Of course you did not open this with the notion that we, PresumeFlyness would have the answer for you, did you?...
The question stands... What happened to music?
With artist such as Bryson Tiller, PartyNextDoor, Future, and more the "sound" of music, its gradual transition should not be a smack in the face to anyone. I would say this new sound started to change when work like Drake's "Come Back Season" and KiD CuDi's "A KiD Named CuDi" (to name a couple) came about giving males who were so involved with pop culture the okay to tap into those not-so-masculine feelings. KiD CuDi was making dope music giving the audience something to bump to, but the audience and the industry was having a difficult time putting a specific genre on this music.
"It's like I would play all my stuff for everybody and you know all people would give me feedback and they would be like, 'Yo... yo why... why your shit sound so different?...' I would be like, 'Why not not?... Nigga'" KiD CuDi - Man On The Moon (The Anthem)
Drake from the beginning of his career was dropping music that the majority was favoring. Tracks like "B***H Is Crazy" and "Ignant S**T" would have an audience ranging from Onyx listeners to people who love Taylor Swift; Drake has quite a diverse crowd. Rapping and singing on a verse now had its place in music and Drake is presently killing the game. I was even told once that "Drake can do no wrong."
In the early 2000s while Jay-z was dropping tracks like "Izzo (H.O.V.A)" and Cam'ron was dropping tracks like "Oh Boy" singing and rapping on the same verse by one artist would have been unheard of during those times. Rap was not really nocturne enough to set the mood (however, I'm sure it has its place somewhere in the bedroom). If any woman needed serenading we had artist such as Tyrese, Alicia Keys, Avant, Floetry, D'Angelo and Keith Sweat to mention a few. It was possible to make a playlist or play the music straight from artist's albums when that special person came over, but it was also possible to depend on the radio. Oh sure you can make the argument for The Weeknd, Bryson Tilller and Frank Ocean, that these artist are R&B, but can you truly say that? Once you compare their sound to Dru Hill and Boyz II Men, I'm sure it would not be difficult to hear the difference. Smooth jazz is amazing folks, but let us not forget that Jazz paved the way for that sound.
I remember it was the radio that gave an artist a chance to shine, but pop culture also took a change. I am not here stating that I know the choosing process of what will be played on the radio without a specific artist visiting the studio on a specific day, but I have noticed something... It would only be "natural" for pop culture to adapt social media as a means, outlet, source to look upon for news or gossip and it has. Is it possible that social media is influencing what is being played on the airwaves? One would not say this is too farfetched. Being that I am also a part of this society, because that is what social media is, a digital society. A community we're people lead the people. Reposting, reblogging, retweeting what someone else has done over and over and over again. This thus keeps whatever has gain relevancy to stay relevant, possibly longer than it should have and shutting out whatever could have possibly prospered next, specifically one is talking about music. The average Joe and Jane is the mass social media user and I can bet you that those average Js had no clue Tyrese released a new album.
I remember when there were talks about underground hip-hop, but now it's like we are searching for underground music in general and the number of overshadowed artist have grown drastically. The artist who were already well-known are no longer getting air play. Sometimes I feel as if R&B is only getting played on VH1 Soul. Is that really the only way I can see a Musiq Soulchild music video? So now, artist have to find new means to get their music to their audience and said audience has to find a new way to discover their artist's music. This means you better have a Twitter, Instagram, SnapChat.... Hell, just have them all or you just might miss something. It is truly sad because not everyone wants to be "plugged-in. Remember this, once you become plugged-in you have to try your hardest to stay conscious to get out when you have received the information you were looking for. You can become just another social media zombie; reminds me of Nicole Kidman in "Stepford Wives" or middle-aged man playing the MMO video game, "World OF Warcraft."
I can agree with something. Genre is in its own way music segregation. Why label a certain sound of music, right? In the words of James Brown, "If it sounds good and feels good then it's musical." However, those who are just discovering music now, maybe because of their age or lack of interest until now, I somewhat envy your ignorance. You will hear your first R&B song, probably a song from 1999 or the early 2000s and wonder where can you find more (thank God for the internet).
Now awards that have been given could possibly argue otherwise to everything said, but I am sure many among you have your doubts pertaining to awards and who is the best pop or rap artist when they are chosen. Remember, persons and people are not the same thing.
I am just simply trying to raise the question, "What happened to music?" What happened to hearing R&B on the radio? What happened to hearing a new artist like every other three weeks on Hot 97? What the hell happened to Fuse? You guys cannot tell me you do not miss that person selling those mixtapes on the corner with the newest tracks. I am pretty sure the MC of these radio shows were doing the same thing before the social media community opened up for everyone to live in. That is seemingly all gone now. Those people have been replaced by a huge number of artist trying to sell their own music. Why? Because they are not being heard like they use to.