‘People Would Rather Hear Rappers Singing Bad’: Tank Weighs In on the Toll Melodic Rap ‘Taking Over’ Has Had on R&B Music

Tank recently released his tenth and final album, “R&B Money,” but he is in no way abandoning the genre. In recent weeks, R&B has been at the heart of an ongoing debate about the factors that played a part in the genre’s decline in popularity. 

The “When We” crooner is a part of a small group of artists who have never really strayed away from their R&B roots despite the music industry’s ever-evolving trends. But, with rap leading the pack when it comes to the top record charts, Tank believes it is easy to see that music executives have elected to divest from R&B.

While discussing his new album at the Grammy Museum’s “The Drop” conversation series in Los Angeles, the singer said, “As rap takes over, all of a sudden melodic rap sneaks in.

Now people would rather hear rappers singing bad than singers singing good.” He noted that, “Radio conglomerates are in this to make money. Venues are in this to make money. A rap record that was made for $2,500 in somebody’s basement sold a million copies. An R&B record made in the biggest studio in the world, had already spent $1.2 million, sold the same one million records.”

The Ohio native has more than two decades in the music industry and has worked with artists such as Aaliyah and Ginuwine; LeToya Luckett and Kelly Rowland; Tyrese and Donnell Jones; and the list goes on.

The change in music consumption, however, has impacted more than just the rollout of new records. Tank, who considers himself to be one of the kings of R&B, said the only way to give the genre a fighting chance at once again dominating the music charts is for artists to restore the connection between the record and their own emotions.

He added, “We gotta get back to the expensive part of our music. The priceless, which we like to call R&B money. That’s where the money is. The money is a byproduct of helping people create those experiences and wanting to continue to experience that. They’ll buy into it if it feels good, if it connects.”

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