“Don’t Touch My Hair” by Solange is a song that falls under the alternative R&B genre. The song could be classified generally as R&B, but when compared to the sound of other artists and songs that represent the R&B, “Don’t Touch My Hair” is exotic, thus getting a more specific specification. Contemporary R&B is often seen as electronic and moving closer towards the Hip Hop classification, R&B includes “key attributes are a lo-fi yet richly textured sound, ample use of atmospheric synths, occasional samples from indie music and thoughtful, often dark, philosophical lyrics” (Independent).
If anything, Solange’s alternative R&B approach could be seen more as traditional R&B, including trumpets and a jazzier rhythm, as well as more soulful and meaningful lyrics. It’s a new sound and style, but still has those small inclusions of traditional R&B. It is calm and rhythmic, while bringing an important social issue to light.
Although the music is the most obvious evidence of alternative R&B, the lyrics are also important. The lyrics are political, and band together a large group predominantly seen as a minority in history. These lyrics are soulful and come from Solange’s personal experiences. She is stern and commanding in her words, but still gracefully performs them.
Some other famous alternative R&B artists include Frank Ocean, The Weeknd, and more. Sampha, who is featured on the song with Solange, is also known for his distinct alternative R&B sound. It looks as if alternative R&B is moving closer to the original R&B. People are getting tired of the electronic, unrelatable R&B music, as well as getting tired of the very relatable social injustices our country faces on a daily basis. These urges for change are moving the R&B genre back to what started it all, but still with its own distinctive sound.