Lost R&B Hooks

Ashanti is to Ja Rule as ________ is to rap songs. The male dominated industry of rap have always seemed to accept a friendly note or two from a female singer, until now.

The answer to the opening musical riddle is an R&B hook. Choruses and hooks are like commercial breaks. They are placed on songs to make them memorable. Without them it’s just a rapper with his rants.

What if Method Man never used Mary J. Blige for “You’re All I Need?” Or Puff never having Faith Evans on “I’ll Be Missing You.”

Ja Rule’s era of rap, right before the peak of snap music and the beginning of bubblegum rap, included a wide range of R&B choruses and hooks. To garner commercial success, Rap songs needed that brief moment away from the aggressive lyrics. Enter the female vocalist.

Females singers like Ashanti made the song easy to listen to, opened the song to a wider audience and helped get the message across.

Enter the year 2011 and finding a R&B hook is almost rare on a rap song. Most artists are harmonizing on their own or subbing female vocals for male.

Case and point, on this week’s Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop, there is only one song on the chart with an R&B chorus, which is “The Way” by Wale featuring Rick Ross and Jeremih singing the hook.

The variety is limited in music. Duets are practically gone and R&B hooks sung by female singers are slowly disappearing as well. —— By: Johnell Smalls


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