Is Tank Right? “Robin Thicke And Justin Timberlake Are Doing R&B Music Better Than Us”
In an interview with Black Hollywood Thoughts, TGT member and crooner Tank talked about R&B music. I know we’re a tad bit exhausted by artists claiming it’s dead and that there’s too much sex being sung about, but he made some very interesting points. He talked about why you can’t hear real R&B ballads on the radio these days, why Pharrell’s “Happy” is a real R&B record, and why he thinks Robin Thicke and Justin Timberlake, the blue-eyed soul singers, are making better R&B than most black folks these days:
The Lack Of Radio Play For Ballads and Real R&B:
Name the last time you actually heard an R&B ballad or even mid-tempo played on mainstream radio. You won’t. It’s not exciting enough to them anymore. We’ve moved out of the age of romance and meeting the mom and the father before you take the girl out. Now it’s Twitter and Instagram and everything’s happening so fast that a ballad actually takes too long for the payoff.
So, people actually really singing is too much to think about. Like, ‘I can’t sing along with that. Where’s the guy with the Auto-Tune? I can do that.’ And people are so far into the state of reality and being able to feel like they’re apart of it that it’s actually them, that if it’s too far above their heads, then they can’t relate.
Getting R&B Back To Its Essence:
We have to get back to making R&B for everybody. Not just for one place in time. Not just for the bedroom. Not just for the bathroom. If you think about it, “Happy” is an R&B record that Pharrell just made. That’s an old school, throwback R&B record. That’s what R&B used to sound like.
We have to get back to that. Making that kind of music. “Happy.” So we can sing on the Oscars, along with Pharrell, who’s–him, Robin Thicke, Justin Timberlake who are leading the charge in R&B music. We can’t hate! We can’t hate on what it is! The truth is what it is. And Robin Thicke and Justin Timberlake are doing R&B music better than us. We need to catch up.
Tank also took to Twitter to elaborate on what he was trying to say after the fact:
“When R&B artist start singing about more than just sex and the club we’ll get our life back!.. #truth”
“Check my singles and get back to me if u have something to say on the subject!.. #ileadbyexample”
“Don’t pick an artist to direct my statement towards! The R&B community as a whole is in jeopardy! We ALL have work to do!..”
I hear what Tank is saying, but there are actually some very talented people making amazing R&B albums these days that might not get the same shine in the mainstream, and while I love JT (who even writes for Bey and Rihanna from time to time) and can appreciate Robin Thicke, they’re not doing it that much better than a Janelle Monae, a Miguel, a Frank Ocean, a Ledisi, a Solange and more. It’s just easier for them to get their music to the masses and on the main stage at awards and more. But just because someone’s music is not number one on radio (who really listens to radio like that these days though?) doesn’t mean R&B isn’t thriving just because what we hear from those R&B artists on the radio sounds more like pop.
But what do you think about what he had to say?