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Transcript of NEO-SOUL (80's-90's)
HISTORICAL CONTEXT &
- The term Neo-Soul was coined by Kedar Massenburg of Motown records in the late 80's
- Artists including Motown's own Erykah Badu, Raphael Saadiq, and D'Angelo, paved the way for Massenburg's coinage of the term Neo-Soul
- The Genre itself started as a counterpoint dialogue between artists, the black community, and mainstream culture
- In the mid 90's a void in the black music emerged - this was filled by and uprising of neo-soul singers and various 'concious' hip-hop artists
- The genre was a response to the "buckshot and bling" mentality that dominated hip hop - neo-soul artists responded with mass musicality with soothing equipoise rather than anger and materialism of pop R&B and hip hop artists
- In 1997 The neo-soul genre became a definitive musical statement, with the release of movie 'Love Jones' and it's movie soundtrack
- Many Neo-Soul artists including - D'Angelo, Erykah Badu, The Roots, Bilal etc. came together at Electric Lady studios, in a new soul movement that was channeled through music and redifined music in the black community.
KEY ARTISTS & ALBUMS
KEY STYLISTIC DEVELOPEMENTS
- SOUL + HIP HOP + R&B = NEO-SOUL
- Neo-Soul combines a smoother hip hop beat, with R&B vocals, and soulful lyrics and chord progressions
- The lyrical content of Neo-Soul music is 'conscious' driven, and avoids materialistic messages that Hip Hop provides
- Neo-Soul features more live instrumentation, and reduced use of Hip-Hop style Sampling.
- Neo-Soul uses elements of Jazz, Funk, and African Music
- A key stylistic characteristic of Neo-Soul is the manipulation and experimentation of grooves that differ to those of soul and R&B
What is Neo-Soul?
Neo-Soul is a sub-genre, that combines Contemporary R&B and 70's soul with hip hop, and jazz undertones. Neo(new)-Soul , is similar to R&B, although has more soulful undertones and produces music with deeper messages and meanings.
Maxwell - Sumthin' Sumthin' : Mellow Smoothe
Lauryn Hill - Everything is Every thing
Kenny Lattimore - Can't Get Enough
Love Jones - Original Movie Soundtrack
- Redefined the male soul singer
- Made it acceptable to possess street appeal while delivering silky vocals over smooth tracks
- The "Brown Sugar" album was D'Angelo's most successful album of his career
- "Brown Sugar" pioneered the way for many following male neo-soul artists
- D'Angelo's album was produced by Neo-Souls own 'Keedar Massenburg' as well as Neo-Soul artist 'Raphael Saadiq'
Maxwell - Sumthin' Sumthin' (Album Cover)(1996)
Lauryn Hill - The miseducation of Lauryn Hill (Album Cover)(1998)
India.arie - Acoustic Soul (Album Cover)(2001)
Erykah Badu - Baduizm (Album Cover)(1997)
D'Angelo - Brown Sugar (Album Cover) (1995)
- Mother of Neo-Soul
- Soft music style combined with jazzy melodies and a Hip-hop feel
- Projects much confidence in her physical being, as well as musical style
- The Baduizm album was produced by Badu herself along with Kedar, with Badu signed to both Kedar records and Universal Records.
- Her music lyrically provides support of Neo-Souls response to R&B and Hip Hop's downturn
- India.arie's lyrics consist of self worth, self appreciation and the readiness for love
- This Album features, acoustic guitar, church organs and smooth supple beats, which are all characteristics of the Neo-Soul genre
"Like sushi, Neo-Soul is fresh enough to be served raw"
- Dimitri Ehrlich (VIBE magazine - Young soul rebels article)
INFLUENCE OF ADVANCEMENTS IN TECHNOLOGY
D'Angelo and Quest Love on The Soulquarians and Electric Lady Studios
- Use of post-recording programs (Pro-tools) to control temporal location of rhythmic events
- Advancements in musical instruments including Keyboards or electric (Korg SG-1D; Transistor; ‘80s synth; VPM styles; etc.)
- Neo-Soul incorporates similar hip hop technology, including the drum machine as well as synthesizers (Roland TR-909, Roland TR-808, Alesis SR16)
- Despite advancements in technology, the neo-soul sound attempts to stay live through incorporating instrumentation of horns and live music
-"the perfect combination of computerized instrumentation with a live feel" - Maxwell (Neo-Soul artist)
Common devices used by Neo-Soul Artists Due to Technological Advancements
- Collection of overtly personal and political statements
- Impacted a variety of audiences in the music industry, even the mainstream, although was not intended to be a crossover album
- The album sold 423,000 units in its first week and 6.1 million units to date in the U.S.
- Despite the album having the benefit of significant radio airplay, it manages to debut at No. 3 on sales of 122,000 units and No. 2 on Billboard's Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums survey.
- Hill influenced and lead many artists that came after her in the Neo-Soul genre
- Maxwell is signed to Columbia records, who sign many pop and R&B artists, including Beyonce, Pharell Williams, Adele etc.
- Started singing as a singer in the congregation of his Baptist church
- A key artist in the development and creation of the Neo-Soul genre