Eighties R&B

Worst thing that ever happened in African American music was the mutual hostility that broke out between rap and R&B in the Eighties. The rappers referred to R&B as “romance and bullshit” while the Quiet Storm folks had a tendency to dismiss the new thing as noise. Eventually, Mellow Man and Mary J. would get around to working that out, but it did mean that a lot of potential listeners didn’t give one or the other style the attention it deserved. I owe half of this list to Ed Pavlic, who convinced me to really listen to Luther, Anita, Deniece and Sade. Nelson George’s The Death of Rhythm and Blues delves into the stylistic and generational divisions of the time.

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