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This Is Why R&B Music Still Matters

"I feel like I can be everything I am musically inside of that genre."

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In recent years, there have been several discussions about where R&B is headed as a genre. Some fear that it's disappearing.

So we decided to ask artists why R&B is still important today at this year's Essence Festival. Heres what they had to say:

Kelly Price

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"It's not R&B if you have rhythm and no blues or if you have blues and no rhythm. So for all of this rhythmic music that doesn't have soul, and it's not saying anything. That's not R&B in my opinion. It's a genre that just embodies so much. You have the blues in there, you have gospel in there, you have spirituals in there — it's a little bit of everything. And that's what's special about it to me. Literally inside of R&B, I can give you something that sounds like a quartet record but it's still R&B ... I feel like I can be everything I am musically inside of that genre."

Tweet

Bennett Raglin / Getty Images

"Because R&B reaches the soul. I think a lot of the stuff that's out right now is for the partying. We wanna party, we wanna have sex, we wanna drink. But R&B really gets to the soul and what we're going through."

Bryshere Y. Gray

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"R&B is important because Tyrese, people like Bilal that you've seen on BET. Floetry, Michael Jackson...they're the epitome of R&B and we just gotta keep it going. Hip-hop is dying. We cant let R&B die too, ya know?"

Estelle

Bennett Raglin / Getty Images

"I'm here so it matters. Ya know, there's me, there's Fantasia, there's so many other black artists — there's Jennifer Hudson, there's Janelle Monae. There are so many people that completely dispel that notion."

Mali Music

Marcus Ingram / Getty Images

"I feel R&B is still important today because people are still in love. A lot of the music that's out now doesn't necessarily promote love ... R&B isn't prevalent because it's no longer cool to love in the light."

Bilal

Frederick M. Brown / Getty Images

"Because it's ours. Rhythm and Blues is an American creation and it is a Black creation. And I think one of the things that happens with black culture is we tend to forget things after the last ten years and then other cultures come about, take it, and blow it up and then we sit around like, 'They stole our stuff.' But we need to really be clear about what it is we represent and what it is we're creating."

Luke James

Bennett Raglin / Getty Images

"I just think it's everyone's interpretation of R&B. R&B is in everything. I think it's evolving, I think it's getting back to a feeling rather than just what's cool and whatnot. Soul is coming back. There's a lot of soulful artists that are emerging ... R&B is forever, man. I just think it's evolving. Music evolves. There's a new sound, it's a new thing every day. I just think people gotta be open cause that's what music calls for."

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