Let’s talk about R&B for a second. It’s no secret that the genre has changed dramatically over the past few years, but is the old style found in this playlist really gone for good? What happened to the days where R&B music was considered “love making music,” full of real instrumentals and vocals instead of auto tuned voices and electronic backgrounds? What about the days when artists sang about love and heartbreak rather than sex and “hoes”? This old style might be a foreign concept in today’s music industry but thankfully we are left with many classic R&B throwbacks that could either set you into a total “drake-ing” mode or immediately make you want to bust a move.
Now, a throwback R&B playlist would definitely not be complete without including Usher. His iconic soulful voice and smooth rhythm defines the ’90s R&B era. Known for singing about his love life and personal stories, Usher produced songs like “My Boo,” which might make you want to call up your ex from 4 years ago. Other important contributors to this era include girl groups like TLC and Destiny’s Child, who sang about girl power. They gave girls confidence in the idea that they don’t need a man who doesn’t treat them right. Plus, we got Beyonce out of this, so I don’t think anyone can complain.
Of course, there is also the beloved Aaliyah, who in just 10 years in the music industry left an unforgettable name for the genre of R&B. Gone way too soon, she produced three studio albums and many popular singles including the passionate “At Your Best (You Are Love).” If you’re a fan of this Aaliyah song, look up Frank Ocean’s version from his video album, Endless — trust me, you’ll thank me later.
Fast forward to 2005, Chris Brown’s self-titled debut album was released at the impressive age of just 16 years old. Starting off his music career, Brown gave us songs like “Yo (Excuse Me Miss),” immediately making all the young girls drool over his soothing voice and impressive dance moves. The style found in his early songs has slightly changed since then, now fitting in more with the style of R&B music today. Chris currently releases more fast paced and explicit tunes, but anyone who was a fan since the beginning will remember his smooth old ways.
So here we find ourselves at this question: will we ever get this old style of R&B back? Personally, I believe music styles are constantly changing and some trends just grasp onto certain time periods. Artists can try to recreate the ’90s style but people will constantly compare it to the time period it originated from. I’m not sure exactly what this means for R&B today, but if you’re like me and miss the old R&B jams, then just put on this playlist and you will be reminded of a supreme time in music history.