African-American music originated in the slavery period of the 19th century. It has had a tremendous impact on American music since then. Many songs have become a symbol of slavery, human rights and the fight for a better life.Today African-American music consists mainly of Negro spirituals, jazz, ragtime, rhythm and blues as well as soul.
In the 18th century slaves sang spirituals after converting to Christianity. They sang them at work on plantations. Later on they also started dancing to these tunes. Such songs have been the core of African American life for 300 years.
After the Civil War African Americans were employed in military bands. They developed a new style of music called ragtime from which jazz emerged. These musical forms influenced music throughout the USA in the 20th century.
At the beginning of the 20th century African American music started to gain popularity with musicals written for Broadway. Black singers performed in famous opera houses. In the first decades blues and jazz spread throughout the country. As time went on African Americans were even allowed to study in famous music schools.
In the 40s and 50s African Americans also participated in the development of a new genre of music called rock’n’roll. Although the more famous musicians of this period were white, there were many black performers like Chuck Berry, Fats Domino and Ike and Tina Turner.
In the 1960s Motown Records became a successful platform for African American musicians. Star performers included The Miracles, Marvin Gaye and the Supremes.
In the 1980s Michael Jackson became the most popular Black musician with his record breaking albums. However, there were many solo artists including Lionel Richie and Whitney Houston.
Contemporary R&B, as in the post-disco version of soul music, remained popular throughout the 1980s and 1990s. Male vocal groups in the style of soul groups such as The Temptations and The O’Jays were particularly popular, including New Edition, Boyz II Men, Jodeci, Dru Hill, Blackstreet, and Jagged Edge. Girl groups, including TLC, Destiny’s Child, SWV and En Vogue, were also highly successful.
Singer-songwriters such as R. Kelly, Mariah Carey, Montell Jordan, D’Angelo, Aaliyah and Raphael Saadiq of Tony! Toni! Toné! were also significantly popular during the 1990s, and artists including Mary J. Blige, Faith Evans, and BLACKstreet popularized a fusion blend known as hip-hop soul. The neo soul movement of the 1990s looked back on more classical soul influences and was popularized in the late 1990s/early 2000s by such artists as D’Angelo, Erykah Badu, Maxwell, Lauryn Hill, India.Arie, Alicia Keys, Jill Scott, Angie Stone, Bilal and Musiq Soulchild. According to one music writer, D’Angelo’s critically acclaimed album Voodoo (2000) “represents African American music at a crossroads … To simply call [it] neo-classical soul … would be [to] ignore the elements of vaudeville jazz, Memphis horns, ragtime blues, funk and bass grooves, not to mention hip-hop, that slip out of every pore of these haunted songs.” Blue-eyed soul is an influence of African-American music performed by white artists, including Michael McDonald, Christina Aguilera, Amy Winehouse, Robin Thicke, Michael Bolton, Jon B., Lisa Stansfield, Teena Marie, Justin Timberlake, Joss Stone, George Michael, and Anastacia.
By the first decade of the 21st century, R&B had shifted towards an emphasis on solo artists with pop appeal, with Usher, Rihanna, and Beyoncé being the most prominent examples. Furthermore, the music was accompanied by aesthetically creative and unique music videos. Examples of these types of music videos include but are not limited to: Beyoncé’s “Crazy in Love”, Rihanna’s “Pon de Replay”, and Usher’s “Caught Up”. These music videos helped R&B become more profitable and more popular than it had been in the 1990s. The line between hip-hop and R&B and pop was significantly blurred by producers such as Timbaland and Lil Jon and artists such as Missy Elliott, T-Pain, Nelly, Akon and OutKast.
“Urban music” and “urban radio” are largely race-neutral today, terms that are synonymous with hip hop and R&B and the associated hip-hop culture that originated in New York City. The term also reflects the fact that they are popular in urban areas, both within black population centers and among the general population (especially younger audiences).
Edward Ray at Capitol Records
The hip-hop movement has become increasingly mainstream as the music industry has taken control of it. Essentially, “from the moment ‘Rapper’s Delight’ went platinum, hiphop the folk culture became hiphop the American entertainment-industry sideshow.
In June 2009, Michael Jackson died unexpectedly from a cardiac arrest, triggering a global outpouring of grief. Within a year of his death, his estate had generated $1.4 billion in revenues. A documentary film consisting of rehearsal footage for Jackson’s scheduled This Is It tour, entitled Michael Jackson’s This Is It, was released on October 28, 2009, and became the highest-grossing concert film in history.
In 2013, no African-American musician had a Billboard Hot 100 number one. This was the first time there was no number one in a year by an African American in the chart’s 55-year history.
Plans for a Smithsonian-affiliated Museum of African-American music to be built in Newark, New Jersey, and an R&B museum/hall of fame have been discussed.
In the late 2010s, trap music became extremely popular with African American rappers such Lil Uzi Vert, Migos, Lil Yachty, Playboi Carti, Gucci Mane, Rae Sremmurd, Young Thug and Travis Scott. Drake who is half African American and considers himself black broke the Beatles record for having seven simultaneous singles on Billboards Top 10. Other famous African Americans in Hip-Hop in the 2000s and the 2010s are Lil Wayne, Kanye West, Kendrick Lamar, 50 Cent, Snoop Dogg and Jay-Z.
Drill music which was popularized by Chicago rapper Chief Keef in the 2010s was criticized for increasing the African American crime rate in Chicago. Other famous African American drill artists are Lil Durk, Lil Reese, Lil Bibby, Polo G and G Herbo.
Trey Songz, Jeremih and Chris Brown are popular African American R&B singers of the 2000s and the 2010s. and more to come are the new artist that came in to the industry with an entirely different sound, the era of trap music. seen people like lil pump, swae lee, migos