So where does this leave us? Here are a few inane lines of reasoning for slapping the PBR&B label on an artist:
They make progressive, forward-thinking R&B that doesn’t necessarily sound like Trey Songz or whoever the hell gets played by “urban”—another cringe-worthy term—radio stations. But wait, didn’t Miguel’s singles get tons of radio play? Yes. And Drake and the Weeknd’s “Crew Love” is all over the place, too, right? Double yes. Oh, OK.
They give away their music for free, be it Miguel dropping three gratis EPs in succession, the Weeknd doing the same but with full-lengths, or Frank Ocean releasing his sorta-debut, Nostalgia, Ultra, via his Tumblr like any good OFWGKTA associate. Wake me up when giving away something for free means you’re a hipster, because … fuck my life.
They’re only praised by the niche “hipster” publications. Wrong: Find me a magazine, website, WHATEVER that was especially critical of any of these singles, albums, or EPs from these guys. Seriously, they get love across the board and and in no way belong to an exclusively hipster fanbase. Side note: it’s well known that our buddy Anthony Fantano over at the Needle Drop didn’t loveChannel Orange or the Weeknd’s releases. To each his/her own.
Their supposed “image.” Abel Tesfaye, aka the Weeknd, and Tom Krell, aka How to Dress Well, have that ”mysterious” vibe to them. Frank Ocean has whole “hippie” thing going on (I guess?). Miguel is artsy and rocks a pompadour, so that makes him “alt.” By these shallow standards, an artist like Prince would have been reduced to a hipster rather than the artistic genius that he is.
“Alt white people who shop at Urban Outfitters and say things like ‘swaggy’ listen to them.” Sorry, the truth hurts.