Where Did All Of The Deep Voices Go In Contemporary R&B?
Deep baritone and bass voices have been a hallmark of Soul and R&B music since the beginning. These voices have vanished from contemporary radio. What happened?
A peek at the Wikipedia entry for the “Hot R&B Songs” of 1992 reveals two very interesting things about the state of music at the time.
Observation #1: There are more than 30 artists to hit number one on the chart. That’s a lot more variety of folks to listen to that were deemed excellent at their craft. 1992 marked the last year that happened.
Every year, since, fewer and fewer artists hit number one on the R&B chart. In fact, the R&B Chart isn’t even just R&B anymore. It’s now known as the R&B/Hip-Hop chart.
Observation #2: The kind of artists, specifically the men (groups and solo), have their own unique style. Here are the men who hit number one in 1992:
Al B. Sure!
R. Kelly and Public Announcement
Boyz II Men
Gerald Levert and Eddie Levert
Some of those names, folks won’t recognize at all today.
Deep baritone and bass voices have been a hallmark of Soul and R&B music since the beginning. Queue Points spent some time honoring a few of these unique voices - Teddy Pendergrass, Isaac Hayes and Barry White. The through line for all of those men is both the balance of strength and tenderness their music represented. Also, each one pushed the sound of music in new and impactful directions.
In 2022, the top R&B songs of the year included songs from, Steve Lacy, Silk Sonic and The Weeknd. All of these men are talented, but it raises a question for us…
So where did the deep baritone and bass voices go in contemporary Black music? Comment below, and let us know your thoughts.