Credit: New Rory & Mal Podcast
In episode 29, "Talk Ya Shit" of the "New Rory & Mal" podcast, a discussion about today's R&B music was sparked when Rory asked Jermaine Dupri, "What do you think about the "whisper singers" of R&B right now?"
Leaning back in his chair with his hand on his head, JD responded, "I just really realized why R&B is changed,
and it's because nobody's going into the studio..." then he stops mid-thought to bring up Mary J. Blige's latest single, "Amazing," produced by DJ Khaled. Right away, Mal interjects, "I hate it."
JD returns to his thought, "You got a legendary artist like Mary J. Blige going into the studio with people who don't make the music that she makes. This is what's happening in R&B."
Mal adds, "People are more concerned with just putting the names Mary J. Blige produced by Khaled. It's the name; it's not so much the art and what makes sense no more."
Chloe "Minding Her Own Damn Business" Bailey then gets dragged into this conversation when JD asked if her latest song, "Have Mercy," was Hip Hop record or an R&B song? JD argues, "She's an R&B artist; they went to Murda Beatz. You're not going to get chords from Babyface, chords from Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, chords from Darkchild, chords from even Pharrell. You're not going to get none of that shit you probably like from R&B from these guys that people are going to get."
R&B Artists and Hip Hop Producers
I get JD's overall point about R&B singers getting with the right producers who know how to make a specific type of R&B music. However, when you use someone like Mary J. Blige as an example of an R&B singer "going into the studio with people who don't make the music that she makes," I have to push back against that.
Mary J. Blige is known as "The Queen of Hip Hop Soul." She blew up off working with producers who mixed R&B and Hip Hop. What girl in the 90s wasn't trying to rock a baseball cap and jersey, looking like
So, we have always had R&B artists who made music with a Hip Hop undertone. Remember BBD, "Hip Hop smooth out on an R&B tip with a Pop Feel, Appeal To It."
So, when JD asked if "Have Mercy" was R&B or Hip Hop, it's a mix, and does it matter in the age of "versatility?" It's the Mary J. Blige blueprint, which I spoke about after Chloe's VMAs performance.
Jermaine Dupri is a Hip Hop producer who has created classic R&B albums and just produced Ari Lennox's latest single, "Pressure." So, I do not think the issue with R&B is necessarily artists working with Hip Hop producers, especially if they are not going for that traditional R&B sounds. Instead, it is going to producers who just do not have the talent or range to give these artists a sound that will resonate with R&B fans while still appealing to the Hip Hop heads.
ARE HIP-HOP PRODUCERS RUINING R&B?
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