Current state of R&B Music: Is Tinashe the Answer?

The overarching problem is that the R&B scene has a dearth of talent at the moment, and someone like Tinashe can't be counted on to overcome that.

One of the fastest-rising stars in the R&B music scene is Tinashe, as she has quickly ascended to the role of top artist on the women’s side of the coin. Despite her recent increase in popularity and overall profile, however, she won’t be enough to put the wayward R&B music scene back on track.

Most fans would probably agree that the R&B music scene has been on shaky ground for the past few years at least, but 2015 has been a tough year in particular when it comes to the lack of presence. K.Michelle, Teyana Taylor and even Jhene Aiko have struggled to connect with microwave-interest urban fans, and that comes on the heels of top divas such as Jill Scott, Janelle Monáe and Kelly Rowland taking time off from the scene as well.

The R&B scene has lost a lot of its top female artists, and it is most definitely in a state of flux. Rihanna has done an excellent job as the flag-bearer for the scene, and her new music direction is quite entertaining, but it seems like the powers that be at Roc Nation is trying to groom Rihanna into the next Madonna, Britney Spears or Lady Gaga in terms of being the most visible brand name that happens to be a singer.

Rihanna obviously has a lot going for her. She’s attractive, has a fun personality and brings a very aggressive style to her music that is lacking in the scene now that Elle Varner is out of the picture. She is likely to be even more successful after strengthening her brand through the tabloids, but she isn’t the one who is going to save the music genre, especially with a full length album of singing.

Most would agree that the R&B music scene was at its best during the “yes we can” era of the late 2000’s. And that was largely because the record labels were deep in terms of rosters that allowed for the development of a pure artist. Ciara, Jennifer Hudson, Chrisette Michele, Jazmine Sullivan, Ashanti, Solange Knowles, Amerie, and many others put out some great music and made people care about the music and message.

Current fans mostly view the R&B music scene as a punchline now, with many saying that they view the music as an opportunity to move into Reality TV. Despite the fact that most of the music sounds forced and directionless, I still try to give them a chance. The vast majority of them are admittedly uninspiring, though, and I have a difficult time getting interested in the music aspect of artists careers.

In the proper landscape, Tinashe can be an artist that shakes up the scene to it’s core. But if anyone is expecting her to grab the bull by the horns and lead the R&B music scene to the days of Aaliyah, TLC, and Ciara, they’re mistaken. Tinashe can be great, but she needs other artists around her to collaborate with. That simply isn’t the case right now, and a total overhaul is needed if R&B music is going to become relevant again.