Since the '70s, urban music has been
transformed by the rise of rap and hip-hop, as well as by the
rebirth of dance music, often eclipsing older R&B accents.
Yet a hardy community of contemporary R&B stylists has endured,
adding new generations of singers, musicians, writers, and producers
who carry on the soul virtues of classic R&B--well-crafted
songs, powerful solo and choral singing, and decidedly adult themes.
Today's slow grooves trace a direct line back to the soul ballads
of 30 years past, and any fears that phat beats and gangsta raps
would render older, more lyrical R&B obsolete have been overturned
by the past decade's bumper crop of powerful young stars. Consider
this overview of essential contemporary R&B CD's.