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
"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
To start off, most of what you consider "r&b" today is not r&b, but hip-hop, there's a difference. R&B originated in the 60s, and still exists today, despite what people say, in good form. However in the 70's, much R&B took a funk-style twist to it.

It usually has mellow or laid back beats and rhytms to it, and quality vocals for the most part.
1) Hey let's listen to some motown, classic 60's R&B!

2) Hey let's listen to some Isley Bros., some good 70's R&B!

3) Hey let's listen to some various artists, true 80's R&B!

4) Hey how about some Aaliyah for some great 90's R&B!

5) Hey how about some Foxy Brown for some good modern R&B!
by thndrhawk November 9, 2004
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
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
Originally used to class music as "Rhythm And Blues", it has evolved to become a mix of different styles of music, such as hip hop, pop and crunk, over a (hopefully) wicked enjoyable beat. Quite easy to enjoy and dance to.
R & B can range from "Waterfalls" by TLC (often called 'old skool rnb) to "Golddigger" by Kyne West to pretty much anything from Outkast, etc.
by Kitastrophe December 28, 2005