Billboard has put out their top 50 R&B\HipHop artists of the last 25 years – The tally is based on actual performance on the weekly Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs and Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums charts from Jan. 5, 1985, issue to the charts dated Nov. 6, 2010*. Artists are ranked based on an inverse point system (which just means that who ever spent the most weeks at No. 1 earned greater value than those that spent most time at the lower end of the chart).

Our list includes recent chart-toppers as well as classic favorites, platinum-selling crossover divas and quiet-storm crooners, innovators you’d expect to see and some surprising inclusions you never saw coming. But each artist is an essential voice in a genre that has become the driving force in today’s popular music.

50 – Tevin Campbell

49 – EnVogue

48 – Joe

47 – Brandy

46 – Kanye West

45 – Chris Brown

44 – Maxwell

43 – Patti Labelle

Making music for more than 50 years, the legendary singer first scored chart success with the group the Blue-Belles, which eventually morphed into LaBelle in 1971. As a solo artist, Patti LaBelle has placed 26 titles on R&B/Hip-Hop Songs and 17 on R&B/Hip-Hop Albums over the past 25 years. She led the former list for four weeks in 1986 with the Michael McDonald duet “On My Own” and has since tallied chart entries with Mary J. Blige, Mary Mary and Kanye West.

42 – Destiny’s Child

41 – Ne-Yo

40 – Musiq Soulchild

39 – Nelly

38 – Eminem

37 – Snoop Dogg

36 – Bobby Brown

35 – Tony Toni Tone

34 – Sade

33 – Babyface

32 – Gerald Levert

The singer packed quite a career into a life cut all-too short at age 40 in 2006. Having sang in the trios LeVert and LSG (the latter a supergroup with Keith Sweat and New Edition’s Johnny Gill), Gerald Levert charted 32 solo hits on R&B/Hip-Hop Songs between 1988 and 2007. His most recent top 40 single, “Can It Stay,” hit No. 25 in 2010. The track, recorded in 2003, appears on “The Best of Gerald Levert,” which debuted at No. 12 on R&B/Hip-Hop Albums

31 – Levert

30 – Jodeci

29 – Keyshia Cole

28 – 50 Cent

27 – Aaliyah

26 – Stevie Wonder

25 – TLC

24 – Monica

23 – New Edition

Before N*Sync and New Kids on the Block, there was New Edition. Originally consisting of Bobby Brown, Ricky Bell, Michael Bivins, Ronnie DeVoe and Ralph Tresvant, the quintet harmonized their way to No. 1 hits such as 1985’s “Mr. Telephone Man” before Brown struck out on his own in 1986. While the act was reduced to a quartet, they still enjoyed a string of top 10 hits on Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs until Johnny Gill joined the group in 1988. With Gill, New Edition landed its first No. 1 since 1985 with 1989’s “Can You Stand the Rain.” While the early 1990s saw the individual members find differing degrees of success away from the group (not to mention Brown’s own superstar career), all six of the gents came together for 1996’s No. 1 “Home Again” album,” which included the No. 1 single “Hit Me Off.”

22 – Anita Baker

21 – Lil Wayne

20 – T.I

19 – Tupac

18 – Toni Braxton

17 – Boys II Men

16 – LL Cool J

15 – Beyonce

14 – Ludacris

13 – Michael Jackson

The King of Pop might as well be called the King of R&B as well, considering his seven No. 1 R&B/Hip-Hop Albums (five of those in the past 25 years) and incredible string of hit singles. Though he’s no longer with us, Michael Jackson‘s music continues to live on — both on record and on our charts. In 2009, he notched a No. 18 R&B/Hip-Hop Songs hit with the title track from his concert documentary film “This Is It,” while the film’s companion album also topped the R&B/Hip-Hop Albums tally.

12 – Keith Sweat

11 – Prince

10 – Alicia Keys

9 – Freddie Jackson

8 – Jay-Z

7 – Luther Vandross

6 – Usher

5 – Janet Jackson

4 – Mariah Carey

3 – Whitney Huston

2 – Mary J Blige

And the #1 spot goes to *drum roll*

1 – R Kelly

R. Kelly crowns our list of the top 25 R&B/hip-hop artists of the past 25 years with good reason. Since January of 1985, he’s amassed 35 top 10 hits on R&B/Hip-Hop Songs (the most of any act in the time frame) and a total of 84 charting singles. Among those are 11 No. 1s, including “Bump N’ Grind” (12 weeks at the top) and “Down Low (Nobody Has To Know)” (seven weeks) with Ronald Isley. Further cementing Kelly’s hitmaker status is his staggering 11 No. 1s on R&B/Hip-Hop Albums. The R&B icon continued to post new chart achievements in 2010, as he notched his 56th top 40 single with “When a Woman Loves.” SOURCE




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