Good times and endless love: Billboard R&B/Hip Hop songs of the year across social and economic conditions.

Previous research shows songs on the Billboard charts and the artists who create them vary according to social and economic conditions. However, only country and pop charts have been analyzed thus far. In the current study, we assess the music and lyrics along with the sex and age of the artists who recorded 65 Billboard R&B/Hip-Hop songs of the year between 1946 and 2010. Mirroring both country and pop artists, after the introduction of MTV in 1981, audiences gravitated toward more mature and therefore more comforting artists when the economy is sour and social problems are more prevalent. However, unlike pop stars but like country artists, female R&B/Hip-Hop artists are more likely to place songs atop the Billboard charts in difficult social and economic times. Still, like songs atop the Billboard Pop charts (but unlike country Billboard hits), when social and economic times become difficult, R&B/Hip-Hop songs are less likely to have lyrics about leisure or fun, and they are more likely to be longer, slower, and therefore sadder sounding. We hypothesize trends in the R&B/Hip-Hop charts are closely aligned to the pop charts because “black music” is, and always has been, more influential on pop than the more folk-oriented country music. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved)