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History of Black R&B

  • R&B Music Spreading

    R&B Music Spreading
    R&B music explodes in urban centers like New York, Chicago, Detroit, Philadelphia, and Los Angeles. This increased Black American presence due to the Great Depression.
  • Blues and Rhythm

    Blues and Rhythm
    RCA Victor records began using "blues and rhythm" music as a descriptor of African American secular songs. The migration of African Americans to urban centers in the Northeast and Midwest helped the music influence one another.
  • Sharing Characteristics

    Sharing Characteristics
    R&B still shared nearly all its musical characteristics with rock and roll, yet both genres took on racial connotations as a result of widespread segregation. Most black musicians playing songs with the same influences were branded R&B artists.
  • Ella Fitzgerald

    Ella Fitzgerald
    Ella Fitzgerald was the first Black artist to win a Grammy. During that time, music was divided into two categories-popular music and race music.
  • The Start of a Revolution

    The Start of a Revolution
    Billboard published the Hot R&B Sides chart ranking the top-performing songs in United States R&B and related African American oriented music genres. The chart undergone various name changes over the decades to reflect the evolution.
  • The Top 8

    The Top 8
    R&B was a greater medley soul, gospel, Afro beats, funk and disco. It held its place on the charts with Stevie Wonder, Diana Ross, Jackson 5, The O-Jays, The Four Tops, Barry White, Earth, Winds and Fire, The Spinners, and more.
  • Janet Jackson

    Janet Jackson
    Janet Jackson's album control was a landmark release in modern black music that forever changed the trajectory of R&B.
  • Janet's Come-up

    Janet's Come-up
    Her follow up, Janet Jackson's Rhythm Nation 1814, re-established her place among the elite in her field as the album produced hit after hit.
  • The Main Topics

    The Main Topics
    The debut album of TLC, the project from SWV, the Keith Sweat endorsed debut of Silk, Mary J. Blige and her classic debut made this a very solid year.
  • Lauryn Hill

    Lauryn Hill
    Hill released "The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill", her debut and only solo album. The album opens with audio of a school bell, and we hear conversations about love between the "students." every track ends with audio from one of these conversations, which describe the experience of love as Black woman.
  • Ne-Yo

    Ne-Yo has the longest standing career of relevancy of all R&B artists of the 2000's. He was known for hit songs like "So Sick", "Because of You", "Miss Independent", and "One in a Million". Ne-Yo was one of the leaders in R&B for multiple generations.
  • Usher's Record

    Usher's Record
    Confessions is the fourth studio studio album by singer-songwriter Usher. He has sold 10.3 million copies in the US and over 15 million copies worldwide making it the best-selling R&B album of the 21st century by a male artist.
  • Beyoncé Takes Control of History

    Beyoncé Takes Control of History
    Beyoncé makes history at the 52nd Annual Grammy Awards. She won the most awards by a female artist in one night; a total of six awards breaking the record.
  • Drake's Music Video

    Drake's Music Video
    The music video for "Hotline Bling," Drake's most popular visual effort ever, embraced retro monochromatic color schemes and the rapper's own dad-like dance moves.
  • Mary J. Blige

    Mary J. Blige
    Mary J. Blige released her album called "Good Morning Gorgeous." The album was released leading into her energetic Super Bowl halftime performance. Blige is a figure of inspiration, transformation and empowerment making her one of the defining voices of the contemporary music era.