Are and Be

Rhythm and Blues, also known as R&B, combines a strong back beat, soulful singing and over the years have had combined elements of: funk, pop, hip hop, gospel and electronic dance music. Going from the end of WW II and the early 1960s R&B was created by African American music and roots. Around 1946 the era of swing music was slowly fading, and there was then a demand for exciting music. This is where R&B comes along.


R&B still had the tempo and drive of blues-style songs and vocal structures, and instrument’s such as the piano and saxophones were still prominent. Over the years there has been an add on of instruments such as the electric guitar, drums, bass and many more.


The term Rhythm and Blues was created to replace the name “race music” which was used to associate with music made by people of color. There is, in fact, a meaning behind the name. “Rhythm” comes from the genres typical dependence of four-beat measures or bars, it also uses a back beat. “Blues” comes from the melodies and lyrics of the songs, some in which were often sad, or ‘blue’ during the WWII era.


During the 1950s many artists such as Ray Charles, Little Richard, and vocal groups such as the Drifters and the Coasters were well known R&B artist.


One of my all-time favorite songs that I enjoy and is to be an R&B song is “Blind Man” by Xavier Omar also known as SPZRKT. Omar says that, “This song expresses how someone’s spirit/soul can be just as, if not, more beautiful than their physical being.” This song is well recognized for its Hip Hop and R&B mixture along with the empowerment and respect for women that he tries to portray in his music that he soon hopes that people can make importance of. A along with Hip-Hop, Omar also uses Pop and Gospel in his music.


Over the years, many other genres such as Pop, Hip-Hop, Gospel and many more has intertwined with R&B to create different styles and combination of music which is known today as contemporary R&B. Many artists today such as Usher, Bryson Tiller, Kendrick Lamar, Rihanna, and Beyoncé all has mixed R&B with different genres.