luniz - i got 5 on it (1995)

… and 19 years later, DJ Mustard dominated the radio with this sound. 

“Alternative” or “experimental R&B” is a term that needs to die… It’s not a genre, but more like a door to condescension. By adding the prefix, it sidelines R&B itself by implying it’s not experimental, boundary-pushing or intellectual. It throws side-eye at the genre, while at the same time claiming to have discovered something worthy within it. To call someone “alternative R&B” is pretty much the ultimate musical negging: it feels like it’s not so far away from saying, “This is innovative… for R&B.” It allows curious outsiders to have their say while still maintaining a spectre of segregation. It keeps R&B perpetually in another room… White artists making R&B, like How to Dress Well and Banks, are frequently cited at the forefront of the “movement” of “alternative R&B” alongside black artists like Twigs, Kelela, Sampha and Frank Ocean. It goes without saying that all of these people are making vastly different music. How to Dress Well, Banks and Frank Ocean all quite explicitly write R&B songs, but each with production techniques and lyrical styles that couldn’t be more different… As it stands, “altR&B” seems to be a term for anyone making R&B in 2014 who is not at the top of the charts, or anyone making difficult-to-classify pop music who is not white.

Aimee Cliff (via FADER)