Collection: Essential Contemporary and Alternative R&B

R&B has been constantly evolving since the late 1940's when the term first came into use, referring to Rhythm & Blues. It morphed into Soul and Funk, and then after Disco a new version known as Contemporary R&B emerged with slicker production sounds. This early 80's sound combined elements of classic Soul, Funk, Pop, Hip-Hop, and electronic music. In the late 80's/early 90's a number of hybrids of Hip-Hop and Soul developed including New Jack Swing and Urban R&B. Artists like Janet Jackson, Mary J Blige, Boyz II Men, Mariah Carey, Usher, and Whitney Houston topped the charts. By the late 90's Neo Soul went mainstream when artists like Erykah Badu, D'angelo, Lauryn Hill, Maxwell, and Alicia Keys returned to the more classic R&B production and songwriting styles popular in the 70's. In the early 2000's Neo Soul and Funk purists like Sharon Jones, Charles Bradley, and Leon Bridges attempted to replicate the rawest sounds of the late 60's and early 70's while a new generation of R&B artists including Beyoncé, Rihanna, Janelle Monáe, Kelela, SZA, and FKA Twigs augmented their sound with the influence of electronic music and modern Hip-Hop, continually redefinding pop music. This collection covers the Post-Disco versions of R&B and Soul from the early 1980's until today. - Scott Boutin