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Kool & the Gang: R&B groups are being ignored in favor of younger artists


Theo Wargo/Getty Images for Songwriters Hall Of FameAfter being inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame Thursday in New York City, Kool & the Gang are not resting on their laurels, continuing to record and release new music. However, leader Robert “Kool” Bell says despite their decades of hits, classic R&B groups like his are receiving less attention as record companies look to support younger acts.

“Back in the ’70s and the ’60s, [you had] Motown, lot of R&B groups, Temptations, [in] the ’70s, [a] lot of R&B groups,” Kool tells ABC Radio. “But I guess we got into the ’80s and the ’90s and new millennium, you have much more younger artists, much more support for the younger artists.”

Kool says many of the contemporary stars are sampling and re-recording classic R&B songs, yet record labels are reluctant to promote music by veteran R&B acts.

“Some of the younger artists were singing the hits of the ’70s and the ’80s, but you know how the record companies can be: ‘When was the last time you had a hit?’” Kool says.

Kool does say, though, that he’s a fan of the younger acts.

“I like to play Justin BieberBruno Mars,’” he says. “I have no problem with that, because we were young too.” 

Meanwhile, Kool says the band would love to collaborate with contemporary artists, including Mars, John Legend, and Alicia Keys.

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