues music. The saxophone and piano continued to play a distinctive part but it was the introduction of the electric and bass guitars that really increased the sound volume and intensity, making this style ideal for being played on the radio and on jukeboxes. This sound was coined by artists such as Louis Jordan ("Caldonia"), for example. In 1949, the Billboard Magazine introduced the term "Rhythm and Blues".

The way in which R’n’B and pop have in the meantime become interlocked can be heard most clearly since the end of the 90s thanks to the work of artists such as *NSYNC, Jennifer Lopez, and even Pink, Britney Spears and Gwen Stefani. In the 2000s, the coming together of hip hop and R'n'B was amplified so much so that the only stand out difference between the two was whether or not the lyrics were rapped or sung. In addition, many producers developed a specialized style of song production. Timbaland, for example, is famous for his hip hop and jungle based productions of the late 90s, for which he produced R'n'B hits for Aaliyah, Ginuwine and Missy Elliott. In the mid-2000s Lil'Jon coined the term Crunk & B, emphasising the influence of R’n’B on hip hop style Crunk. Ciara ("Goodies") and Usher ("Yeah") released songs of this kind. Just like other genres, the prominence of electronic music was felt by R’n’B from 2007 onwards. "Dance R'n'B" came into being, bringing fame and chart success to many of this subgenre’s artists, such as Rihanna, Chris Brown, Ne-Yo, Jason Derulo, Taio Cruz, Trey Songz and many others. It will most certainly be interesting to see how these artists and future artists of this genre will continue to shape this genre in the years to come.