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Best artists in hip-hop and R&B

  • #20. JAY-Z

    The rapper has been hailed as one of the acclaimed rappers of all time, especially thanks to albums “The Blueprint” (2001) and “The Black Album” (2003). He has been lauded with 21 Grammys, tieing with Kanye West for the most by a rapper. He continues to release albums, the most recent of which was with his wife, Beyoncé—both under the name The Carters—called “Everything is Love.


  • #19. Drake

    Originally an actor, Canadian-American rapper Drake made his mark with his debut album, “Thank Me Later” (2010), which debuted at #1 on the Billboard 200. Since then he’s won three Grammy Awards from 35 nominations and holds several records. “Views” (2016) became the first album by a male solo artist to stay at the top of the Billboard 200 for 13 nonconsecutive weeks in over 10 years. He also has the most songs186among solo artists in the history of the Billboard Hot 100 on the charts.


  • #18. Mariah Carey

    This songstress is a successful singer known for her wide vocal range and singles “We Belong Together” (2005) and “All I Want for Christmas Is You” (1994). Her single "One Sweet Day” was the longest-running U.S. #1 single in history at 16 weeks.


  • #17. Janet Jackson

    The youngest Jackson went from television star to pop star when she decided to start a solo singing career in 1982. Her third and fourth studio albums—“Control” (1986) and “Rhythm Nation 1814” (1989)—truly marked the height of her success, with singles such as "Nasty" and "Rhythm Nation."


  • #16. The Jacksons

    The Jacksons or the Jackson 5 were made up of Jackson brothers Jackie, Tito, and Jermaine, with participation from younger siblings Marlon and Michael. They were the first group of Motown singers to have four back-to-back #1 hits, with  "I Want You Bac,k, "ABC," "The Love You Save," and "I'll Be There." They were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1997, and Michael Jackson went on to be one of the greatest pop artists in history.


  • #15. Whitney Houston

    Singer and actress Whitney Houston found RIAA success with every studio album she made—and she made a grand total of seven—including the soundtrack for “The Bodyguard.” The single off of this film score, “I Will Always Love You,” received the Grammy Award for Record of the Year in 1992 and became the best-selling single by a woman in music history. She also was known for hits “How Will I Know” (1986) and "I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Who Loves Me)” in 1988.



  • #14. Earth, Wind & Fire

    The band was a blend of genres, from R&B and soul to jazz and disco. Once described as one of the most innovative bands of all time, Earth, Wind & Fire was founded by Maurice White in 1970 and made up of many rotating members, the most prominent of which included Verdine White, Philip Bailey, Ralph Johnson, Larry Dunn, Al McKay, Roland Bautista, Sheldon Reynolds and Andrew Woolfolk. This band was the first African-American act to sell out Madison Square Garden thanks to mega-hits “Shining Star,” "After the Love Has Gone," and “September.”


  • #13. Prince

    The flamboyant, late musician was known for his mixes of funk, rock, pop, and R&B, and won eight Grammys, an Academy Award for 1984’s “Purple Rain,” and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2004. His best-known singles include “1999,” “Raspberry Beret,” and “Little Red Corvette.”


  • #12. Luther Vandross

    Beginning as a backup singer for the likes of Diana Ross and David Bowie, Luther Vandross made a name for himself with hits such as  "Never Too Much," "Here and Now," "Any Love,” and “Dance With My Father.” He also won eight Grammy Awards, including Best Male R&B Vocal Performance four times over.


  • #11. The O'Jays

    The R&B trio consists of Walter Williams, Eric Grant, and Eddie Levert, and reached their peak success with 1972’s “Back Stabbers” and 1973’s “Love Train.” They joined the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 2004, and The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame the following year.


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