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The Underrated Genre: Neo-Soul

By Alhia Harris
On March 8, 2013


All people do today is listen to Hip-Hop/R&B and I am tired of it. Mainstream Hip-Hop and R&B is all you hear. All I see and hear are Beyoncé, Lil Wayne and Nicki Minaj.

Whatever happened to music that made you feel good when you listened?  I am talking about that music that makes you want to listen to the whole album again and again. You cannot do that with mainstream hip-hop/ R&B music because there are only catchy songs on an album that you may like. Whatever happened to Erykah Badu, Anthony Hamilton, Jill Scott, Maxwell, Chrisette Michele, Leela James, and Raheem  DeVaughn just to name a few? Have we become so in tune with all the Hip-Hop/ R&B artists that we have forgotten what really soulful music is?

A genre that people have forgotten about is Neo-Soul. Neo-Soul music is modern-day soul music. The term Neo-soul was founded by Kedar Massenburg of Motown Records in the late-1990s. Kedar wanted to market a new style of music that developed form soul and contemporary R&B. Neo-soul is different from contemporary R&B  because its more soulful and it has deeper messages that people can relate to.  However, many neo-soul artists have yet to cross over to mainstream music because it's not popular. The music's sound focuses on artistic expression.

My top favorite neo-soul artist is Chrisette Michele.  Born and raised in New York, she is a Grammy Award winner for her song "Be OK" in 2009. She has been featured on some songs with Jay-Z and Nas. Her debut album in 2007 was called I Am. Her next album called Epiphany was released in 2009. That album debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 selling 83,000 copies in its opening week. Her recent album to date is called Let Freedom Reign which came out in 2010. The first time I fell in love with her and her music was the summer 2011, when she had a free concert in Battery Park. I was going through a bad breakup and I thought that what she was singing was exactly what I needed to hear to get over my ex-boyfriend. Ever since then when I am going through something I listen to her. When Chrisette Michele she sings her heart out. I love her voice because it sounds different. It doesn't remind me of Beyoncé, but it reminds me of jazz singers such as Sarah Vaughan and Billie Holiday. Let us not forget what real music is and listen to Neo-Soul!!

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