A few months ago, MTV had the liberty of constructing a list which consisted of the top 10 hottest rappers in the game. This incredulous list made fans, and rappers cringe in utter disgust as the “professionals” weeded out the good from the bad. Though the list drew a lot of controversy, and was considered an abomination to hip-hop. It made rappers step their game up. If all it took was a list for rappers to step their game up, then I figured maybe if someone compiled a group of male R&B singers, and made a list resembling the MTV standards maybe, then just maybe, we would see the same angst, and vigor among R&B singers.
Genius right? Well, I decided to take the liberty in orchestrating such a list. I’ll be honest, the process was very tedious, and arduous, but it was done. I’m ready for the shots, and the “you’re stupid comments” Here we go.
Hottest 10 R&B Singers Right Now
10. Justin Timberlake – If we were going by overall talent, and accomplishments, JT would undoubtedly be among the upper echelon. Futuresex / Lovesounds was dubbed as a classic, and instantly created comparisons between JT and Usher, as to whom was the king of R&B. Timberlake was owned the charts with three #1 hits, including “My Love,” “What Goes Around,” and “SexyBack.” Since then, JT has been relatively quiet. It has been said that JT has taken some time off to pursue acting. Though that maybe true, earlier this year Justin made an appearance on Madonna’s “4 Minutes” that ended up in the Hot 100 on Billboard.
9. Mario – The kid who was tired of being “just a friend” turned into a man with his heartfelt single “Music For Love.” Mario is currently working on his fourth album that yet-to-be-titled, but is still making noise on the radio with “Music For Love.” Also, Mario recently joined forces with the sultry Keyshia Coles on the remix for “Heavensent.” Let’s not forget about “Crying Out For Me” that had the ladies clutching on to their pillows at night in need of young crooner’s touch.
8. Robin Thicke – The young stud fresh from Cali had women wooing with his last CD, The Evolution of Robin Thicke. This year, Thicke left his imprints on a couple of our favorite rappers tracks including 50 Cent’s “Follow My Lead,” and Lil Wayne’s “Tie My Hands.” Though he has been busy doing features, Mr. Thicke has returned on the R&B scene with his electrifying single “Magic.” To up the ante, Thicke just did a remix of the record starring the Queen of R&B, Mary J Blige.
7. Trey Songz – Alright, this one was a difficult one. Trey Songz is sitting at #7 because Trey Day simply elevated his stock. The singles, “Wonderwoman,” “Can’t Help But Wait,” and “Last Time,” dominated the R&B charts. He even provided some assistance on Scarface’s “Girl U Know,” and LL Cool J’s “Girl If I.” Though Robin just dropped a single, it’s not fair to ignore what Trey has done. As of now, Trey is currently working on his album titled Ready, expected to come out later this year.
6. Ryan Leslie – Songwriter-turned-R&B star, Ryan Leslie has taken off from writing and producing behind the scenes to pursue his career as an R&B phenom. Thus far Lesile has connected on all angles on only two singles. Yes the man doesn’t have an album, and he’s #6, but the reason he’s that high is because “Addiction” is blazing on the airwaves, and is arguably the summer anthem. In addition, “Diamond Girl” is still receiving love on the air waves. With both songs sitting on the Hot 100, Leslie can only find himself moving on up.
5. Usher – I don’t know if Usher is suffering from the Penny Hardaway fall off, or what, but Usher has been slipping in the eyes of many. In 2005, Usher delivered on the classical opus Confessions, and sold over an astounding 10 million records. With his recent release of his fifth album titled Here I Stand, Usher has received lukewarm reviews mixed with harsh criticism pertaining to his live performances. Though “Love In This Club” peaked #1 on Billboard’s Hot 100, “Love In This Club, Pt. II,” and “Moving Mountains” didn’t fair the same.
4. Lloyd – Lloyd is steadily becoming one of the most consistent R&B cats in the game right now. With the success of his last album Street Love, Lloyd has decided to play teacher this time around and school a few cats on the protocols of R&B by releasing Lesson Of Love. Lloyd kept the formula the same by featuring Lil Wayne on his new single “Girls Around the World.” Prior to his new album, Lloyd also kept busy by hopping on Huey’s “When I Hustle,” and Pitbull’s “Secret Admirer.”
3. The Dream – Like Leslie, Dream has made a similar transition from songwriter to R&B star. Dream’s eclectic sound, and versatility has opened up a lot doors for him this year. Aside from the effervescent “I Love Your Girl,” which was triumphant on the charts, Dream has made a stamp on being the new hit man for hooks. From LL Cool J’s “Baby,” to Gym Class Heroes “Cookie Jar,” to Plies “Please Excuse My Hands,” The Dream can’t be stopped. The precocious songwriter is putting everybody on right now, including his damn self as he continues to cash check after check.
2. Ne-Yo – Could 2008 indeed be the Year of the Gentleman? Well if Ne-Yo keeps stroking the pen the way he has, then I don’t see a problem. Ne-Yo has yet to falter, and continues to make his presence felt on the charts and on the radio. The maestro is coming fresh off a platinum album, and has been hot from the field by connecting with his first single “Closer,” and his follow up single “Miss Independent.” His feature on Piles’ “Bust It Baby (Pt. 2)” helped him remain on the scene. Ne-Yo even got his swag on, with the pretentious “A Mille” freestyle taking shots at the man who’s sitting at number one.
1. Chris Brown – All it took was three years for the kid to take the crown. With a go-getter mentality, the then 16-year-old came, saw, and conquered the R&B game. Right now, Chris Breezy is sitting comfortably at the #1 spot. Breezy has gained love from different facets of the music industry. Brown recently was featured on Nas’ “Make the World Go Round,” off of Nasir’s Untitled album, and was anointed as the “young Michael Jackson” by the legendary MC. Brown continues to have fans oozing and gushing for more as his last CD, Exclusive, which wheeled in almost 2 million copies, and three Top 5 Billboard hits. Though Brown has recently embarked on acting, he has recently re-released Exclusive with four brand new songs.
On the Verge: Sterling Simms, Sean Garrett, Pleasure P
This is it. It was hard, but I think I got it right. These are the ten hottest R&B cats out right now. Hopefully these artists step their game, and contest Chris Brown for that top spot, because right now, he’s the man in charge. Let the debating begin.