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Originating Location: United States

Originating Era: late 1940s

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Genre DescriptionEdit

The term "Rhythm & Blues" was originally coined as a marketing label in the late 1940s as a way to sell what were then called "race" records, as they were typically done by black performers. Through the 50's, the typical neighborhood record shop had Fats Domino or Ray Charles in the Race Section. As such, R&B had a lot of different styles, from the slower, ballad types, to doo-wop, to what would quickly become Rock & Roll. At first, R&B records were hard to come by -- they'd typically be only sold in the black parts of town, meaning that while records might sell very well there, they still wouldn't be a "hit", as they wouldn't even show up on the "mainstream" (read "white") charts. Even though these records didn't show up on the charts, though, they were still very influential on a lot of musicians, and by the 1960s, R&B was firmly entrenched in the cultural landscape, and had a lot of hit records, especially with labels like Motown.

Over time, R&B developed as well, into forms like Funk and Soul. Now, R&B refers mainly to the current crop of black singers who typically will do either dance music (like Destiny's Child) or neo-soul (like Usher), or some ballads by the aforementioned artists but it has little in common with what was originally called "R&B". Because racism is so common and that some people are opposed to ballads, some people have even backronymed RNB as "retarded niggers' ballads", however less racist people have backronymed it as "retarded nerds' ballads". Alongside, some listeners interpreted the terminology as "rhythm and ballads" as there are more non-blues ballads than blues-like tracks in the genre specification.


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