Is Mary J. Blige The Greatest?

While browsing my Twitter timeline today I came across an interesting tweet from Billboard Magazine. The weekly had chosen their top 50 R&B/Hip Hop artists of the last 25 years and was inviting the public to weigh in on their choices. Before clicking the link I kinda rolled my eyes and thought to myself “If Mary J. Blige isn’t #1 this list is totally bogus.” However, I soon remembered the accomplishments of R. Kelly over the last 15+ years and quickly added him to my list of potential number ones. Truthfully, when looking at influence and overall chart performance, only Mary or Kelly could have possibly been chosen as the number one and number two picks.

To my surprise, Billboard totally agreed with me and indeed Mary and Kelly held the top two positions. But which came in at #1?

Check the top 10 below and click here to view the rest of the top 50.

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


  1. I don’t know if Whitney Houston belongs on an R&B list, she was mostly Pop and was rarely seen on the R&B charts after her first album.

  2. I don’t think Usher should have topped Luther Vandross. No way. No how

  3. She’s up there but not the greatest. But she has that stage thing going and her soulful voice is amazing.. They did good but I would have preferred Beyonce before Alicia…

  4. @ BORED it dosent matter your opinion is this list goes by strictly numbers and chart stats so this list in not made up Mary deserves this not no dam overated Bee or no talent Alicia..The list proved that Mary J. Blige is the most sucessful Female R&B Artist according to charts stats sales and longevity so eat it haters

  5. I thought Jay-Z is a rapper. Sure Alicia Keys is good but I would not put her in my top 10. Same with Mariah Carey. But the public made their decision… just like when the booted Brandy off DWTS.

  6. @COCO…Billboard combined the list when they got rid of black artists charts. The public didn’t choose…Billboard based their decisions off chart history for the last 25 years. People with number ones hold more weight than those who spent more time lower on the charts. The list is right based off of numbers and charting. IF it was based off actual chart success Mary wouldn’t have charted so high. Janet would be the number 2 female behind Aretha and still number 5 based on #1s alone(16). Billboard says she has 15 but they forgot “call on me” with Nelly which was her last #1 on that chart.

  7. This is off chart supply/statistics, but everyone has to remember that its the R&B CHART. Mary is the reigning queen of R&B. If it was pop, Whitney, Mariah, and Beyonce would be in front of her and R. Kelly.

  8. @ T, I sort of paused for a minute, too when my eyes scanned Freddie Jackson. I was a little surprised about that one.

  9. @Coco, it says R&B/Hip-Hop, and I wonder why they have to combine the list like that.

  10. When I think of r&b, I think of Mary and R Kelly not the greatest but rarely intentionally sold out to Pop. There are truly others who I could think but these two are no brainers. Alicia is r&b but has a cross over appeal. I’ll take Janet any way you slice it. Her Janet album was great r&b anytime any place was my jam

  11. Jill Scott, Eryka Badu, Leisis, Lauryn Hill, Regina Belle, Phyllis Hyman, Stephanie Mills, Angela Bofill, Chante Moore, Toni Braxton just to name a few. If we are talking RnB let’s get real. Maxwell, Keith Washington, Kevon Edmonds, Rapheal Sediq, KC and or JoJo regardless of what their situation was or is they are RnB. It is time to stop letting pick our music for us.

  12. This is a list of figures. People forget that in his day, Freddie Jackson was HUGE at R&B. He had like 10 number one R&B singles or something like that. This list makes total sense if you grew up in the era when these artists were popular.

  13. This list is based on an inverse point system awarded to each act based on actual chart performance on the Billboard hot R&B/hip hop singles and albums chart over the last 25 years. This is each artists chart history not anyones opinion. Its based on how long and how many times each artists made to No.1 on these charts..regardless of classification (pop, r&b, hip hop) whatever. Another way to rank would be by strickly sales…but thats just another metric.

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