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.