Radio: Urban Hits
These days, urban music can encompass dance pop, quiet-storm soul, and hardcore hip-hop, from Rihanna to Charlie Wilson, from Jill Scott to Lil Wayne in "How to Love" mode. This would all be confusing, except for one thing: You know an R&B track when you hear it. That's why our Urban Hits station mixes tracks from genre queens Beyoncé and Mary J. Blige with adult-contemporary goddess Adele and rap heroine Nicki Minaj. All of them contribute to our current understanding of R&B as less of a fixed genre (or a fixed race) than an aesthetic. It's a style of music with deep roots in soul and an appreciation of pop music's boundless creativity. Most importantly, it retains the ability to speak to a wide international audience. So don't be surprised if you hear Rick Ross' "Aston Martin Music" after Trey Songz "Bottoms Up." This is the sound of R&B in 2011.