RB and Hip Hop Music: What’s the Difference?

This article is a collaborative effort, crafted and edited by a team of dedicated professionals.

Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,


Rap and hip hop are both popular genres of music, but they have some key differences. In this blog post, we’ll explore what those differences are and how they affect the music itself.


RB, or Rhythm and Blues, is a type of music that evolved from African American folk music. Hip hop, on the other hand, is a type of music that began in the late 1970s as a way for young African Americans to express themselves. While both genres are steeped in African American culture, they have diverged significantly in terms of style and sound.

What is RB?

RB is a genre of music that stands for rhythm and blues. It is a style of music that is African American in origin and combines elements of blues, jazz, and gospel. The most popular RB artists include Ray Charles, Smokey Robinson, and Aretha Franklin.

The history of RB

RB, short for rhythm and blues, is a genre of music that was created by African Americans in the 1940s. The term was first used in print by Billboard magazine in 1949. RB uses a lot of bluesy harmonies and patterns, but it also has a strong beat that makes it perfect for dancing. The earliest forms of RB were influenced by jazz, but the genre quickly developed its own sound. Early RB hits include “Rocket 88” by Jackie Brenston and “Work with Me, Annie” by Hank Ballard.

In the 1950s, RB became one of the most popular genres of music in the United States. Artists like Chuck Berry, Little Richard, and James Brown started to gain national attention. Some of the biggest RB hits from this era include “Rock Around the Clock” by Bill Haley and “I Got You (I Feel Good)” by James Brown.

In the 1960s and 1970s, a new style of RB known as soul music emerged. This style was made popular by artists such as Sam Cooke, Marvin Gaye, and Aretha Franklin. Some of the most well-known soul songs include “A Change is Gonna Come” by Sam Cooke and “Respect” by Aretha Franklin.

In the 1980s and 1990s, RB began to merge with other genres of music such as hip hop and pop. This created a new genre known as contemporary RB or simply R&B. Today, some of the most popular R&B artists include Beyonce, Rihanna, and Usher.

The sound of RB

RB is short for rhythm and blues. The sound of RB is a cross between pop and hip hop, with strong R&B influences. The music is often thought of as being smoother and more soulful than hip hop, with a focus on melody and emotion. RB lyrics often deal with love and relationships, and the music often has a positive, uplifting message.

What is Hip Hop?

Hip hop is a subgenre of rap music that developed in the 1970s in New York City. It consists of a stylized rhythmic music that commonly accompanies rapping, a rhythmic and rhyming speech that is chanted.

The history of Hip Hop

Hip hop is a music genre that originated in the United States in the 1970s. It is defined by four key stylistic elements: MCing/rapping, DJing/scratching, break dancing, and graffiti writing. Hip hop music first emerged out of the South Bronx in New York City in the early 1970s. It was created by African American and Latino youths who were looking for a way to express themselves and escape the poverty and violence of their neighborhoods. These youths used whatever materials they could find—old vinyl records, abandoned cars, trash cans—to create their own sound and style.

Over time, hip hop spread to other parts of the United States and to countries around the world. Today, hip hop is one of the most popular music genres in the world. It has influenced other genres of music, as well as fashion, language, and culture.

The sound of Hip Hop

The sound of Hip Hop has changed dramatically since it first became popular in the 1970s. Early Hip Hop was heavily influenced by the sound of disco, which was very popular at the time. As Hip Hop developed, it began to draw influence from other genres of music, including rock, R&B, and jazz. This helped to create the unique sound that we now associate with Hip Hop.

One of the most distinctive elements of Hip Hop is the use of sampling. This is where a producer takes a small section of a song, or even just a few seconds, and chops it up so that it can be repeated over and over again. This creates a kind of rhythm that can be used to create a beat. Sampling is now used in all sorts of music, but it was first used extensively in Hip Hop.

Another important element of Hip Hop is the MC, or rapper. MCs rap over the beats created by producers, and they often use rhyming lyrics. Rapping is now one of the most important elements of Hip Hop, and it has helped to make it one of the most popular genres of music in the world.

The difference between RB and Hip Hop

RB and Hip Hop music are two popular genres that are often confused for one another. While they share some similarities, there are also some key differences between the two. RB is short for rhythm and blues. It is a genre that was created in the 1940s and is known for its soulful sound. Hip hop, on the other hand, is a genre that originated in the 1970s and is known for its hard-hitting beats.

The lyrics

The biggest distinction between RB and hip hop is the focus of the lyrics. RB focuses on personal relationships and love, while hip hop focuses on society and culture. As a result, RB is often seen as more “soft” than hip hop.

While RB lyrics may discuss heartbreak, they are often more upbeat and positive than those in hip hop. In addition, RB tends to avoid profanity and promotes safer sex practices. Hip hop, on the other hand, is known for its explicit language and graphic depictions of violence.

The music

The foundations of RB are blues, jazz, and gospel music. The first ever RB song was “St. Louis Blues” by W.C. Handy in 1914, and the genre has been evolving ever since. You can hear the influence of blues and jazz in contemporary RB songs, which often feature a horn section or piano as the lead instrument. Gospel music is also a huge influence on RB; many famous RB singers got their start singing in church choirs. The lyrical content of RB songs is generally positive and uplifting, with themes about love, relationships, and Having a good time.

Hip hop, on the other hand, is a relatively new genre that emerged from the streets of New York City in the 1970s. Hip hop is primarily characterized by its heavy use of samples, or snippets of other songs that are cut up and integrated into the new track. This signature element of hip hop production was pioneered by DJs like Kool Herc and Grandmaster Flash. Lyrically, hip hop is often more aggressive than RB, with rappers talking about issues like poverty, violence, and racism. Hip hop often addresses social issues in a very direct way, which has led to it being considered one of the most politically-charged genres of music.


In conclusion, RB and hip hop music are two distinct genres that have evolved over time. While they share some similarities, they also have their own unique characteristics. If you’re a fan of either genre, it’s worth taking the time to explore both and appreciate the ways in which they differ.

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