Rnb is an eclectic genre of music incorporating elements from funk, hip hop and soul music. It is distinguished by steady rhythms and multiple instruments creating an intricate sound.
Lyrical themes often capture the African American experience of pain, joy, and the search for freedom and success. Some songs focus more on socially conscious issues than others such as war, discrimination or economic instability.
Boyz II Men – “End of the Road”
Boyz II Men’s “End of the Road,” released more than two decades ago, remains one of the top R&B tracks. A hit in its original format in America and later revived from obscurity here, “End of the Road” continues to impress listeners worldwide today. As well as their groundbreaking musical accomplishments, these guys also are entertaining people that you won’t soon forget! Their duo is amongst one of the most entertaining bands you will encounter and has amassed an enormous cult following both within their native land as well as internationally – plus they even have fans that don’t necessarily listen!
TLC – “Waterfalls”
If you enjoy R&B music, be sure to listen to TLC’s iconic 1995 track. “One Sweet Day” spent seven weeks as the No.1 song in Billboard Hot 100 chart!
This song’s lyrics are both intriguing and catchy; the story behind it is powerfully depicted. TLC sing of a man caught up in drug dealing who eventually contracts HIV; an issue still prevalent today that TLC want people to remain aware of. By singing about him in such an engaging fashion, they encourage their listeners to stay safe while following their dreams.
TLC were extremely active in raising awareness about AIDS, as well as speaking out against drug use. Their hit single “Waterfalls,” dedicated entirely to this cause, became one of the first number one singles ever released as an anthem against drugs and HIV/AIDS.
TLC sing about an individual who became involved with drug dealing and contracted HIV before dying from it, using the waterfall analogy to illustrate just how risky it can be for young people to venture outside and experiment with new things.
What stands out about the song is Lisa Left Eye Lopes’ rap verse; her words perfectly capture its message about Black American struggle and poor American poverty – providing insight into all other lyrics in the song.
This song is a joy to listen to and can teach us much about life around us. Additionally, its unforgettable tune will stay with us always.
If you would like more information on TLC and their song, visit their website or Facebook page and download their songs and videos. They remain a popular group that will continue to be heard for years to come.
Marvin Gaye – “What’s Going On”
Throughout the 1970s, many artists wrote songs addressing social issues of their time; however, few had the clout or confidence to challenge their label’s decision not to release their song.
Marvin Gaye was no exception, with his single “What’s Going On” becoming one of the most influential records ever released. It impacted national discourse, encouraged Stevie Wonder and Curtis Mayfield to pursue their musical careers more seriously, and ultimately forced Motown Records to give artists like Gaye more artistic freedom.
At the time he started work on this record, the singer was at a crossroads in his life: his marriage to Anna Gordy (sister of Motown founder Berry Gordy) had disintegrated and his duet partner Tammi Terrell had died unexpectedly.
Gaye became more skeptical of society after these events occurred, reading news reports about various social issues that pertained to him and vowing to compose music that explored these matters.
Renaldo Benson, singer for The Originals, joined him in this endeavor and together the pair collaborated on writing a song that would become synonymous with Gaye’s style.
Gaye’s lyrics explore various social issues like poverty, war, drug use and racial division in this song that opens with festive sounds but has an undercurrent of unease and sadness.
Gaye’s vocals are featured prominently throughout this album, alongside multi-tracked sessions of hand percussion, strings, flutes and jazzy horn solos – creating an album widely recognized in soul music history.
Considered an integral anthem of the civil rights movement, “Dream” earned two Grammy nominations in 1972 and was covered by Cyndi Lauper on her 1986 album True Colors.
Though initially opposed by Motown’s powers-that-be, this album and its single were widely celebrated both critically and commercially; reaching number six on Billboard Top LPs and selling over two million copies domestically.
Mark Morrison – “Return of the Mack”
If you want rnb music that will get your feet moving and your heart singing, Mark Morrison – “Return of the Mack” is one of your best bets. Still relevant today and often heard on radio stations worldwide.
It also features an outstanding performance from its singer, who uses his unique vocal abilities to deliver an impactful message and balance his samples for a smooth and enjoyable song.
There’s much to like in this song, from its catchy chords to the infectious groove. Plus, vocal effects give this tune more drama.
This song’s music also has a lot of soul, particularly the drums and basslines; this will bring back many fond memories!
Thankfully, this song can easily be found online and downloaded free of charge.
This song, released in 1996, is widely considered one of the greatest songs of the 90s. Not only was it popular across both America and Europe, but its legacy remains strong today as an R&B classic.
Morrison sings this emotional, yet non-overbearing tune about his break up with an infidelity partner. Resolve is approached in a non-threatening manner which is key for this song’s success.
Download it free from Soundcloud, Spotify or Apple Music and use its lyrics as inspiration to write your own tune!
Return of the Mack was an immensely successful single that peaked at number two on Billboard Hot 100 chart for 41 weeks – becoming an unprecedented hit across America.
It was also a massive success across Europe and Australia, receiving rave reviews on both continents. Furthermore, its accompanying album also became widely-applauded.
This album was later reissued on limited edition purple vinyl, making it the first in British pop history to sell more than three million copies worldwide. This record features several popular songs like “Crazy”, “Let’s Get Down”, and “Return of the Mack”.