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Contemporary R&B facts for kids
|Stylistic origins||Rhythm and blues, soul, funk, pop, hip hop, electronic, dance|
|Cultural origins||Early 1980s North America; New York City, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Chicago, Houston, Montreal, Toronto|
|Typical instruments||Synthesizers, keyboard, drum machine, vocals, talkbox piano|
|Hip hop soul - Neo soul - G-funk - Nu-funk|
|Quiet storm - New jack swing – 2-step – Grime - G-funk – Crunk&B – Snap&B - PBR&B - Zouk R&B|
The genre features a distinctive record production style, drum machine-backed rhythms, an occasional saxophone-laced beat to give a jazz feel (mostly common in contemporary R&B songs prior to the year 1995) and a smooth, lush style of vocal arrangement. Electronic influences are becoming an increasing trend and the use of hip hop or dance-inspired beats are typical, although the roughness and grit inherent in hip hop may be reduced and smoothed out. Contemporary R&B vocalists are often known for their use of melisma, popularized by vocalists such as Michael Jackson, R. Kelly, Craig David, Stevie Wonder, Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey.
Contemporary R&B originated at the end of the disco era, in the late 1970s, when Michael Jackson and Quincy Jones added more electronics elements to the black music sound of the time to create a smoother dancefloor-friendly sound. The first result was Off the Wall (1979), that according to Stephen Thomas Erlewine from AllMusic, "was a visionary album, that found a way to break disco wide open into a new world where the beat was undeniable, but not the primary focus – it was part of a colorful tapestry of lush ballads and strings, smooth soul and pop, soft rock, and alluring funk".
Richard J. Ripani wrote that Janet Jackson's Control (1986) was "important to the development of R&B for a number of reasons", as she and her producers, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, "crafted a new sound that fuses the rhythmic elements of funk and disco, along with heavy doses of synthesizers, percussion, sound effects, and a rap music sensibility." Ripani wrote that "the success of Control led to the incorporation of stylistic traits of rap over the next few years, and Janet Jackson was to continue to be one of the leaders in that development." That same year, Teddy Riley began producing R&B recordings that included hip hop influences. This combination of R&B style and hip hop rhythms was termed new jack swing and was applied to artists such as Bobby Brown, Keith Sweat, Al B. Sure!, Guy, Jodeci and Bell Biv DeVoe.