Is RNB music Dead?


Hasn't time has flown? Is it now five years ago that the New York, Hip-Hop artist called Nas controversially proclaimed that ‘Hip-Hop was Dead’? Back in 2006,Nas bought forth an album that was titled “Hip-Hop is dead” which generated numerous column inches within many music magazines across the world.

In a number of Interviews that Nas took part in towards the ending of 2006. Nas mentioned those now famous 3 words.

In one of the first Interviews that took place with those words being mentioned was with the British Hip-Hop Dj and Radio music presenter called Tim Westwood. Nas explained within that interview that, “Hip-Hop is dead because we as artists no longer have the power”.

Also within another Interview that he attended, and this time it was with the MTV organistation. The date being 10th October 2006. Nas added here that, “When I say 'hip-hop is dead,' basically America is dead," he clarified. "There is no political voice. Music is dead. B2K is not New Edition. Chris Brown is great, I love Chris Brown, we need that, but Bobby Brown sticks in my heart. Our way of thinking is dead, our commerce is dead. Everything in this society has been done. It's like a slingshot, where you throw the mutha----a back and it starts losing speed and is about to fall down. That's where we are as a country.

"I don't wanna lose nobody with this, but what I mean by 'hip-hop is dead' is we're at a vulnerable state," he continued. "If we don't change, we gonna disappear like Rome. Let's break it down to a smaller situation. Hip-hop is Rome for the 'hood. I think hip-hop could help rebuild America, once hip-hoppers own hip-hop. ... We are our own politicians, our own government, we have something to say. We're warriors. Soldiers."


nas said that hip hop music was dead in 2006

Please read the whole interview via going to this website link - MTV Interview with Nas - 10th Oct 2006

As soon as those interview statements and album title went national within the USA. A number of other Hip-Hop artists had their own views on what Nashad said.

For instance, Ludricris a multi-million selling, Hip-Hop artist in his own right disagreed with Nas. In fact Ludacris wore a T-shirt that said, "Hip-Hop Ain't Dead, It Lives in the South," while performing at the BET Hip-Hop Awards in November 12, 2006 at the Fox Theatre in Atlanta, Georgia, Usa.

Ludricris went on to add, “I don't feel that hip-hop is dead. I feel like the South is keeping it alive. What we do is hip-hop. Some people may not feel that way. You gotta respect some people's opinion, but hey. You gotta stay to your opinion in the game."

“Ludricris is saying hip-hop is dead is basically "dissin' the South.

"Because the South is dominating it right now," Cris further explained. "Saying that hip-hop is dead is like saying the South is dead too. They may not like some of the music going on in the South. But everybody in the South is saying, 'We are keeping it alive.' ... At the end of the day, hip-hop is what you make it. What we do in the South isn't hip-hop — that's what some people think. We think it is. Some people say it's country-rap tunes. Hip-hop is what you make it."

Please go to this to read the whole interview and other comments made by other Southern Hip-Hop Artists.

Please CLICK ON THIS WEBSITE LINK:Ludricris reply - 2006

However, by mentioning the slogan on his album NAS did have a number of supporters agreeing with him.

In an article called once again “Is Hip Hop dead” by Walter Dawkins to be found via this website link - Walter Dawkins - Is Hip Hop Dead Article

The article features Hip Hop music fans of the like of Kevin Powell, former Vibe magazine senior writer and editor of "Who Shot Ya? Three Decades of Hip-Hop Photography saying, "If you were a young black male growing up then, you could aspire to be Chuck D, or Big Daddy Kane, or Too Short, or Doug E. Fresh. You had choices. That doesn't exist anymore."

Now whoever you think is right or wrong from above. Please fast forward to the present day (2011) and the some of the same statements and observations mentioned above can arguably be applied to modern day, so called Soul versions of modern day R&B music too. Today’s music industry has found a formular which sees it increasingly pumping out a new hybrid of music which takes in Electronica/Pop/Dance/Rnb fusion. This seems to favour the Pop market, which means the future (or lack thereof) of R&B music as we’ve known seems under pressure.

R&B music in its truest form arrived in the late 1940’s. The music saw its journey to mainstream really pick up in the middle to late 1960’s with the Motown, Staxx and Brunswick record labels.

However when the decade of 1970’s had reached us the music exploded even further with successful R&B/Soul acts such as Stevie Wonder, Stylistics, Chilites, Delfonics, Minnie Riperton, Isley Brothers, The Jacksons, Barry White, Teddy Pendergrass and others opening the door fully wide open for everyone. However through the likes of Luther Vandross, Michael Jackson, George Benson, Sade, Atlantic Star, Cameo, Change continued the trend in the 1980’s


luther vandross 2015

In the 1990’s the trend continued which showed no signs of stopping. The massive boom and popularity of the music made this period of RNB reach its altimate zinth peak; which saw it dominating the USA AND UK Pop charts. But then again this all depends on what decade of music that you enjoyed the most for Rnb music in regards to what you consider its best period.

The names and acts that comes to mind from that period are Lauryn Hill, TLC, Mary J. Bilge, Boyz II Men, R Kelly, Jodeci, SWV and Toni Braxton, to name but a few, who speak volumes.

Sounds, very impressive doesn’t it? No needs to panic you are wondering? So whats the fuss then? Well, there is some fuss about it. Despite the dizzy heights from what ever decade that you enjoyed the most musically. The music of R&B today no longer occupies its once-pole position in the charts.

If you want evidence, then look no further than the Billboard R&B/Hip-Hop Charts (USA), where songs topping the chart often struggle to make any impact on the all-inclusive Billboard Hot 100 (USA).

The question is - If the format is truly in decline, then what has happened to the Soulful modern day version of R&B music that it has come to this?

On the surface the fusing of modern day R&B with other genres such as Pop and Dance/Electronica has been seen as a positive thing in regards to Pop music. Yet,the Soulful side R&B and Urban music in general (*amongst it fans anyway), seem not to have benefited at all.

For, while both the Pop and Dance genres have benefitted largely from this fusion with modern day R&B music, they have also managed to remain successful genres in their own right. However, modern day, Soulful R&B music, unfortunately, has not. In today’s world for new or established acts to release ‘pure R&B’ and anticipate any chart success seems like a long gone dream.

Yes, there are exceptions such as Modern Day R&B legends such as Usher, Maxwell and Sade, whom all three have enjoyed, critical and commercial success, in releasing music with their trademark (R&B) sound. However, there could be more leniency given to the fact that the hype surrounding their comebacks allowed them to achieve these high sales figures.

RNB music gradual move to a more Pop-dominated sound seems to have backfired. What used to be seen as a quality-rich type of music seems to have been replaced with what has caused other forms music in the past (*in the public eyes) to not be taken seriously – the idea of image over substance.

No longer are the vocals of these Pop/Electronic/Rnb fused artists inspiring future generations to the priority of labels. Instead, we now have models posing as singers topping the charts.

Even giants within the music of modern day Rnb music such as Beyonce, whose first album was just an all out R&B affair, has moved further away from the traditional R&B sound; and taking in this Pop/Electronica sound as her now staple sound. Even guiltier of this then Beyonce is the modern day so called R&B superstar that is Rhianna.

riri rihanna2015


She who seems to have embraced this sound all the way and with no end in stopping.

The idea of modern day and soulful side of R&B music being dead may be a bit alarmist. However, it is not all doom and gloom. As always its normally the underground where the knight in shining armour comes to rescue for the music. Some unheard of and new soulful/rnb musical knight has in the past, but has is it different this time? Has he or she left it too late?What do you think? Please give me your thoughts.

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Since this article has been written. We have since produced another one. Please click on this link & have a read of the follow up  - Click on this link - Rnb music is fighting back - 2014


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