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- 17:00 hrs - 19:00 hrs

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R & B

Richard J. Ripani wrote that Janet Jackson’s third studio album 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.

During the mid-1990s, Whitney Houston’s The Bodyguard: Original Soundtrack Album sold over 40 million copies worldwide becoming the best-selling soundtrack of all time. Janet Jackson’s self-titled fifth studio album janet. (1993), which came after her historic multi-million dollar contract with Virgin Records, sold over twenty million copies worldwide. Boyz II Men and Carey recorded several Billboard Hot 100 No. 1 hits, including “One Sweet Day”, a collaboration between both acts, which became the longest-running No. 1 hit in Hot 100 history. Carey also released a remix of her 1995 single “Fantasy”, with Ol’ Dirty Bastard as a feature, a collaboration format that was unheard of at this point. Carey, Boyz II Men and TLC released albums in 1994 and 1995—DaydreamII and CrazySexyCool.

 In the late 1990s, neo soul, which added 1970s soul influences to the hip hop soul blend, arose, led by artists such as D’Angelo, Erykah Badu, Lauryn Hill and Maxwell. Hill and Missy Elliott further blurred the line between R&B and hip hop by recording both styles. Beginning in 1995, the Grammy Awards enacted the Grammy Award for Best R&B Album, with II by Boyz II Men becoming the first recipient. The award was later received by TLC for CrazySexyCool in 1996, Tony Rich for Words in 1997, Erykah Badu for Baduizm in 1998 and Lauryn Hill for The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill in 1999. At the end of 1999, Billboard magazine ranked Mariah Carey and Janet Jackson as the first and second most successful artists of the 1990s.

Simultaneously, in the second half of the 1990s, The Neptunes and Timbaland set influential precedence on contemporary R&B and hip hop music.

R&B acts such as Whitney Houston, Janet Jackson, Mariah Carey, Michael Jackson and Toni Braxton are some of the best-selling music artists of all time.

2000’s – Following periods of fluctuating success, urban music attained commercial dominance during the early 2000s, which featured massive crossover success on the Billboard charts by R&B and hip hop artists. In 2004, all 12 songs that topped Billboard Hot 100 were African-American recording artists and accounted for 80% of the number-one R&B hitsthat year. Along with Usher’s streak of singles, Top 40 radio and both pop and R&B charts were topped by OutKast’s “Hey Ya!”, Snoop Dogg’s “Drop It Like It’s Hot”, Terror Squad’s “Lean Back” and Ciara’s “Goodies”. Chris Molanphy of The Village Voice later remarked that “by the early 2000s, urban music was pop music.”

According to Billboard magazine, the most commercially successful R&B acts of the decade were Usher, Beyoncé, Alicia Keys, Mariah Carey, Rihanna, Chris Brown and Ne-Yo.


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