Contemporary R&B: History and Artists

Contemporary R&B is a broad subgenre of contemporary music that originated in the late 1980s. The acronym R&B stands for “rhythm and blues”, the name of an earlier genre of popular music.

The term “contemporary R& B” refers to current mainstream music that draws upon this heritage and combines it with influences from pop, soul, hip hop, rock, funk, and other styles, depending on the artist.

What Is Contemporary R&B?

Contemporary R&B is a subgenre of hip hop, which began in the late ’60s. It was derived from gospel, jazz, and soul music. Its sound was characterized by sultry vocals, slick production, and a sense of sophistication. Modern artists are exploring their musical boundaries and incorporating new styles into the genre.

The genre’s origins are rooted in black communities in urban centers in the Northeast and Midwest. It’s closely tied to the Great Migration, a 50-year period starting in the 1910s, during which large segments of the black population fled the Jim Crow South and migrated to America’s largest urban areas.

They brought their culture and music with them, and the music genre was born. From there, R&B has evolved into a diverse and exciting musical style.

The term “contemporary R&B” is used to describe the style of music produced by artists who are not associated with the Rhythm and Blues era.

It’s not entirely separate from the Rhythm and Blues of the 1950s and ’60s. However, the latter term is also used to describe a genre that is more hip-hop in nature. Most artists today use the abbreviation “CRB”.

genre rnb

Contemporary R&B History and Origins

The development of the R&B style is closely related to the expansion of African American urban communities in twentieth-century cities, including Chicago, Detroit, and New York. In particular, the genre’s development was influenced by two large migration waves from the Southern United States.

From 1916 to 1920, the first wave brought many people to Southern California for jobs in the expanding defense industries. In the same decade, similar people made the journey to cities in the Midwest, Eastern U.S., and West.

The second wave of R&B emerged in the late 1970s. The early artists of this style were steeped in the blues and African American church music. The movement also brought a new sound from the southern United States to the North.

This genre has grown into an epoch of musical diversity, with hip-hop and Brazilian Indie becoming significant influences despite the name. But the roots of R&B can’t be traced to a single era.

The roots of R&B can be traced back to the late disco era. Quincy Jones‘s album of the same name shaped the style’s smooth sound. In the late 1970s, hip hop had a more significant impact on the genre, transforming the sound and incorporating rapping.

For example, the New Jack Swing was an example of the influx of hip hop influences into R&B. This new style brought in a whole new generation of producers and singers.

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Types of Contemporary R&B

There are many types of contemporary R&B music. It had become a significant trend in modern pop music. The most popular type is a hip hop. Its sound is more electronic and more mainstream than ever before. However, there are several genres of R&B. You’ll need to know what each genre is and how it differs from one another. This article will explain each of them.

Hip-hop has been a significant influence in the development of R&B. Some early styles incorporated rock, jazz, and classical music. But recently, the genre has shifted to the contemporary era. The best examples are Drake and Rihanna, who won Grammy Awards in 2016.

In the same way, other artists have made their mark on this genre, but with a different approach. Here are some of the most popular styles of contemporary R&B.

The soul is an incredibly influential genre within contemporary R&B. This music style is more mature than before. The teen heartthrob has given way to tattoos and street stories, which are a hallmark of contemporary R&B.

While the genre remains the most effective form of modern R&B, it is increasingly becoming more eclectic, as the sound has evolved over the years. And the style’s influence isn’t only limited to hip hop.

Contemporary R&B Artists

In the 1940s, R&B was a music genre dominated by rap and soul. The genre was influential on other genres, including disco and funk. Nevertheless, most contemporary R&B artists hail from the Anglophone world. But its influence is worldwide. Today, it has spread into various styles, spanning genres like Afro beats and Reggaeton.

The contemporary genre R&B is a smooth pop music style centered around the vocalist. It also has hip hop, funk, and soul elements that set it apart from the original rhythm and blues from the 50s and 60s.

Examples of artists who have influenced the genre include Lauryn Hill and Frank Ocean. The genre has evolved a lot since its origins in post-war America.

Despite the popularity of contemporary R&B, the genre’s roots lie in the black communities of large metropolitan areas in the Midwest and Northeast. This style is intrinsically linked to pop music’s evolution, which is one of the most popular genres in the world.

While contemporary R&B uses many of the same elements from previous styles of music, it often adheres to the same songwriting formula as pop music. Typically, a song’s lyrics deal with love and relationships.


Contemporary R&B has an interesting history, following a path from its roots in gospel, soul, and funk to the pop and hip-hop sound of today. The genre is a combination of various musical styles, mixing upbeat rhythms and singing with strong vocals for an overall soulful experience.

Contemporary R&B has also influenced other genres of music, including hip-hop. With its roots in blues, gospel, soul, and funk, Contemporary R&B is a blend of many sounds and styles that are sure to keep your mind engaged as you listen. With so many varied artists out there composing music in this genre today, it’s pretty safe to say that the future of this genre will be just as fascinating as its past!