History of Neo Soul

Neo Soul to Nu Soul

Music journalists have credited the successes of D'Angelo's Brown Sugar (1995), Badu's Baduizm (1997), Maxwell's Urban Hang Suite (1996), and Hill's The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill (1998) with shaping and raising the neo soul movement to commercial visibility into the late 1990s . D'Angelo's album "gives a nod to the past,mints his own sound, with golden humming keyboards and sensual vocals and unhurried melodies .His songs were polished without being slick and smart without being pretentious", while Badu "brought an iconoclastic spirit to soul music, with her towering Afrocentric headwraps, incense candles, and quirky lyrics". Baduizm sold nearly three million copies and won Badu two Grammy Awards. Hill's debut featured her singing and rapping, with deeply personal lyrics,[30] and was one of neo soul's primary successes,[8] achieving massive sales, critical acclaim, and five Grammy Awards.[46] Subsequently, other female artists broke through with their debut albums, including Macy Gray, Angie Stone, and Jill Scott.The 1997 film Love Jones capitalized on neo soul's success at the time with its soundtrack album, which impacted the Billboard charts and featured artists such as Lauren Hill, Maxwell, The Brand New Heavies, Me'Shell NdegéOcello, Groove Theory, and Dionne Farris.

The musical collective Soulquarians—consisting of such artists as D'Angelo, The Roots, Erykah Badu, Bilal, Mos Def, Common, James Poyser, and Q-Tip—contributed significantly to the neo soul movement during the late 1990s to the early 2000s with its members' "organic soul, natural R&B, boho-rap".[49] The collective developed through the production work of The Roots' drummer and producer Questlove.Following a minor decline in its hype, neo soul's mainstream popularity increased in the late 1990s with the successes of Hill, Maxwell, Eric Benét, Saadiq, and Les Nubians.[8] It impacted more mainstream-oriented R&B radio, while influencing contemporary R&B acts, such as R. Kelly and Aaliyah, to incorporate some of its textural and lyrical elements.[8] In his song "When a Woman's Fed Up" (1998), Kelly incorporated a more soul-based sound and referenced Erykah Badu's 1997 song "Tyrone" in the lyrics.[8]


With the success of albums by Hill, Badu, and Maxwell, D'Angelo's second album Voodoo served as a further alternative to excesses of late 1990s R&B and hip hop, as neo soul reached its apex in 2000.[50] A production of the Soulquarians,[49] it was an exemplary creative milestone of neo soul.[7][51] Ben Ratliff of The New York Times called the album "the succes d'estime that proves the force of this new music: it is a largely unslick, stubbornly idiosyncratic and genuinely great album that has already produced two hit singles".[10] By the time of her second album Mama's Gun (2000), Erykah Badu had been dubbed by writers as "the queen of neo-soul". She said of the honorific title, "I hated that because what if I don’t do that anymore? What if I change? Then that puts me in a penitentiary."[42] Subsequently, other artists attained success in the early 2000s, including Bilal, Musiq Soulchild, India.Arie, and Alicia Keys, who broke through to broader popularity with her debut album Songs in A Minor (2001).[2][16][52] Hip hop artists such as The Roots and Common, associated with the Soulquarians,[49] released albums that incorporated neo soul, Phrenology (2002) and Electric Circus . Neo soul vocalist India.Arie in 2004

The decade later featured a decline in output by neo soul artists, with many of them failing to make a commercial impact after previous successes or not releasing a follow-up album. Badu's commercial viability decreased as each of her releases following her debut Baduizm departed further from that album's music. Tyler Lewis from PopMatters attributed the decline to "the downside of [the rejection of the term ['neo soul']".

"The industry, which already has a hard time with unapologetic and complicated black artists, had no idea what to do with all these enormously talented individuals who rejected entire marketing campaigns designed to 'break' them to the record-buying public. As such, albums were shelved or delayed or retooled and artists were dropped from major labels and forced to go it alone, making the first decade of the 21st century the least "soulful"—however you define it—decade for the industry itself in… well, decades."

Since its original popularity, neo soul has been expanded and diversified musically through the works of both American and international artists.[10] The more popular neo soul artists of the 2010s included John Legend, Anthony Hamilton, Jill Scott, Maxwell, Amy Winehouse, Chrisette Michele, Leela James, and Raheem DeVaughn. DeVaughn has described himself as an "R&B Hippy Neo-Soul Rock Star", viewing it as a reference to his eclectic musical style.[60] In its 2010 issue on critical moments in popular music, Spin cited D'Angelo's Voodoo and its success as a turning point for neo soul: "D'Angelo's pastiche of funk, carnal ache, and high-minded, Afrocentric rhetoric stands as neo-soul's crowning achievement. So unsurpassable that it'd be eight years before we'd hear from Erykah Badu and Maxwell again, while Hill and D'Angelo remain missing. But Alicia Keys, John Legend, and Cee-Lo picked up D's mantle and ran with it". Evan Rytlewski of The A.V. Club discerns "a line of revelatory, late-period neo-soul albums" with the releases of Maxwell's BLACKsummers'night (2009), Badu's New Amerykah Part Two (Return of the Ankh) (2010), Bilal's Airtight's Revenge (2010), and Frank Ocean's Channel Orange (2012). In the 2010s, other neo soul acts included Fitz and The Tantrums, Mayer Hawthorne, Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats, and Amos Lee. Some acts now like to be known as Nu Soul artists
We now call it Nu Soul modern day soul

Soul Nights