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The Top 50 R&B / Hip-Hop Artists of the Past 25 Years


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  • The Top 50 R&B / Hip-Hop Artists of the Past 25 Years

    According to's The Juice column -

    The Top 50 R&B / Hip-Hop Artists of the Past 25 Years

    In honor of the incomparable artists that have helped bring urban music to the masses over the last three decades -- and also to toast the success of our recently launched music column The Juice -- the Billboard chart team has assembled this list of the Top 50 R&B/Hip-Hop 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. En Vogue
    48. Joe
    47. Brandy
    46. Kanye West
    45. Chris Brown
    44. Maxwell
    43. Patti Labelle
    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. Kenny "Babyface" Edmonds
    32. Gerald Levert
    31. LeVert
    30. Jodeci
    29. Keyshia Cole
    28. 50 Cent
    27. Aaliyah
    26. Stevie Wonder
    25. TLC
    24. Monica
    23. New Edition
    22. Anita Baker
    21. Lil Wayne
    20. T.I.
    19. 2Pac
    18. Toni Braxton
    17. Boyz II Men
    16. LL Cool J
    15. Beyonce
    14. Ludacris
    13. Michael Jackson
    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 Houston
    2. Mary J. Blige
    1. R. Kelly

    Check the link for details on each artist's stats, explaining their positioning on the list.


    *Prior to the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart implementation in December 1992 of monitored radio airplay by Nielsen BDS and the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums incorporation of point-of-purchase sales data from Nielsen SoundScan, titles on those lists had shorter reigns at No. 1 and shorter chart lives. To ensure equitable representation from all 25 years, earlier time frames were each weighted to account for the difference between turnover rates from those years and the turnover rates that have occurred since the advent of Nielsen Music data.

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