I was skimming through Amazon Music Unlimited, listening to the new release, R&B music, when I began to feel some disappointment. I asked myself, “Where is that R&B sound that I’m accustomed to hearing?” The music that I was hearing wasn’t bad, but I felt it crossed into a lane that made it more pop, or more hip hop. I wasn’t hearing enough of the markers of the genre that defines R&B. Instead, I was either hearing a lot of airy pop pads or a lot of low kicks and trap sounds until I listened to Ruff Endz new album, Soul Brothers: The Return of Dante Jordan and David Chance. This album definitely isn’t traditional old school R&B, but it’s that fresh face of contemporary R&B that still has soul. No pun intended.
In case you don’t remember, Ruff Endz, is responsible for hits such as ‘Someone to Love You’ and ‘No More.’ My favorite song on the new album is ‘Don’t Leave.’ This track is a perfect blend of R&B harmony with hip hop swag. The song makes a fabulous exit using lyrics originated by Jay Z in his hook for, ‘Song Cry.’
Over the last few years. R&B artists have been expressing their frustration with the state of the industry and how R&B is often given the back seat by label heads because of the dominance of hip hop and pop. The fact that Xscape is selling out concerts, Bruno Mars continues to make major broadcast appearances with his R&B funk hits, an artist like Ruff Endz putting out albums that will hold the attention of young and old, provides proof that R&B is not dead, it’s evolving.