Tuesday, September 16

Term Alert: PBR&B

A friend recently used a new term: "PBR&B" - a situation that exists when PBR-drinking hipsters clamor for modern R&B music.

But to call it a genre is a misnomer. How is PBR&B any different than non-brewed-R&B? Many of the acts now called "PBR&B" have no characteristics that set them apart from even modern R&B: Frank Ocean, How To Dress Well, Miguel, the Weeknd and (one of my personal favorites) Jhene Aiko. No one would call any of these acts anything other than R&B.

So what is PBR&B and can you use it in a sentence?

Eirik Lande (credited with coining the phrase in 2011) writes in Pitchfork, “It’s one of those genres that describes an imagined fanbase.” It's basically a marketing term, a classification of how to package an artist or their music to appeal to the PBR&B crowd - hipster and indie-music fans of all colors who love small venues, honest artists, soulful storytelling and marijuana-friendly/chill-wave rhythms. “In more modern terms, it’s music rooted in African-American traditions that… might sell to young white people for whom other types of more rhythm-focused or bluesy modern R&B might not," Lande writes. 

To me, PBR&B is the definition of the audience: the crew of people that would gather in the Gobi Tent at Sahara to catch Jhene Aiko on a Coachella afternoon. One could make a PBR&B playlist for a relaxing afternoon on the beach. Or I might utter something like, 'well, it'll be a PBR&B crowd so I'll wear my skinny jeans.'

For an auditory journey, here's a Spotify Playlist for your perusal: