Pop Culture, Theory & Essay

Rhythmless & Blues and Fistpump Soul

The future of Black music.

Happy Black History Month.

And since we’re talking about Black history, you ever notice how disposable R&B is nowadays? It’s no secret that one of my favorite songs of like for-f*ckin-ever is Rihanna’s “We Found Love”, a song about absolutely nothing and everything at the same time. It’s like there’s a party in my mouth and everyone’s invited…but then the police show up. Aww.

Well I haven’t heard this song in probably two weeks now and I don’t miss it at all. You know what I do miss? That snake playing the bongos I saw down by the riverside. And this is a song that is still a Top 5 song on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart. And yet, it’s completely disposable. So is Rihanna for that matter. In fact, you could take every song that Rihanna has made and put somebody else on them and there’s a good chance the song would be as good if not better. Would they be as successful? Probably not. When you’ve got a trainwreck wrapped in a pretty package leading the charge people are going to lineup to contribute to her downfall. Hell, I bought two copies of Loud for that reason. I’m convinced she’s a lesbian skydiving future rehab recidivist waiting to happen. America, f*ck yeah.

What’s my point again? Ah.

Ever since R&B gave way to this merger between pop and club music artists have been making more and more music that sounds good for a week in the club and then pretty much loses all steam once it fades from the charts, and by default, pop radio. Two of my favorite songs of last year were Chris Brown’s “Beautiful People” and Black Eyed Peas “Just Can’t Get Enough”. Do you know that I had to look up the name of the B.E.P. song?

Think about that, I couldn’t remember the name of my favorite song from last year and the group performing it features a white woman, a Black man who dresses like a white woman who dresses like a gay astronaut, a Mexican and something called Apl.de.Ap. At best, ONE of them actually eats black eyed peas. If that’s not memorable I don’t know what is. But it isn’t. Hold me. Pop music has long been moment music and short-term fix sh*t. But now that every damn R&B song has the same format and features a random assortment of various artists, nobody will be caring about this music years from now. Or weeks for that matter.

Now, I know I sound like an old grandpa complaining that music has lost its way blah blah blah. So what, f*ck your couch. Eat the pound cake n*gga. But I do kind of wonder what the hell folks will be listening to a few years from now. Granted music tends to be cyclical, but it really has been a while since any artist made a contribution to R&B that might actually be listenable a few years from now.

Nope. Now I’ve got nothing but fistpump soul. You know what that is. You ever been to a party with a bunch of white people and everybody just keeps jumping up and down and pumping their fists in the air. Real spit, white people are some real athletes. They do that sh*t for hours on end. It’s actually pretty impressive if you think about it. Black folks get it in for a minute then we all take breaks so the guys can regain their composure and the women can do the weave-pat.

And since “neo-soul” tends to suck as a rule – including Jill Scott’s later output, yeah I said it – its no wonder Black people keep losing our stronghold on all of our music. Let me be clear though, I love most pop music and listen to it with reckless abandon in my car. I’m the Black guy in the d-boy car that’s confusing you at the light because he looks like he may rob you but he’s singing what sounds like a Taylor Swift song.

Oh who am I kidding, its totally a Taylor Swift song.

But pop music is not R&B, and its not soul. But when all of your R&B artist and “soul” artists abandon ship in order to attempt to keep up with the Jones who are making songs at 185 BPP with the exact same drum pattern but a different melody, then the entire genre is going to lose itself like Eminem in a movie with Mekhi Phifer wearing a mop.

So what’s the point of all this randomness that you just read? Glad you asked. It’s this, what the f*ck happened to R&B? When D’Angelo lost his sh*t did the entire genre lose it? Usher’s Confessions is the last album that I can remember that was both a blockbuster AND was a really good R&B album. And that was in 2004.

So I ask you the same thing that Kanye asks himself after he lifts weights: does anybody make real sh*t anymore? Or is mainstream R&B a thing of the past? Is anybody making music that we’ll be listening to a few years from now?

Inquiring minds would like to know.

Poor Freddie Jackson. RIP Don Cornelius.

-VSB P aka THE ARSONST aka MR. OLD FOGEY MOTHERF*CKER aka GIIIIIIIIIIRL HE A 3

Filed Under: ,

Madbid Review

Damon Young

Panama Jackson is pretty fly for a light guy. He used to ship his frito to Tito in the District, but shipping prices increased so he moved there to save money. When he's not saving humanity with his words or making music with his mouth, you can find him at your mama's mama's house drinking her fine liquors. Most importantly, he believes the children are our future.

  • Mena

    “Real spit, white people are some real athletes. They do that sh*t for hours on end. It’s actually pretty impressive if you think about it. Black folks get it in for a minute then we all take breaks so the guys can regain their composure and the women can do the weave-pat.”. Thank you for a great laugh before I head to bed. :-)

    • http://verysmartbrothas.com Panama Jackson

      you’re welcome.

  • http://panamaenrique.wordpress.com Malik

    Mainstream R&B is just hip-hop production + pop sensibilities + Black sanging. That’s it. Well to be honest all mainstream music is really just pop music with whatever ethnic/cultural twist (ex. country music being pop music with a southern twang and maybe a fiddle every couple of songs) added on. Everything is so manufactured about it meh. Granted I don’t hate pop music in the slightest because I bump Britney Spears’ later albums, but it contemporary R&B lacks pretty much everything that make Black music the greatest music in the world.

    I wouldn’t call our Goddess RiRi and R&B singer.

    • Mo-VSS

      I hate pop music with every fiber of my soul.

      Just thought I’d share that :D

      • http://wewereninjas.wordpress.com Jay

        I LOVE pop music… and I LOVE R&B. I absolutely LOATHE the fact that they are one and the same now.

        • DQ

          Yeah, what he said

        • http://verysmartbrothas.com Panama Jackson

          yeah, i’m with you. i dont mind r&b artists making pop music. i just hate that there’s no more r&b just r&b cats making pop music

          • http://asiyah3.wordpress.com Asiyah

            Exactly, P. Pop music doesn’t have to suck, which is why I don’t hate it, but it just seems like people are making half-assed music nowadays and R&B is dead :(

      • Rewind

        Then you need to drive in a car with me. I will convert you. Especially with my animated face during Party Rock Anthem.

        • http://verysmartbrothas.com Panama Jackson

          i’ll see your “party rock anthem” face and raise you a “we found love” driver seat dance fistpump kidnplay kick step.

          yeah. who’ gon’ tes’ me naw.

          • Rewind

            I see your fist pumping action and raise it with the same actions while plaing Ke$ha-Blow.

            A grown black man has no business doing that at all.

            • http://verysmartbrothas.com Panama Jackson

              f*ck.

      • Deeds

        Sometimes I feel like that too. When I listen to the radio in the car I’m thinking why does everything suck. Maybe I’m just getting old, but I’m not even 30 yet. Oh well.

        • http://www.todisspits.blogspot.com MicTheMessenger

          co-sign!!!

          I wonder if our parents thought the same about our music…

        • http://asiyah3.wordpress.com Asiyah

          co-sign, Deeds! the only way I’m able to listen to the crap on the radio is if I don’t have to concentrate on it, like when I’m driving. I rarely drive, so I rarely turn on the radio. the crap that is on just depresses me.

          on a random note, I used to hate reggaeton, but then hip-hop started to suck (at least, in my opinion), so reggaeton became a good replacement. Good way to turn something undesirable into a gem.

    • http://verysmartbrothas.com Panama Jackson

      i love pop music. i stay listening to it. but i do realize that its the most disposable sh*t ever. like i LOVE LMFAO “party rock”

      but i haven’t heard it in a while. and i’m okay with that.

    • http://www.katwebbmusic.com KitKatCuty84

      There is still awesome music out there that’s not entirely homogenized, but the issue is, it lacks CUSTOMERS. There is a SURPLUS of grinding musicians, doing live shows you wouldn’t believe, but people don’t buy their music because they’ve never heard of them, so they eventually make themselves sound like the people whose music is selling so people will someday know who THEY are and buy THEIR music. It’s a vicious cycle.

      I’d suggest going out to some live shows and seeing all the ridiculous talent out there. Some is raw, and some isn’t going to go beyond that dive bar, but for everyone one person starving for real music, there are 800 starving artists that can feed that hunger. Try doing a search through CD Baby, or listening to Jango.com instead of Pandora.com, which promotes indie artists more heavily.

      • sincereluv4life

        http://www.singersroom.com & http://www.thisisrealmusic.com promotes a lot of indie artists and r&b artists that don’t get too much play on the radio………& this is not an insult, just a simple observation: none of my white friends like neo soul— so I think it may be the white side of pj that thinks Jill Scott’s last album sucked?? just a thought…

        • http://verysmartbrothas.com Panama Jackson

          LMAO. what a jacked up shot. actually its the side of me that actually listens to music and knows crap when i hear it. lol…like i can turn it on and off.

          not good is not good.

          • Justmetheguy

            Lmao! Good comeback Petey. Dont conform. I applaud u for not succumbing to the racial identity trick lol

  • Mo-VSS

    Maxwell’s early shit. Jill Scott is still bringing it (contrary to what you say). Marsha A (cannot spell her last name to save my life).

    Honestly, every other artist I was gonna add is someone from the past (much like my first entry Maxwell). The only person I can seriously think of right now who is committed to r&b is Miguel. Trey Songz is the worst…even Usher is doing that pop crap that I hate so much.

    Most r&b songs on my Ipod are old school. And it’s sad. I don’t know when folks making music decided r&b was something we could all do without, but I beg to differ. Classic groups like the Isley Brothers, O’Jays and others to old school Mary J, Jodeci, and Erykah represented a wide range of what was classically good music.

    I weep for the kids now days because if their old school is mess like “just the tip” and their idea of r&b is rihanna (doesn’t deserve caps in her name at all…that’s how unimportant she and her music are to me) and chris brown…well, that’s just a f-king shame.

    • Mo-VSS

      Please free my comment. Thanks

      • DQ

        Give my comment “the free” as well. It didn’t do nothing to nobody. It’s just trying to live and get its money right. Stop blockin’ yo.

        • Mena

          “It didn’t do nothing to nobody.” Obviously you did b/c your comment is in the corner. :-)

    • http://verysmartbrothas.com Panama Jackson

      hate to tell you but Jill Scott’s music sucks donkey nuts right now. i know folks love her and that’s great. but no.

      • http://www.todisspits.blogspot.com MicTheMessenger

        bruh, have you seen Jill LIVE??? You can’t possibly dislike Jill Scott if you’ve been to one of her shows.

        • http://verysmartbrothas.com Panama Jackson

          just b/c somebody puts on a good live show doesnt mean their albums dont suck.

          Kindred The Family Soul anyone?

          • http://www.katwebbmusic.com KitKatCuty84

            Are you saying Kindred is another example of a great show with a wack album, or an example of someone with both a great show and a great album. I kinda feel Kindred. They dominated my Pandora for a hot min. :) “Far away from here, far away from here, far away from here. Just jump in a taxi cab…”

            • http://verysmartbrothas.com Panama Jackson

              hot show with a wack album. i love their live show. and when i first heard their album i figured they’d do a dope live show b/c of how big the damn family soul is. its full of a bunch of cats who are built on improvisation. that doesnt work so well on an album that isn’t a jam session.

              yes, “far away” is a great song. i love it. i also love “contentment” but their albums aint hot.

        • http://twitter.com/tylerg_thomas tgtaggie

          Imma going to agree with you. I seen her live in March of 2008 and it was nothing short of a spiritual experience.

      • Deviant

        I agree. This last album I cherry picked the songs I wanted on my ipod. That was a first.

    • http://twitter.com/#!/NewYork2VA NY2VA

      I whole heartedly co-sign everything you said. And BTW, I heart Jill Scoots entire catalog. ALL. OF. IT.

      • Mo-VSS

        Me an you both lady!

      • http://verysmartbrothas.com Panama Jackson

        wanna cookie?

  • lotusflower11

    I really like Frank Ocean. I think he’s leading the new wave of R&B. *See what I did there* ;)

    • SororSalsa

      I hate to admit that I listen to a couple of Frank Ocean songs hard. When I first heard “Novacane”, I swore I would never let another FO track darken my playlist. But I now find “Nature Feels” and “Lovecrimes” on repeat. I feel like a traitor.

      There is a lot of great R&B music out there…the problem is, only 3 people have heard it. Good artists get no push now.

      • Justmetheguy

        @lotusflower1- I see what you did there lol. Yeah Frank Ocean is lookin like a promising young prospect, but you’re right R&B died when the 90s did with a few exceptions. Ppl realized that pop with a melody (autotunes half the time) and hip hop production and it’ll be a hit regardless of the voice or words it has over the beat. It’s not music anymore as much as it is melodic marketing of different characters and outlooks on life. Same for commercial rap. Everybody’s gettin lazy and their music sounds contrived. Does Kem still make music? Love Calls was like an all time classic imo

        • DQ

          JMG

          A lot of salient points in this post. I found myself nodding my head with everything you said (except for the implication that Kem might be the savior of R&B, on that I have to say negative. Everything else 1000% agree)

          • Justmetheguy

            @DQ- lol, nah I didn’t mean to imply that. I really only heard that one track from him and I REALLY like that song. Not sure if I would even like the rest of his stuff. I really don’t know who the R&B savior would be. Somehow I like all the singles Miguel has made so far, and I NEVER say that about R&B singers ne more. U got any young prospects with potential? Cause I really got nothin lol

            • http://twitter.com/#!/NewYork2VA NY2VA

              If R. Kelly wasn’t the tortured soul of a pedophile that he is, R&B would probably not be on life support.

              • http://vanityinperil.com Vanity in Peril

                But he IS Blanche he IS… sorry. Good point tho. :)

                • http://twitter.com/#!/NewYork2VA NY2VA

                  LMAO @ Blanche!

      • Manny

        Why would Novacane turn you against Frank Ocean? He is AMAZING.

      • Kweku

        SS, you are correct. Eric Roberson’s “Mr. Nice Guy” is decent, and Anthony Hamilton’s new release has some gems on it, too. Even Lalah Hathaway’s last was nice, even if a bit moody.

        I think the problem is that there is no more funk (except E. Badu, occasionally), and no musicians in the studio playing real instruments (hella ‘spensive). Everything is programmed, sequenced, or looped.

        Plus, so many R&B artists make “Quiet Storm”, slow-down-your-metabolism music now: Jill Scott, Dwele, Lalah Hathaway, Kem, Maxwell, Joe. You would think that all we do is b0ne… I guess that’s where their bread is buttered.

        • http://twitter.com/#!/NewYork2VA NY2VA

          I’ve been a Lalah fan since “Baby Don’t Cry” but even her last offering was laced with some of that soul-less electronic stuff that makes my skin crawl. I was not pleased. She had some good stuff, but I was disappointed to have to skip a couple of tracks. But folks gotta eat so they do what they have to do to get their albums made.

          • Cb

            Amel larrieux, goaple, rashan patterson, eric roberson, m’shell ndg….more I cant think of right now…

      • http://www.styleillusions.com WIP

        I don’t know Frank Ocean but I hate that “Novacane” song. If that’s his vibe, I’ll pass. I’ve got a lot of stuff to look up this weekend.

      • http://www.todisspits.blogspot.com MicTheMessenger

        Frank Ocean is DOPE. I don’t feel like he’s a complete pop/R&B hybrid though. He’s on some other stuff. Plus his lyrics go hard in the paint.

        I been listening to Emily King’s Seven EP alot lately. It’s pretty decent. Plus D’Angelo back from the dead, so we’ll see how that goes.

        • http://sarcasmforbreakfast.com MizzCam

          I do love Frank Ocean. And I was semi-excited/intrigued when I heard that D’Angelo was coming back. He prereleased a remake of Black Hole Sun by SoundGarden. I don’t really like it, but I’m partial to the original.
          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oqa1nuOsVVM&feature=youtube_gdata_player
          I still want to hear his new album when it comes out, though.

          • http://vanityinperil.com Vanity in Peril

            I love that original song. yeah I heard D is making a comeback. I also heard he recently had a performance where he apparently came out, saw his shadow and fell off the stage. #pagingdrfrasiercrane

            • SororSalsa

              Dead at this.

              I’m hoping D just fell off the stage, and not off the wagon. I’m gonna need a new D’Angelo album before Nevuary 2068.

    • Manny

      Yeah, reading this post Frank Ocean was the first one that came to mind, which is a shame because he’s so much more than that. To me R&B is girls like Olivia, Amerie, making one single for the summer. I will say that the song Bulletproof by raheem devaughn was a really good song.

      • Thriller

        Raheem’s a very solid artist. His albums are worth a listen,

      • Deeds

        Yea, Bulletproof was a good song.

      • http://twitter.com/#!/NewYork2VA NY2VA

        I love Raheem.

    • http://verysmartbrothas.com Panama Jackson

      i want to like Frank Ocean. I really do. Just like I want to like The-Dream.

      they each have songs that i like, but as a whole, I’m cool on both. House of Balloons had a few joints but short of “the party and the after party” i dont listen to anything else. but Frank Ocean can sing. ill give him that. i just aint moved by the brotha’s music.

      OFWGKTA

      • http://www.twitter.com/constancelovesu TheOpinionated1

        “House of Balloons” is The Weeknd not Frank Ocean and it’s actually my favorite of the three albums he released. I can listen to that whole album back to back. I really like The Birds part 1 & 2 and The Zone on the “Thursday” album but it’s def not as good as HOB and “Echoes of Silence” is only ok. His remake of Dirty Diana was worth listening to but it was a bit flawed lyrically in my opinion. *enters back into lurktown*

        • http://verysmartbrothas.com Panama Jackson

          i know The Weeknd made House of Balloons. I see how you think i may be confused since I was talking about them almost interchangeably in the same sentences.

          either way he aint special. lol

      • Drea

        House of Ballons is by The Weeknd :) Who I think could be a good candidate. I love his mixtapes, but I’m not sure if he would be fully R&B. Frank Ocean’s Nostalgia/Ultra is a little closer to what were used to in terms of R&B, but I remember reading somewhere that he didn’t want to be labeled as such which is why his album is labeled under Bluegrass in iTunes.

    • http://pinchmycheekie.wordpress.com Cheekie

      “I really like Frank Ocean. I think he’s leading the new wave of R&B. ”

      SWIM GOOOOOOD. SWIM GOOOOOOOD.

    • LurkMcGurt

      +1
      Oh, and add Miguel to that “new wave.”

      My ideal summer concert would include both Frank and Miguel

  • http://OverTymeMusic.net OverTyme

    PJ…..I could go on and on about the state of both current hip hop and R&B, but I won’t. Most of the music today is produced by European DJ’s. The European sound is once again dominating the airwaves like it did in the 1960’s. Plus add the to music industry willing to pimp out the kids at any cost along with younger but more established singers not staying true to their craft and you have a perfect storm of a generation of crappy music. Also add to that mainstream radio stations refusing to play really good music that really is out there. Well except one radio station….which will be up and running real soon.

    • http://wewereninjas.wordpress.com Jay

      I remember a producer telling me in ’08 that R&B would be stuck on the European sound for the next few years because if artists sold more in Europe then they would be winning because at that time Euro>U.S. Dollar… So maybe SOMETHING good will come out of the economic collapse of the E.U.

      • D

        @Jay hit the nail on the head…

        Sadly, while RnB and rap music was BIG in The States…it bombed worldwide. Europeans have no idea who Wacka Wacka is or Trey Songz…that music just does not get airplay anywhere outside of America. This is why rappers/RnB singers don’t ever release “Greatest Hits” albums…because the record companies know dis shit won’t sell overseas, so they don’t produce these albums for Black Artists…and that is where over 50% of the market lies…so now Black Artists are peddling out this DancePop sound which the EuroTrash love!

        Sometimes, I think our community is very insular. We live in black communities, have black neighbors, go to black schools, go to black churches, listen to black music…but we forget there is a whole, big world out there of people who don’t look like us…and they don’t wanna buy our creativity no more!

      • http://iamyourpeople.com/ I Am Your People

        Aside: one thing I don’t get about Europop – why is the DJ’s name first? Like “Commander” is David Guetta feat. Kelly Rowland. Is there a reason for this?

        • thelonius

          It’s like Dj Khaled feat Drake,

        • http://verysmartbrothas.com Panama Jackson

          bc its really hard to sell a kelly rowland song. i mean have you heard a kelly rowland song?

          • Manny

            HAHAHAHAH!!!!

        • n

          Eric B and Rakim
          DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince

          Tradition.Thats why.

          • http://twitter.com/#!/NewYork2VA NY2VA

            Grand Master Flash and the Furious Five.

            The DJ used to be the star of the show. The emcee just kept the crowd motivated.

            Tradition. Yes.

      • Thriller

        The Europop sound is the biggest in the world right now. That’s the sound you want if you’re looking for a global smash.

        Europe is a great place for artists to get their money up. If you have even moderate success you could probably tour in at least one city in over 30 countries.

      • http://asiyah3.wordpress.com Asiyah

        Has anybody here heard Nadia Ali, of the now-disbanded duo iio? She is a perfect example, or so I believe, of an R&B type (in terms of lyrics) who has European DJs and instead of making R&B songs she makes electronica music. They dominate the scene and she’s one of the greatest even though the lyrics in her songs would be more geared towards R&B.

      • http://vanityinperil.com Vanity in Peril

        I agree and I think we have Beyonce to blame. Follow me on this one…

        Thundergoat has been numero uno untouchable and no other artist could usurp the throne and Kelly (Clarkson!!!) Rowland couldn’t have any shine so she went for the Euro-pop Donna Summer route and when Love Takes Over came out she finally “crossed over”. A bunch of other dames and dudes followed suit on that formula, even Thundergoat’s sister Solange and now every brown-skin artist drops a track with Diplo and a Euro-pop beat. Even Beyonce caught on to it and then it really went into turbo.

    • erika

      Bloody hell, no wonder I can’t go out without hearing some techno-euro rubbish around these parts…but I am in Ireland, so that may explain a lot.

    • http://verysmartbrothas.com Panama Jackson

      i would love to host an entire panel or podcast (which i might do) on what actually constitutes good music. peoples tastes are so varied its very interesting to figure out what people think has integrity.

      email me, we should rap a taste: panamadjackson@gmail.com

  • http://panamaenrique.wordpress.com Malik

    On the other hand, Soul music has been pretty brilliant lately. Aloe Blacc’s album “Good Things” was everything. Mama Hold My Hand is going to be considered a classic one day.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uvUV59VrBGo

    • Rog

      Aloe Blacc and Mayer Hawthorne (although it took me a while to get past Hawthorne’s voice a little)

      • yannii

        Saadiq’s album was pretty good too. That Good Man song, and video was dope.

        • http://panamaenrique.wordpress.com Malik

          Saadiq is always brilliant. ALWAYS.

          @Rog

          I like Hawthrone’s covers more than any of his original material that he’s put out. I’m waiting on an album before I jump in as a hardcore fan.

          • yannii

            @Malik

            Hawthorne’s had 2 albums already.

            • http://panamaenrique.wordpress.com Malik

              D’oh, I’m out the loop. I’ll seek them out.

              • http://wewereninjas.wordpress.com Jay

                I co-sign all of this. Aloe Blacc and Mayer Hawthorne are nice. Sadiq is an underrated GENIUS. The good stuff goes unnoticed. More suggestions from me… Foreign Exchange has some soulful ish. Res is good too although I’m not really up on the Idle Warship joints. What do you guys think of Miguel BTW??

                • http://iamyourpeople.com/ I Am Your People

                  Just started listening to that Aloe Blacc joint. I’m loving his sound

                • Reka_Baby (ROLL TIDE)

                  I love the Foreign Exchange. They are incredible live.

                  • erika

                    Awww yeah…nothing like starting the day with a lil Nikolay and Fonte.

                    • http://verysmartbrothas.com Panama Jackson

                      it’s Nicolay and Phonte.

                      lol. spell their names right.

                  • LO

                    #teamFE all day! They make great music.

                  • DQ

                    They’re incredible Live or Memorex. “Take Off The Blues” is my jam

                    • Justmetheguy

                      Just watched the video for Take Off the Blues. It was cool. Laid back. Didn’t jump out at me but grew on me. They’re a fan of less is more which is sometimes a more refreshing sound. Easy listening if you will. But that song they switched to halfway through “Not Today” or whatever the actual name of it is, I really liked that one. Futuristic and creative tempo and melody. I like these cats

                • http://www.todisspits.blogspot.com MicTheMessenger

                  Man joe, i LOVE Foreign Exchange. But they are steadily moving more toward easily listening IMO, and not so much soul.

                • http://www.todisspits.blogspot.com MicTheMessenger

                  And honestly, I sept on Miguel for a minute. But then one of songs (i think “My Piece”) came up on shuffle and i had to go back and listen to the entire album, and i was not mad. Miguel is def carving a lane, not quite r & b but not pop or soul. I’d recommend him. Check out this artist named Choklate too. She goes hard in the paint.

                  and ima say it now for the record, BJ the Chicago Kid is the future of soul music.

              • http://www.twitter.com/constancelovesu TheOpinionated1

                Mayor Hawthorne’s “Strange Arrangement” album is great!

          • Sigma_Since 93

            The problem is white executives think having a commercial on BET as an artist spotlight will reach a significant amount of the population. When will someone tell them that BET sucks and the targeted age demographics stopped watching BET years ago! Yeah I said it.

            *drops mic and continues eating breakfast

            • E.Jones

              I agree. BET is basically washed up nobodies nowadays. Back in the day, BET was the place for everything Black and innovative and once Free and AJ left 106 in 2005, then the sale to Viacom in 2007-2008 (please correct my dates), it has become the “black” version of MTV minus Jersey Shore and True Life (which before about 2005 was pretty dope). Black music’s center used to be BET and now, it is crummy YouTube stars who wanna sound like YMCMB and the like. It sucks that all you have to do is pass the paper bag test and have a million views on a video to get some air-time on BET and be appropriate for 10-15 year olds (even though they cater the rest of their programs for a plethora of people who don’t watch) . Yesterday, the first day of Black history month instead of playing an important clip like they used to, all they did was show facts for thirty seconds and went on break. It just seems like now the community is defined by the music and not vice versa like it used to be. And because of this mostly, our music has become more and more abhorrent and not in-touch with us as a FULL people. In the 90s, East Coast and West Coast may have had a deeply manufactured beef and the media did capitalize on it but the East and the West’s distinct sounds were what was important NOT the way that their hair was, or how great they sounded repping a set they probably didn’t even have an affliation with except on wax, and they didn’t tell you that you had to wear women’s clothes and 80s snapbacks, jackets, skateboard shorts (and shoes) and look androgynous to be somebody. Now, we have dudes running around with their fingers twisted, with a white cup, singing like L’il Wayne and T-Pain about ish they have never even gone through and to make it worse, people buy into it. And then what about how many of these people are really who they say they are? Like seriously. where has our music went? We now base ourselves around it instead of letting our music be a reflection of us. And that is why our music sounds bad and why we can no longer tolerate it because our experience is no longer present and therefore, it loses its reputability. I can honestly admit that “The Motto” is still one of my favorite songs despite my discontent with the music industry. It is mainstream so…. it is what we choose to be played.

              • Justmetheguy

                @E.Jones- Ok tell us how you really feel now tho…lol. You’re right tho. I wouldn’t be able to pick the diamonds in the rough because I can’t stomach BET long enough to find the real talent that’s packaged in awkward or cheesy ways. I’ll leave that to yall. Off to listen to the 12 artists and 30 songs other commenters have recommended. I’ll start off with Foreign Exchange.

          • http://www.todisspits.blogspot.com MicTheMessenger

            Please spread the gospel of Mayer Hawthorne’s covers. As quirky as it is sometimes, dude is NOICE….

            • Sigma_Since 93

              I found out about him because my brother in law has I need a dollar as a ringtone for one of his boys that always asks for money. Had it not been for that moment, I would have lost out on hearing some quality music.

              • Justmetheguy

                Haha! Only reason I know that I Need a Dollar song is because I watched the first season of How to Make It in America (even tho I wish I didn’t spend my time waitin for it become watchable smdh). Glad I heard the song tho. I gotta look for more Aloe Blacc songs

    • thelonius

      They are not young but Lee Fields and Charles Bradley are releasing good albums too

      • Craig and Dem

        Lee Fields and The Expressions is the truth!!! They got a gold soul sound that can’t be match and it’s a breath a fresh air in the room fa sho! Two artists y’all need to look out for: My boy Kendrick Lamar comin straight outta Compton! Gary Clark Jr. outta Austin, Texas! You want some good blues? There you go right there!

    • erika

      I know Good Things pretty much put him on the map. I dig it but I play Shine Through like it’s brand new.

    • http://verysmartbrothas.com Panama Jackson

      Aloe Blacc’s always been one of those artists that i think has flashes of brilliance but i never really loved. “i need a dollar” was f*cking gangbusters though.

      plus, i can’t get over the fact that his name sounds like a gangsta rapper’s name. a crip to be exact.

      • Justmetheguy

        Yeah Aloe Blacc sounds like a gangsta’s name. I was thinkin a Blood, but I guess u right lol. What songs do u like from him tho? I need recommendations

        • http://verysmartbrothas.com Panama Jackson

          like i said, “i need a dollar” is my sh*t. i cant even tell you the names of the other stuff.

          • Justmetheguy

            Oh my bad, I misread. You definitely said it was gangbusters. I thought u said u never really liked it. I must’ve been confusing it with another comment you made about Frank Ocean. I read so many comments before I make one that I blur ish together sometimes lol. If anybody out there knows any good Aloe Blacc songs feel free to share. Btw I’m listenin to this My Piece by Miguel and yeah it’s pretty good.

          • http://wewereninjas.wordpress.com Jay

            Aloe Blacc- You Make Me Smile
            http://youtu.be/eZjPxThvSaI

            That clip is him singing it live in the subway with street performers. #sweet. Sounds like he’s in the studio.

            Green Lights is a good song too. And “Times So Hard” which is the second song that plays at the end of the video for “I Need A Dollar”.

      • Deviant

        Wasn’t he rapping at one point though?

        • http://verysmartbrothas.com Panama Jackson

          yeah he was. thats how he got started.

  • Rog

    The Weeknd gives me hope for R and B, he’s already gotten Drake on a single so its only a matter of time before he’s even more popular.

    • yannii

      If the Weeknd gives you hope, then you must not be wishing for much.

      • http://wewereninjas.wordpress.com Jay

        I agree, I was all about the Weeknd circa “House of Balloons”, patiently awaited the next two mixtapes and was disappointed like a sumbitch.

        • Rog

          Here’s how I see it

          House of Balloons-Listen all the way through

          Echoes-Same Old Song and Fallen(?) are the only ones I dig.

          Thursday-Didn’t like at all

      • Manny

        cosign and shit

      • Eric McD

        Damn!

        • Rog

          Right! Just shart all over my musical taste lol

          I digs the Weeknd’s sound (except Thursday which was kind of meh).

    • http://www.todisspits.blogspot.com MicTheMessenger

      Yeah Rog, i thought you was gon come wit some good music since you got Dilla as your Gravatar…

      • Rog

        lol I mean the criteria seemed to be exclusively dudes who are in (or at least close to mainstream) and there’s pretty much slim pickings there. I could run through a few guys that are “underground”-ish but they aren’t going to be on the radio anytime soon.

    • http://verysmartbrothas.com Panama Jackson

      Yeah…y’all can have The Weeknd. I keep hearing how great this ninjas stuff is. And its not great. its just different-ish.

      It aint even that different. but it is more musical than all the pop/radio format songs. i’ll credit him there. but that’s the musical direction of Doc McKinney and i think the ninjas name is ARchangelo or something.

  • http://ccooper929.wordpress.com/ Chad C.

    “Now, I know I sound like an old grandpa complaining that music has lost its way blah blah blah. So what, f*ck your couch. Eat the pound cake n*gga. But I do kind of wonder what the hell folks will be listening to a few years from now. Granted music tends to be cyclical, but it really has been a while since any artist made a contribution to R&B that might actually be listenable a few years from now.”

    I’m glad that I’m an old soul when it comes to music. mainstream R&B artists are sellouts and thinking about making lots of paper and not about making good protest songs (Marvin Gaye’s What’s Going On-http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f39Zs0gB87c&feature=fvst);

    nowadays, they’re thinking about getting caked up w/ dolla dolla bills instead of proclaiming issues and raising socially conscious issues (Marvin Gaye’s Inner City Blues- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qDckI2P_DPA)

    And no one makes love songs like this:
    James Ingram’s One Hundred Ways- (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BBY4o26fCt8)

    or Luther Vandross’s If only for one night- (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Er74vU2I9c&feature=related)

    or Boyz II Men (First Love- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jFKcpc27xPk)

    And had to end this comment w/ some Isley Bros. “Groove w/ you” (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jjrIa3szE3w&feature=related)

    • http://verysmartbrothas.com Panama Jackson

      I’m gonna start calling you Mr. Link

      • Justmetheguy

        @ Pj – LMAO! Right. That’s what I was thinkin. Like well d*mn, this ninja gave us a whole lotta homework lmao! He did make some good points tho, so I feel compelled to watch at least one of em lol

      • LO

        And I’m gonna start calling u Mr. _______ :-)

        • http://verysmartbrothas.com Panama Jackson

          Mr. Do A Line and Make You Smile?

          • Iceprincess

            Lol! Made ME smile :-)

          • LO

            Ha! Yes Mr…..you definitely make me – and many others – smile. But i do need to use u Mr. Muse….I need a word if u read this…please and thanks.

            • http://verysmartbrothas.com Panama Jackson

              you’ve been emailt. lol

  • yannii

    I could come on here and say the obvious, “yes, there are great soul artists, you just have to search for them, for example, SoulBounce.com usually introduces a few.” But the fact of the matter is, this is just not R&B’s generation.

    Take the 2000s for example: when Brandy, Monica, Usher, Nsync, and Britney Spears were all pretty popular. You notice that even then, those artists were more R&B than today. Even Britney and Nsync were more R&B-esque. That was a R&B decade. Even obvious ‘pop’ groups like Diddy’s one-no-hit-wonder group Dream sang more R&B. Hell, even Pink was R&B. This is just the pop decade.

    As depressing as it is, R&B don’t live her anymore.

    • Thriller

      Yep this is the crux. The latter half of the 00’s and this decade thus far has had a synth heavy Europop sound. It’s just how it is. In the last decade you had, Aguilera and N*Sync making RnB and hip-hop songs. People moaned then how RnB was sounding like hip-hop like how “Yeah!” was basically a rap beat. But at the very least the sound, the drum patterns where black.

      Now Usher is riding the Europop sound and caking off it. There hasn’t been a legit RnB album that has gone platinum in awhile sans the comeback kids (Maxwell, Sade).

      You have to blame Timbaland for all of this btw. FutureSex/LoveSounds, Furtado’s album and Shock Value changed the game.

      • http://www.todisspits.blogspot.com MicTheMessenger

        FTR, FutureSex/LoveSounds ws a DOPE album. Until The End of Time is STILL on my baby making playlist.

        I have no kids, btw…

        o_O

        • http://verysmartbrothas.com Panama Jackson

          yeah, that album cranks. and i think it always will. the “i think that she knows” interlude is so gotdamn dope.

          • http://www.todisspits.blogspot.com MicTheMessenger

            Hell yeah man, that ish a straight up sonic journey. It’s seldom you find that anymore.

          • http://pinchmycheekie.wordpress.com Cheekie

            “the “i think that she knows” interlude is so gotdamn dope.”

            Ninja, YES. Yes, yes yes.

        • miss t-lee

          Yep!! Justin did that!!!

    • E.Jones

      I complelely co-sign but that was also because Hip-Hop and R&B producers were producing them and not Europop-esque people. The distinct teen sound from the 90s came from the wave of producers who created the backdrop for the decade.

  • Angel Baby

    “including Jill Scott’s later output, yeah I said it”
    I’m glad someone said it!!! Except for a few of the ‘sex” songs I don’t really listen to the album! ;) lol

    Actually, I might be late on this, but I was introduced to Miguel’s cd late last year. He is really great…kind of reminds me of Price. I can listen to his whole album without changing (trust me that says a lot!!!) and it hasn’t gotten “old” to me yet!

    Here P enjoy:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6lv1RXFpV8c&feature=related

    • Angel Baby

      Price??? LOL that was supposed to be PRINCE

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nPt15Xebk4o
      again Miguel’s whole album is the TRUTH
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QmyxAq9DI3s

      • SororSalsa

        I do like most of Miguel’s album, although his unreleased tracks are far superior, IMO. Of course, that always seems to be the case, because they’re not necessarily radio-friendly.

      • http://wewereninjas.wordpress.com Jay

        Speaking of Prince, who is one of my top 3 artists any genre and era…THIS..

        “The Dance”
        http://beemp3.com/download.php?file=8886830&song=The+Dance

        He hasn’t been nearly as consistent but he still puts out some good songs every now and then. But this song single handedly restored my faith in love songs. The passion at the end of the song will leave you breathless.

        • http://www.todisspits.blogspot.com MicTheMessenger

          Yo, check out Timothy Bloom too. Dude is nice. I’d post the youtube link, but that mug is the most beautiful NSFW video on the ninjanets.

          • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M5FR1LGsT7E TheAnti-Cool

            Yes.

          • http://twitter.com/#!/NewYork2VA NY2VA

            Timothy Bloom is DOPE. I can’t wait for a full length album.

          • Angel Baby

            I agree!

    • Justmetheguy

      Co-sign Miguel. I didn’t wanna like him, but he kept makin songs I actually liked a lot. Didn’t think it was possible for a new R&B artist.

      • http://wewereninjas.wordpress.com Jay

        Same here… THATS when you know someone is talented. When you really reeeeally don’t want to like them but they win you over anyway.

    • Hawaii

      YES! I tell ppl that Miguel reminds me of Prince. He’s really talented. I’ve been a fan for a long time.

      • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M5FR1LGsT7E TheAnti-Cool

        He reminds me of Prince too. It’s why I like him.

    • http://verysmartbrothas.com Panama Jackson

      ive been told how dope miguels album is. and i’ve liked a few of the songs ive heard. but really…i wasn’t moved by them either. “sure thing” is dope. and its good in the car.

      i dont care to listen to it anywhere else.

      • http://www.todisspits.blogspot.com MicTheMessenger

        Man, turn on “Quickie” and watch how many @$$es start shaking around you.

      • Angel Baby

        P – Not even the songs I just posted links to on here?!?!?!?
        le sigh

        • http://verysmartbrothas.com Panama Jackson

          no.

          • Angel Baby

            Okay ok…. what about Raheem Devaughn???

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_XQuvZnrXeE&feature=related

            OR my new favorite since finding it bc I was late on this too LOL:
            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=njkvkD-L6WA

            • SororSalsa

              I love Raheem…as a DMV native, I almost feel obligated to. BUT….Raheem has been steadily sinking since “The Love Experience”. When good artists (either on their own or with pressure from their labels) decide to try and go “mainstream/radio hit”, the quality always suffers.

              I went to see a lot of amazing live shows last year, and for the most part, none of the artists are played on the radio. Van Hunt, Avery Sunshine, Trina Broussard, Anthony David, Eric Roberson, Rahsaan Patterson, etc. Making great music, and it’s sad that most people don’t know about them.

              • Angel Baby

                You guys are a tough crowd! sigh!!! ;) I like those artists too though!

            • http://verysmartbrothas.com Panama Jackson

              i liked Raheem’s older stuff. ive been a bit cool on his newer material.