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Contemporary R&B (also known as R&B) is a music genre of western popular music. Although the acronym “R&B” originates from its association with traditional rhythm and blues music, the term R&B is today most often used to define a style of African American music originating after the demise of disco in the 1980s. This newer style combines elements of soul, funk, dance, and, from 1986 on with the advent of New Jack Swing branded R&B, hip hop.

The abbreviation R&B is almost always used instead of the full rhythm and blues term, although some sources refer to the style as urban contemporary (the name of the radio format that plays hip hop and contemporary R&B).

Contemporary R&B has a slick, electronic record production style, drum machine-backed rhythms, the occasional guitar riff to give the song a rock feel, the occasional saxophone solo to give a jazz feel (mostly common in R&B songs prior to the year 1993), and a smooth, lush style of vocal arrangement. Uses of hip hop-inspired beats are typical, although the roughness and grit inherent in hip hop is usually reduced and smoothed out. R&B vocalists are often known for their use of melisma, which was popularized by Mariah Carey. .

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