Hip Hop has taken the US by storm in recent years, and Florida has consistently been one of the key perpetuators of its imperium, especially as of late. We can accredit this Hip Hop “boom” to the support that local publications (like this one) and artistic showcasing platforms provide for developing artists within the state. Dissecting our success even further, the pats on our back push us to take a look at what specific groups and organizations are truly at the forefront of pushing not just artistic culture, but the culture that makes up Hip Hop and its subgenres. Groups like South Florida production and promoting collective RnBae, have been leading the charge. For just about a year now, they’ve sat at the helm of R&B culture in Miami and across the state, and on December 21st, it’ll be time to start recognizing and celebrating that with RnBae’s first anniversary since its conception.
RnBae’s homepage reads “R&B is not dead. It transformed,” a line that most may take as melodramatic. However, it begins to make sense before you can even finish rolling your eyes. R&B does seem to be held to less acclaim and radio time than it was in the 2000’s. Digging through Billboard’s lists will even show you that only two of the songs in the top ten of its all time list of top R&B songs were by artists still making major projects today. Furthermore, R&B from the 90s and 2000s is the genre that twitter personalities swear by to keep a healthy relationship “vibing,” while works from today are looked toward less for the same effect. Current creative director and show curator for RnBae, Cristina Jerome has in mind what route R&B has taken, and how she’d like to help return it to grace. Her idea is that R&B, as of its current path, may seem less soulful and meaningful to some people in the way of its traditional sexual nature. She used “fucking” and “love-making” to explain this dichotomy. Jerome was quoted by the Miami New Times in saying, “I just want to get rid of that aspect and bring back the old-school R&B like Usher, Ginuwine, Brandy, Destiny’s Child, Aaliyah — bring that vibe back.” “That vibe” being a loving and sexual Hip Hop genre focused more on the heart rather than sexual organs.
The RnBae Collective is quite simply a rescue mission of sorts, reviving the slow, smooth, loving sounds of true R&B and bringing it to light in Miami. They’re organized as a collective of creatives contributing their specialties as DJs, artists, curators, and creative directors who form a networked platform catering to R&B artists. Through monthly concerts and other events that act like showcases, artists and DJs earn chances to perform on the “RnBaeShowcase” platform for networking and discovery opportunities by artists, promoters, agencies, and new fanbases. The event series was even recognized by the Miami New Times as the Best Artist Showcase in Miami for 2017, and served as a stepping stone for a Grammy-nominated artist, and locals in the area that we’ve even covered, such as Native Youth. Additionally, RnBae curates and uploads playlists of their ideal R&B sounds by local and top talents to their SoundCloud page, while also hosting a bi-weekly radio show on Dash Radio. The show “includes new music and throwback R&B releases from your favorite artists and a special DJ mix from a hand selected DJ,” which helps throw a few extra bones to DJs and local artists. Among all the services RnBae provides, such as creative directing, listening parties, photography and videography, management, etc. they can be summed up in a sentence pulled straight from their own site: “Our purpose is to showcase talent within the R&B and alternative genre, bringing a fresh vibe to Miami.”
Now, after providing so much for Floridian R&B culture within such a short span of time, RnBae is going to celebrate its anniversary on the 21st in the only way it knows how, a free RnBae R&B party at Gramps. Providing sounds, “RnBae vet” D Jane, and newcomers DJ Illusion and Juanny Depp score the flyer in the middle, while Tampa visual artist Jitt Brodie underlines the bottom. Along with the (free) crafty flower crowns that are a staple of RnBae, free shots of Jack Daniels will be present too, as well as one of a kind, hand-painted t-shirts created by Jitt Brodie at the party. The bash is sure to be a chill, but exciting one, much like the direction RnBae wishes to direct the culture it represents, but will not fail to still be an enlightening networking opportunity with like-minded creatives in the Hip Hop and R&B worlds. RnBae’s Eventbrite flyer can be found here, providing more details on the event, location, and donation options.