Who doesn't dream about "smashing" an R&B chick … "I'm just playing … but I'm saying."
Rappers have always been on the heels of those sexy and sultry R&B artists that seem to mesmerize everyone in their path. Erykah Badu had Common and Andre 3000 drunk in love and Rihanna got two light skinned brothers popping off in the club. There is nothing like a woman that is beautiful and can hold a note.
Rap pioneer, Christopher “Notorious B.I.G” Wallace aka Biggie Smalls was the king of Hip Hop in his day (May he rest in Hip Hop Peace). He made the public service announcement: “To All of the Ladies in the Place with Style and Grace,” in his song, “Big Poppa,” and then he got a little ratchet when he spit a couple verses about ladies he wouldn't mind mixing it up with in "Dreams".
Here are a 15 dreamy R&B artists with style and grace.
Check it out!
Mary J. Blige
Many know her as “MJB” or “The Queen of Hip-Hop Soul,” but Mary J. Blige is truly a trendsetter, businesswoman, singer, songwriter, and most importantly a warrior. Blige and Diddy arranged a musical marriage with R&B and Hip-Hop in the early 90’s which earned commercial success. Over the past 20 years, the Grammy award winning singer gave R&B a more urban and edgier sound, which changed the musical genre for the better. Blige went from “a ghetto girl with hopes and dreams,” to music royalty. She exited herself out of toxic relationships with men and put an end to all of her addictions with drugs and alcohol once and for all. She found true love with record producer and manager, Kendu Isaacs, 10 years ago when he asked for her hand in marriage. She repaired her “brother & sister” relationship with Diddy after 9 years, which exemplifies their level of maturity as adults. She has come a long way and Biggie would be proud of her Ms. Blige. You always need a reformed around the way girl on the team.
Ms. Braxton or the “First Lady of LaFace Records,” is an icon in R&B music for many reasons. Toni blessed us with her sultry voice when she sang, “Love Shoulda Brought You Home,” in 1992, and it hasn’t left our sight since. Ms. Braxton has sold 66 million records, a mother of two, a television personality, a spokesperson for autism, managing her financial affairs, catering to her health needs, and recorded a top-selling album with her musical husband, Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds. We were proud to hear Toni and Babyface are back at it again when they released their first single “Hurt You.” And “Unbreak My Heart,” will always be her signature song because it is so poignant and unforgettable at the same time. Even though Biggie didn’t collaborate with Toni, he would understand that Toni has so much flair and class. The Notorious B.I.G. might have also liked the fact that this small package has some big assets. You can never be mad at the assets.
We love Melanie Fiona because she can SING! The single, “It Kills Me,” was her breakout single in 2009 because Melanie’s voice was so refined. The Grammy award winner collaborated with one of the prolific hip-hop artist of our time, Cee-lo on the song, “Fool for You,” which was an excellent collaboration in music. I believe if Biggie was alive, he would ask Melanie to work with him on a song because Melanie’s voice is passionate and soulful. And Biggie and Melanie’s parents are from the Caribbean so they would be able to talk about growing up in a West Indian household. Also, Biggie would respect Melanie’s vision as an artist because she writes song that reflects her personal experiences. You can hear in songs like “Ten Crack Commandments,” “Beef,” “Juicy,” “Brooklyn’s Finest,” “What ft. Method Man,” or “I Love Da Dough ft. Jay-Z.”
Tamia is singer that has so much refinement and sophistication which is why she receives so much credit. We are elated that Quincy Jones recognized this beautiful singer because she turned the music world upside down when we heard, “You’ve Put a Move on My Heart.” It was one of the biggest slow jams from the 90’s and continued to release our favorites, “So Into You,” “Imagination,” “Stranger in My House,” and “Beautiful Surprise.” The Grammy nominated singer is married to NBA legend, Grant Hill and a mother of two. Now, who said you can’t have it all? Biggie would be empathetic to Tamia’s ongoing battle with MS because his mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. Therefore, he understands that is vital to have emotional and mental support from family and continue to pursue your passion as an artist.
Monica, Monica! She is our Southern Hummingbird who made her musical debut with the single, “Don’t Take It Personal (One of Those Days),” in 1995. We had every right to call her Miss Thang because not too many young artists had their lead single and “Before You Walk Out of My Life,” on the Billboard Charts at the same time. Biggie would respect Monica because Monica experience stormy weathers, watching her ex-boyfriend commit suicide and other personal challenges. But, she didn’t throw in the towel because Monica is aware that you must walk by faith, not by sight. And when she released her third album, After the Storm, Monica it was time to SET IT OFF! After the Storm is Monica’s number one album to date. She receives so much praise because she learned how to celebrate life and embrace the good and bad in her life. Now, Monica is a wife, a mother of three, singer, and songwriter, and she is still one of the best urban female singers from the 90’s.
Multi-platinum selling recording artist, Mariah Carey is truly one of a kind. Since 1993, Mariah or Mrs. Cannon has won 5 Grammys, 17 World Music Awards, 11 American Music Awards, and 31 Billboard Awards. She is truly a hard worker who continues to be our “lovely songbird” that has affected contemporary music. So she has every right to be a diva and only accept the best. Biggie’s song, Sky Is the Limit because Mariah can have what she wants and be who she wants and she has earned that right as a superstar. Mariah really lives by that phrase because even though her marriage to Tommy Mottola was hell, she had a nervous breakdown, and other professional struggles, she returned to prominence when she released her 10th studio album, The Emancipation of Mimi in 2005. Many people thought her career would be over but when she released the song, “We Belong Together,” Mariah’s voice resurrected from the dead. The industry tried to break her but she kept holding on which is way Mariah is a trooper. She married comedian and businessman, Nick Cannon and she is a mother to Monroe and Moroccan Cannon.
Former Destiny Child band mate, two times Grammy award winner, and Platinum selling artist, Letoya Luckett made her debut as a solo artist in 2006 with her hit single, “Torn.” When fans heard the song, Letoya’s voice came alive. It was like why she was hitting that extraordinary voice for so long. Letoya was able to stand on her own two feet and receive commercial success as an artist. Outside of singing, Letoya is also an entrepreneur, philanthropist and an actress. Letoya owns her own boutique store in Houston. She also made her main screen debut in the TV movie, Preacher’s Kid with R&B singer, Tank. She also had recurring role in the television series, Treme and the Vh1 television series, Single Ladies. And the H-Town native is back at it again in the studio recording her third solo record, Until Then. Ms. Letoya is a prime example of remaining independent and don’t let anything hold you down. Biggie would respect Letoya’s ongoing love for music and entrepreneurship because she understands the ins and of being an independent woman.
Ms. Kelly has come a long way from her Destiny Child days in 1997. After the group disbanded, she took a leap of faith and went solo. She is accomplished songwriter, actress, and television personality. 17 years later, her career has spanned because Ms. Kelly baby is a 4x Grammy award winner , sold 87 million records worldwide, including Destiny’s Child, and received a Hollywood Walk Star of Fame with her former group. Now, you can definitely she can do bad all by herself. Biggie would accept Kelly as an artist because she has made it clear to everyone that she is different from her bandmate, friend, and sister, Beyoncé. Kelly’s solo artist gave her the fresh start she was looking for after Destiny Child because now she has her own sense of identity outside of the group. And Biggie would love the singles she recorded, her Grammy award winning hit “Dilemma with Nelly,” “Motivation ft Lil Wayne,” or “Like This ft. Eve.” Kelly is sexy and Biggie would love him some Ms. Rowland.
Electric lady, Janelle Monae’s unique wardrobe taste, singing, and last but not least dancing caught our eye right away. Diddy recognized Monae’s artistic vision right away which is a plus in his book. The Grammy nominate singer’s sense of style informs music lovers that she is heavily influenced by the greats: Prince, Michael Jackson, Janet Jackson, and Erykah Badu. Monae, dressed in her starched shirt and tuxedo is truly gifted because she is our mediator or the Archangel in R&B music. Ms. Monae truly feels comfortable in her own skin because she is not seeking approval from the outside world about her appearance. Biggie would get along with Ms. Monae because he would be fascinated with her fashion sense since he said in his songs, “I stay Coogi down to the socks,” which depicts his special unique style. He would salute to his dear friend, Diddy for adding Ms. Monae to the Bad Boy family.
J.Lo or Ms. Jenny from the Block broke many racial barriers in this male-dominated business. She is one of the best Latino performers in the world. So, there’s no excuse for other female Latino singers to make a name for themselves in music or the performing arts. Lopez is a philanthropist, dancer, singer, actress, and television personality. She truly has a “rags to riches” story that Biggie can relate to you because he knew what it’s like to grow up in an urbanized environment in New York City where opportunities for minorities are limited. He would consider Jennifer Lopez as a role model for other Latino women who have big dreams outside of New York City or their native city. She can definitely relate to Biggie’s song, “Juicy" and let's not forget she's bad.
(Aint no fun unless the homies can have some. Opps … just kidding.)
In 2004, North Carolina native, Fantasia Barrino rose to fame when she was a winner of the reality singing competition, American Idol. She released her first number one single, “I Believe” and released her platinum selling debut album, Free Yourself. She released those top-charter singles, “Truth Is,” “When I See You,” “Hood Boy,” or “Doin’ Me.” Fantasia received her first Grammy for the song, “Bittersweet.” A few setbacks in her career but in 2013, she released her empowering singles, “Lose to Win,” and “Without Me,” featuring Kelly Rowland and Missy Elliott. Fantasia’s latest LP, Side Effects of You allowed her fans to see her growth and maturity as an artist and woman. 10 years later, Ms. Barrino is fully aware the significance of her voice and understands she was destined to be a dynamic singer. Fantasia would be added to the list because Biggie always said you can have an amazing voice but people would pay attention to your delivery on stage and Fantasia knows how to rock the house especially when she is performing live for her fans.
Faith is the famous widow of the late Christopher Wallace but she proved to the world that there’s life after death. Faith’s career has flourished because she is a mother of four children, singer, songwriter, author, actress, and former television personality for the sitcom R&B Divas. She is currently back in the studio working on her sixth album, Incomparable. As you can see, she can’t stop because she won’t stop. Biggie would appreciate “Faye, Faye’s,” everlasting faith, instilling morals and values in their son, CJ, and would acknowledge her ongoing confidence to still prosper even though you may face a few stumbling blocks in life.
Who knows what would have happened if he was still around.
An emerging superstar in the game who is extremely talented. The California native can sing, write songs, and a multi-instrumentalist. She blessed the world with her Grammy nominated song, “Refill,” which recognizes her picturesque and enchanting voice. There is more to come for Ms. Varner as she preparing to release her second album, 4 Letter Word. Biggie would take Elle under his wing because she is from the “golden state,” and New York City became her second home. He would be definitely going back to Cali with Ms. Varner.
Brandy is all Grown Up! 20 years ago, we wanted to be down with this beautiful girl next door from Mississippi. Brandy is still American’s Sweetheart. She has received 100 awards, had her television show, Moesha at the age of 16, a model for Cover Girl, worked with the lovely Diana Ross, and even had her own doll. Even though there were a few setbacks in her career, Brandy is still a talented muse that has influenced so many singers including Kelly Rowland, and Erykah Badu. Many singers such as Brian Mcknight, Jill Scott, Jo-Jo, Lil Mo’ Angie Stone, Tamia, and many more have praised her vocal abilities which is considered to the “Vocal Bible.” Brandy will be the excellent person Biggie’s daughter, T’yanna can respect because Brandy didn’t give up on her dreams as a singer. Record labels were perplexed about signing her when she was submitting to demos, however, Atlantic Records and her mother believed in her goals and her career took off instantly when she premiered her first single, “I Wanna Be Down,” in 1994.
Beyonce or Mrs. Carter revealed her talent to the show when she was a member of the group Destiny’s Child with the help of her father, Matthew Knowles. But, 11 years ago she made the decision to spread her wings and fly as a solo artist. Released her solo debut, Dangerously in Love and she has been unstoppable ever since. Mrs. Carter released 5 solo albums, won 17 Grammys, and she is a prolific entertainer of the 21st century. And now she added two other titles to her belt: wife and mother. Beyoncé has it ALL! Biggie would say Beyoncé has style because she is an entertainer, trendsetter, and married his childhood friend, Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter. In Jay-Z’s case, he needed a woman that would truly ride for him and that was Beyoncé. Beyoncé is the beauty and Jay-Z is the thug but they are “the best of the both worlds.”
(Jay wouldn't let Biggie even look at Beyonce.)