Make R&B Music Great Again!

Google Images: Ty Dolla $ign

Ty Dolla $ign  just recently dropped his latest album and third installment of the beach house series. And he sat down with Rolling Stone magazine to discuss the project and also chatted about bringing R&B music back to the charts. The most standout Ty quote in the article is when he said "Remember when R&B used to be on the Hot 100? It just stopped. I felt like I had to dumb myself down a lot" -

Lets examine that statement right there, he is right R&B use to be up and down the billboard hot 100 charts. Through out my childhood, teen and young adult years R&B was a dominate force. The 1990s and early 2000's specifically was a great time for R&B artist and the music. It even went through phases like contemporary R&B, New Jack Swing, R&B/Pop, Hip-Hop Soul and Neo soul. 

There was a variety of R&B artists featured on the mainstream charts on a regular basis. There was the vocalists and balladeers. Like Whitney Houston (Even thou some will argue she was more pop, but we know her roots) Luther Vandross, Toni Braxton, Anita Baker, Jill Scott, Joe, Carl Thomas. Hip-Hop Soul artists and groups like Mary J Blige, Jodeci, Faith Evans.

The singer/song writer; Angie Stone, Babyface, Ne-yo, D'Angelo, Raphael Saadiq & Dwayne Wiggins of Tony Toni Tone. This is just to name a few, Ty who is not only a singer, he also is a song writer and composer that also plays a varierty of different instruments.

His father is a member of 70's funk group Lakeside, so we know the man was blessed with the gift of music. Ty is featured on almost ever popular song you hear on the radio today. But in order for him to be in this current position that he is in. He said himself he had to dumb his self down in order to be where he is right now.

The sad reality is that he is not the only R&B artist that has had to do that. Take an artist like Ledisi, one of the better R&B singers we have out right now. She has a current album she just released this year called "Let Love Rule". Take a visit to the billboard charts, you will see Ledisi falls under the category of "Adult R&B" and her latest single "High" is number 10 on that chart.

If you wonder what "Adult R&B" is, pretty much that is billboard way of saying. Well an artist is no longer in the youth demographic and their not top 40, long story short. Now visit the Billboard 100 and you will see she is no where to be found on the Hot 100. Now let's put Ty Dolla $ign quote into perspective.

He said he had to dumb his music down and because of that he was able to receive the notoriety and airplay on the radio as an R&B artist today. Ledisi sticks to the traditional sound of R&B and she is on the R&B charts under "Adult R&B" and no where on the BB Hot 100 charts at the moment. In conclusion R&B artist who has a particular sound or lyrics fall in the line of a more traditional format for R&B. So if it is a less of a ratchet type of sound the further away from the Hot 100 an R&B artist will be.

R&B artists like Ty Dolla $ign are more raw and blunt in their lyrics in the same vein of Hip-Hop. Then the R&B we are use to and that is okay. But it is a shame artists like Ty and many more can't  make the music they want to make. The balance is gone in R&B music on the charts, and that what the downfall is.

This is why lovers of R&B, says the genre is dead. When they get in their cars, they turn on the radio a listener may be able to hear Ty Dolla Sign. But are they hearing artists like Ledisi? Depending on the radio market probably not on mainstream. And this is where dumbing down the sound comes into play in order to be heard.

I have heard some of the songs from Ty latest project and its not too bad. His debut album Free TC was a better project and more cohesive the EP's and that bring it back to full circle on why he dumbed his self down. Which is a shame because I like his music and know that one day he will create a body work on his own accord that will be a classic and until then we have to accept what we hear on radio or in my case I go and find the R&B I want to hear.

I guess the industry will have to smarten up and start to let the artist be great the way they want to it be. Let's Make R&B great again. There are plenty of R&B artists out now who makes great music, it is our job as the listeners to push them back into the forefront where they belong.

Or we will keep getting artist who stifle their genius for the luxury of being on lit on the radio.

To check where Ty quote came from follow the link.


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