How the mighty have fallen … Remember when Chris Brown literally had the R&B game in the cobra clutch? The young phenom who was being showered with praises, and admiration has now morphed into the spokesperson for Wifebeating Anonymous. The man who was #1 on my column last year, “The 10 Hottest R&B Singers in the Game,” has not only slipped out of the top spot, but the list entirely.
I made people cringe, yell, curse, and even threaten me because of this infamous list. Well guess what? I’m back to receive the love and support that I was paraded with. I’ll be honest, this list was even harder because truth be told, the game has been dry. Once again, I want to remind people who didn’t comprehend the logic behind how the list was constructed the first time around that I’m basing this on who’s hot “RIGHT NOW.” This list is only concerned with whose buzz is heavy as of right now. Well, without farther adieu, here’s the list.
10. J. Holiday – The DC native returned in early 2009 with his sophomore album, titled Round 2. With songs like “It’s Yours” and “Fall” garnering attention from the airwaves, Holiday has provided his fans and skeptics alike, a reason to believe the sophomore jinx is irrelevant in his case. Asides from his personal work, Holiday even contributed on Chamillionaire’s song titled “Relax”, and Mims’ “Be My Hustla”. Welcome to the list my brother.
9. Pleasure P – Last year I placed P as one of the artists who would be on the verge to breakout. Apparently my gut feeling came into fruition as the former Pretty Ricky heartthrob churned out a few hits such as “Did You Wrong” and “Boyfriend #2”, which was #2 on the R&B charts for Billboard. His new single, “Under”, has also been receiving substantial plays on the radio. To further catapult his young career, Marcus Cooper laced the hook for Flo Rida’s song “Shone”. With P teaming up with cats like Flo, he might be chanting out how he has that ringtone money. Let’s not forget about his collab with Yung Joc on “Meet Me At The Bar.” And to think he needed Pretty Ricky.
8. Ryan Leslie – R.Les for Pres is welcomed back on the list simply because he provided consistency from last time. Granted, his sales didn’t reflect his consistency, but musically, he was on par. His album showcased the versatility that is obviously in-ept in this mundane industry. “Something That I Like” showcases the multi-faceted artist rapping and singing. His new song, “You’re Not My Girl”, is slowing making waves onto the scene. Asides from penning pieces for others and producing, Ryan has left his imprints on Slim’s “Good Lovin’,” Jim Jones’ “Precious”, and Fabolous’ “Fabolous Life”. Glad to see some consistency.
7. Jeremih – “I know you wanna rideeeeeee out.” Thanks to Def Jam and Jeremih, birthdays have a new meaning. Instead of simply blowing candies, the ladies are blowing something else out on these special occasions. “Birthday Sex” has been booming, and received massive airplay throughout the country. How much airplay you ask? Try being the #1 spot. The young crooner also made a cameo on Fab’s “It’s My Time”, while laying his smooth vocals on Ace Hoods’ “Love Somebody”.
6. T-Pain – There was a huge debate last year in regards to whether Pain was considered R&B or not. Well after careful consideration, I decided this year why not? I mean, all Pain has done was storm the industry with his infectious hooks. Maino’s “All of the Above”, Rick Ross’ “Maybach Music 2”, and Jamie Foxx’s “Blame It” are just examples of Pain’s genius. Pain’s innate ability to provide a myriad of hits has provided a spot in this year’s list, and of course his stamp on the game. Like Jay-Z said, the only man who could justify auto-tune is this man.
5. Ne-Yo – Last year’s runner up has remained steady even without dropping a major hit. Though he released his single “Part of the List”, he was still receiving lukewarm reviews from that record after his album, Year Of The Gentleman, was released in 08. He would try to redeem himself on Jada’s “By My Side”, but only to be subjected to minimal airplay. Still, Ne-Yo was able to rejuvenate himself on Keri Hilson’s smash hit “Knock You Down”. The record catapulted himself back on the radar, and is still making noise on several stations. This song itself, was able to keep Ne-Yo in the top 5 this year.
4. Jamie Foxx – I still can’t believe this dude is so talented. Comedian-turned-actor-turned-singer, Jamie enters the list as the #4 spot. This triple threat enlightened people with his latest endeavor, titled Intuition. The effervescent “Blame It” disseminated through the airwaves and became the anthem for people struggling to drop the Henny. The record towered itself to the #1 spot in Billboard’s R&B Charts, and #2 overall. To up the ante, Jamie’s newest single, “Digital Girl”, answers the call of haters who deemed him as lucky off the T-Pain assisted “Blame It”.
3. The-Dream – The American Dream finds himself at the same spot he was at last year with his impressive catalog titled Love Vs. Money. Thus far, The-Dream hasn’t proven to be a stranger to hits. With his album wheeling out hits like “Rockin’ That Thang”, “My Love” and “Walking On The Moon”, Mr. Radio Killa established himself as more than just a songwriter. His distinct falsetto, and eclectic sound has made him a rare commo dity in the game. Examples include Rick Ross’ “All I Really Want”, and Fab’s “Throw It In The Bag.” With a possible release of a new album titled Love King, and an expected best of both worlds featuring Kanye Titter, there’s no reason he shouldn’t find himself among the top two next year.
2. Maxwell – Many dub this man as the last real dude left in R&B. I’ll be real, the first time I heard Maxwell was during the movie “Love & Basketball.” The infamous track, titled “This Woman’s Worth”, was major. Maxwell’s last album was released seven years ago. Ever since then, we were left to ponder on the whereabouts of the man who sported the ’70s afro. Then this year, Maxwell returned with a fresh low cut ceasar, and of course the smash hit “Pretty Wings”. That one record solidified his spot as the last real dude left in R&B. His new album, BLACKsummers’night, just went #1 after selling a ridiculous 316,000 records. Sick.
Disclaimer: Maxwell is considered neo-soul more than anything, but his album was number one on the R&B charts. So just for this list, I placed him under the branch of R&B.
1. Trey Songz – This is the only man smooth enough to sway the ladies, and cool his way six spots from last year’s positioning onto the top. The new #1, and “hottest of the R&B game” as we speak belongs to Tremaine Neverson. It was only a matter of time until the young man blossomed into stardom. With a passionate voice intertwined with a hustler’s mentality, Songz has infiltrated the game with ease. Songz’ single, “I Need A Girl”, is just a dose of the havoc that’s he been wrecking the game with. Teaming with Drake on “Successful” and “Invented Sex” has proven that these two are capable of being a formidable duo for years to come. What’s mind blowing about the man is the fact that he’s even delved into the mixtape game. His release, titled Anticipation, is an opus filled with lullabys and sexual innuendos sure to fill any woman’s’ appetite. He also teamed up with Loso on “Last Time”, which comes to no surprise since Fab has collaborated with three other artists on this list. Songz’s album, Ready is slated for an September 1st release. Say hello to Trey Trey.
Honorable Mention: Bobby V, Ginuwine, and Mario
This list was even harder than the first one. Six out of the ten artists who made up the list from last year were not fortunate enough to make the list. Maybe this will motivate these cats to step their game up. Hopefully this list also shows people that anybody is capable of being scrapped off the list, i.e. Chris Brown, but I’m sure Breezy will be back. As of now, you guys are free to debate once again. Let’s get it.