Legendary neo soul artist, D'Angelo, was once quoted as saying, "Contemporary R&B's a joke. It's sad the people making this stuff have turned black music into a club thing." D'Angelo is a purist when it comes to black music, but his point that R&B had lost some of the genuine emotion it was born out of, is true. He was also making the point that several of today's artists were neither writing nor producing their own material.
Original R&B is essentialy downtempo soul music geared towards intimacy, and sometimes, just pure love. It's the kind of music you're more likely to play after the club, in an effort to wind down.
R&B is a form of African American music, but in the immortal words of Michael Jackson, "It doesn't matter if you're black or white." Modern white artists' appropriation of the genre has churned out some of our best contemporary music. Forerunners, How To Dress Well and Autre Ne Veut, are influenced by distortion and synthesizers, but their music, without focusing solely on sexual things, remains true to R&B's roots. Inc. No World is less distorted and closer to D'Angelo's style – very cool. Like early soul music, these artists sing from their soul, and their lyrics come from a very emotional place. It's that heartfelt emotion that keeps R&B so powerful, and these musicians have tapped into that formula.
Welcome to White Chocolate : A Contemporary R&B playlist
Read our Age of Transparency interview with Autre Ne Veut here