Rhythm and Blues music, or R&B music, was originally termed "race music" and basically included any form of music intended for black audiences. A combination of jazz, gospel, and blues, the term "R&B" was originally coined in the late 1940’s in the United States to be used as a less offensive marketing term. While R&B music has evolved over the years to spawn contemporary genres of R&B sounds, the original genre focused on boogie rhythms and included such famous acts as Bo Diddley and Chuck Berry. The end of World War II produced a surprising call for race music, and the R&B music genre took off as a result. Today’s contemporary R&B music has a distinctly different sound than its forebears, focusing on pop beats and culture rather than the blues, gospel and jazz sounds of previous generations (though those elements are still sometimes present). In the late 1940’s and into the fifties, R&B groups consisted of brass instruments and woodwinds, as well as drums, piano and vocals. These elements were common in jazz bands, but R&B musicians produced a heavier sound with a steady beat. As the fifties progressed, the genre became notable for its sexually suggestive lyrics and provocative dancing associated with it.
R&B: Marvin Gaye, Sam Cooke, Earth Wind and Fire, The Five Stairsteps, Lenny Williams, Donny Hathaway, The Isley Brothers, R. Kelly, Nate Dogg, Usher, Dwele, Alicia Keys, Tyrese, Robin Thicke, Joss Stone, Carl Carlton, Bootsy Collins, Chuckii Booker, Kem, Floetry, Sade, Eric Roberson, Gerald Levert, Teena Marie, Silk, Chaka Khan, Jennifer Hudson, Jean Knight, Alfonzo Hunter, After 7, Atlantic Starr, The O' Jays, Percy Sledge, Don Covay, Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes, Corinne Bailey Rae, Luther Vandross, Kenny Lattimore, Smokey Robinson, Anita Baker, Aretha Franklin, Brenda Holloway, Ciara, Beyonce, Aaliyah, En Vogue, Ginuwine, TLC, Jagged Edge, Boyz II Men, Shalamar, Ne-Yo, Trey Songz, Sly & The Family Stone, Omarion, J. Holiday, Raheem DeVaughn, Tank, Jon B., Ray Charles, Blackstreet, Joe, John Legend, Anthony Hamilton, Lyfe Jennings, Raphael Saadiq, Ryan Leslie, Ledisi, Paula Campbell, Adriana Evans, Nneka, Kindred The Family Soul, Keyshia Cole, Lloyd, Musiq Soulchild, Brian McKnight, Keith Sweat, Jodeci, Leon Haywood, Changing Faces, Avant, Brownstone, Barry White, Mario, Curtis Mayfield, The Four Tops, The Supremes, Bell Biv DeVoe, Jamiroquai, The Impressions, Diana Ross, Lauryn Hill, Al Green, Teddy Pendergrass, Ben E. King, Bill Withers, Isaac Hayes, Carl Thomas, Dru Hill, The Brothers Johnson, Bobby Valentino, PJ Morton, Steve Arrington, The Dream, Keri Hilson, Erykah Badu, Loose Ends, Montell Jordan, I-15, Ray J, and Gnarls Barkley.
by ♫ Highway to Hell ♫ June 28, 2010
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"Rhythm and blues" - upbeat, funky music that started in the 60s with the Motown era. Has really gone downhill since then.
Ashanti, Destiny's Child... where has the LIFE gone?
by Alianne September 13, 2003
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Like all genres of music, it used to be a pretty decent genre of music. It actually have some heart and soul into it and it was about problems you can relate to. And it also had an actually blues influence in it with the improvisation on the piano and some jazz and gospel influences as well.

Now R&B is this over saturated stuff that only have about 3 artists that matter - t pain, akon, and the dream and they sing about the same thing.
R&B music back then: Oh baby I really shouldn't up broke with you, I suffered the consequences. I am feeling so bad and I am feeling full of regrets.

R&B now - Shawty damn she's fly, damn she's hot, I wanna fuck her all night long AYYYYYY

Decent current R&B - Mariah Carey, Amerie, Charlie Wilson, etc.
by Kyle 230 July 27, 2009
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Rhythm & Blues, a music genre originating in the late 40's.

Today's popular music, like Destiny's Child and Mariah Carey, is actually NOT R&B. It's hip-hop and some nuthead decided to call it R&B. The real R&B artists are very annoyed by this.
What they call R&B today has nothing to do with original R&B, it's just pop music, says Irma Thomas, legendary R&B singer.
by Mr. British July 18, 2006
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Rythmn and Blues. Played by good old time bands for a knees up and sing song. A wide variety of styles encompasing many singable hits.
by Gav August 5, 2003
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R&B is the genre for music that combined elements of blues with jazz or soul. Abbr. for "Rhythm & Blues".

Before R&B was commercialized and mixed with hip-hop, it was music of the likes of Marvin Gaye, The Isley Brothers, Phyllis Hyman, Minnie Rippington, and more current examples India Arie, Jill Scott, Maxwell, etc. Modern R&B like Jill Scott and Maxwell is usually called "Neo-Soul" which is considered a bastardized term for R&B. Honestly, many artists considered neo-soul (i.e. Dwele, Musiq Soulchild) are actually real modern R&B.

While authentic R&B contains deep lyrics, especially Afrocentric experiences of love, relationships, cultures, politics, etc, mainstream "R&B" tends to focus on sappy love themes, sex, and hip-hop lifestyles.
Maxwell, Dwele, Musiq, and India.Arie are real examples of modern R&B.

Alicia Keys, Bobby Valentino, Mariah Carey, and Keyshia Cole are NOT authentic modern versions of R&B but instead commercialized types of R&B/hip-hop made to please the mainstream palate.
by twistedbabydoll September 21, 2009
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In broad terms, the R&B genre, as with any genre of music, is a set of elemental ideas pertaining to culture, instrumentation, melody and groove, that show it to be an expression in its own right. R&B could be basically described as soulful. However, artists of a particular genre have their own unique style or way of expressing these ideas, and contemporary R&B artists incorporate elements or collaborate with artists from different genres such as Hip Hop. And why not? Genres such as pop, urban, R&B, Hip Hop or Funk are all related by that superordinate element... popular!
Alicia Keys is an R&B artist who combines elements from the Soul genre into her style to emphasis the emotion she feels when she performs. The Alicia Keys style would have matured through the process of improvisation, which is commonly used by R&B artists, either whilst performing or during songwriting.
by R Jackson January 6, 2006
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