A new face, and new chapter, in R&B’s unstoppable rap makeover

Written by on May 18, 2024

NPR music feature writer Sheldon Pearce explores the “whirlwind rise” of Dallas artist 4batz and what it “means for the genres he lies between.” 4batz’s video for “act ii: date @ 8” went viral on TikTok in 2023. By January of this year, he caught the attention of Kanye West, and by March 2024, he had a Drake remix and was signed with Drake’s OVO Sound record label. His debut mixtape, “u made me a st4r,” was released on May 3.

4batz’s blend of rap aesthetics and R&B sounds, with his “head-turning look and sound,” reflects a broader trend in music. The mixtape’s cyclical structure and raw, tender lyrics exemplify the genre’s ongoing hybridization. Pearce highlights how rap’s influence has reshaped R&B, noting the genre’s evolution through artists like Drake, who blurred the lines between rap and R&B.

Despite skepticism about 4batz’s rapid rise, Pearce suggests his ascent challenges traditional notions of masculinity and genre boundaries, positioning 4batz as a pivotal figure in contemporary music’s transformation. “This is his moment, but it isn’t about him at all: It’s about his ability to put rap and R&B and everything in between on the same frequency.” Read Pearce’s full feature here.

Source: NPR

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