Leave it to the King of R&B, Usher, to call Diddy out on his proclamation that “R&B is dead.” In a recent sit-down with host Bevy Smith, the “My Way” crooner expressed that he wants no parts of that debate.
“How can something come out 20-some odd years ago and then all of a sudden have a resurgence in a way that people just wanna talk about it, sing it, enjoy it? That’s because it’s classic. That’s ‘Superstar.’ That’s R&B,” he stated. “So when I do hear people, even like Puff saying ‘R&B is dead,’ he sounds nuts to me. It sounds crazy especially knowing he was a pioneer and beneficiary of it […] There would be no hip-hop [without] R&B. So it’s blasphemous to hear people say anything—especially hip-hop cats—to say anything about R&B.”
“This conversation was out of love and me purposely wanting to bring attention to R&B! It was something that I saw the effect of the Hip hop and R&B balance. That balance is honesty and realness when it comes together, melodies, vulnerability and most importantly LOVE!!! This message is that R&B game needs more love, vulnerability, support!!,” Diddy tweeted.
Diddy eventually landed on the following sentiment: “R&B is real motherf**king dead as of right now. The R&B I made my babies to? R&B gotta be judged to a certain thing—it’s the feeling though, doggy. It’s a feeling. You gotta be able to sing for R&B and then you gotta tell the truth. R&B is not a hustle. This shit is about feeling your vulnerability.”
He continued, “You gotta muthaf**kas make a n***a d**k hard or a woman’s vagina wet. You gotta cry. You gotta be able to get your girl back. I don’t wanna hear all this bulls**t. It’s a lack of vulnerability. It’s our fault for accepting anything less for anybody getting on a mic. […] I feel there was a death of R&B singing, and I’m a part of bringing that s**t back!”
Back in May, Diddy announced his new R&B label, Love Records. “For the Label I’m focused on creating timeless R&B music with the next generation of artists and producers. Motown is the perfect partner for my album and I’m excited to add to its legacy,” he said in a statement. The mogul has also released the single “Gotta Move On,” featuring the trapsoul pioneer, Bryson Tiller.
Listen to Usher’s perspective on the state of R&B in the full audio clip below.