During the nineties, you couldn’t turn on any radio station and not hear the latest hit from Black singers and groups. Simply put, the music was stellar; even one-hit wonders went platinum. Black music became the standard for contemporary music and the decade flourished.
Dance clubs were always filled and people were always excited to get the latest cut from their favorite artists.
Record stores flourished and so did the bank accounts of many record labels that promoted Black music.
Remember groups like, Jodeci, Boyz II Men, Dru Hill, Tony, Toni, Tone’, Mint Condition, Bell Biv Devoe, Shai, H-town, Hi-Five, Next, Silk, Troop, After 7, Soul II Soul, Jagged Edge, and the great females that complimented the male groups: TLC, Brownstone, EnVogue, SWV, Total, Jade, Blaque, Allure, and the all too numerous one-hit wonders, you never got bored listening to the music. There was always somebody ready to blow up. As in Janet Jackson, Aaliyah, Mary J. Blige, Toni Braxton, R. Kelly, Usher, just to name a few.
But then, by the end of the decade, things started to change.
For one thing, the music changed. Today’s version of chart-topping R&B, hijacked by techno-club production, overdubbed vocals and hip-hop cadence, has sparked a fierce debate about the state of popular soul music. So which came first: the demise of the singing soul group or the deterioration of R&B music?
One of the parallels one can make here is that traditionally, R & B singers and groups got their start in the church, going all the way back to the 50’s, this tradition introduced many great singers and exposed a tremendous array of talent that was in the Black community.
Today, many Black artists can barely hit a note. Don’t even think about putting them onstage with legends like Aretha Franklin.
Whatever the case, music is dead today.
And I do believe that it’s because of the lack of quality Black music that has made many record listeners and buyers turn away from music all together.
We need a change.