I Bet You $5 You Don't Know What's Playing in Your Headphones....

Think of all your favorite artists and favorite songs of today. What's you're favorite music genre?


Yeah, you're incorrect. It doesn't matter what you did or did not manage to utter out. 

It's null and void because today's music is genreless. 

You like good ol' Frank Ocean don't you? Well, did you notice that on iTunes he lists his albums as a different genre each time? The Lonny Breaux Collection was listed as "R&B." nostalgia, ULTRA was "bluegrass" (wtf). And channel ORANGE, "pop." NONE of these titles relate to the sound. But I bet you didn't look or think twice about that and you're still playing "Pyramids" and "Pink Matter" at least twice a day. Frankie falls into no categories, and he said it himself. 

In a recent interview with Respect Mag, he responded to Elliott Wilson's question:: How do you categorize yourself? I know you’re not too comfortable with the R&B label.

"I just think R&B is so racial. I’m going to borrow a line from Duke Ellington and say it’s “beyond category.” Pharrell has told me to say I’m a singer/songwriter, because that’s what I really am. I don’t want to step off into the “Don’t label me because I’m black” realm, but I would say any artist that is killing it right now has long since abandoned genre and expanded past certain labels."

Mr. Breaux's not the only one floating in this boat. It's getting harder and harder to categorize our artists. 

I don't know if it's just me, but I can't even make playlists on my iTunes anymore because it's too much of an organizational hassle. Who goes where? We find ourselves having to, well, ask ourselves, "What exactly am I listening to?"

Nicki Minaj and Lil Wayne bounce between techno, gutter rap, and rock in clumsy allegiance to the "hip hop" genre in which they were birthed. 

It seems as if Justin Bieber is trying to trade places (see what I did there? lol) with his Mike-Jack-dancing-ass mentor, Usher. 

I literally have NO idea how to categorize the cool kids like Theophilus London, A$AP Rocky, and Lil B. 

What is Elle Varner? What is Kanye West? What is Rihanna? Chris Brown? Beyonce? Iggy Azalea? Luke Janes? You get it. The list goes on. 

We came from a time where the type of music we listened to was cut and dry. It was either this or that. What was your favorite type of music? "Oh easy it's R&B," as you tooted you ass up when "Pony" played at your 8th grade prom. "Oh duh, rap," as you banged out Clipse's hit "Grindin" with pens seldom used for essays on the cafeteria tables. "Oh, I'm a neo-soul type of gal" as you light your $2 incense and listen to Jill Scott's greatest hits. 

How would you answer that now? Think about it. How could you? The biggest put-someone-in-their-place statement you could have said to another artist is "stay in your lane." Welp, that's pretty invalid now. Find a successful person who's done that. I'll give you a minute to ponder on that....

Mindf*ck aside, I think this musical confusion is great. It's shaking us out of our comfort zones and exposing us to new musicians and "genres" we couldn't quite put our fingers on before. And we won't. I know it's all subjective, but hopefully we'll get to a point where people just fall into the "good music" genre and that's satisfactory for everyone. 

A pipe dream or a possibility?


  1. I've been trying to organize my playlist lately & it is a PAIN. I change/makeup genres all the time because things are making no sense. I refuse to put Adele as Pop when this woman is singing soul/r&b music. & I will be changing Beyonce from. I get confused when it gets to rappers, is it rap? hip hop? both? & don't try to put the sub-genres


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