Monday, January 18, 2010

Has Ne-Yo Taken R.Kelly's Place As The King Of R&B?

Last night, I stumbled into one of my usual music debates. One thing that I personally enjoy is getting other music fans opinions about the artists that make up the genres.

Though many will deny this point, some artists succeed at knocking others off of their pedestals. For example, many female artists have been trying desperately to get on Beyonce’s level when it comes to vocals and performance skills, with some failing miserably.

But that’s another topic for another post.

Two artists that popped up for debate were Ne-Yo and R.Kelly. What was funny about this debate was the fact that Ne-Yo and Kelly had problems with one another a couple of years back after life was pumped into drama between the two when they toured together. R.Kelly was reportedly being a diva and Ne-Yo was sick of it.

It’s no secret; Ne-Yo has practically solidified himself as the go-to person when it comes to writing hit songs and being featured on records with top artists. He can sing just as well as he can write, and when it comes to music he understands its general make up and what it takes to make a universal hit.

R.Kelly ruled the 90’s and most of the early 2000’s with his “baby making” singles that became fan favorites, not to mention songs that went on to be elementary school graduation staples; but with his recent album performing horribly, it leads me to question if he is still relevant.

Is Ne-Yo the new King of R&B? And if so, is there still room for R.Kelly?

It took just one solo album to catapult Ne-Yo into success. In My Own Words spawned the hits “Stay”, “Sexy Love” and “So Sick” making Ne-Yo a household name. But before his album, Ne-Yo did the job of reviving singer Mario’s career by penning his hit single “Let Me Love You.”

Ne-Yo has done the job of writing memorable and catchy singles for himself as well as artists such as Rihanna and most notably Beyonce’s “Irreplaceable.” He also plays a big role behind the scenes as a producer.

R.Kelly on the other hand, has seen much success from his “Bump and Grind”days to his“Trapped in the Closet”saga. He was the most sought after producer/songwriter in his day; but all of that came to a halt following his statutory rape allegations. Since then, R.Kelly has played his role in the background as a silent songwriter trying his best to make a comeback as an artist in R&B.

It would appear that most fans were not really feeling his new single with Keri Hilson titled “One.” In the end, Kelly’s Untitled ninth studio album peaked at number 4 on Billboard’s Hot 200 chart, only selling approximately 218,000 copies to date, which is a far cry from Kelly’s past sales that found his album’s going Platinum within a two-week span.

Surely, there is enough room in music for more than one top male R&B artist, but it would be silly to ignore the obvious.

In order for R.Kelly to reclaim his thrown he would have to undergo a career and image revamp that can separate him from his already tarnished image. Expecting those who are not fans of him to just forget about his personal drama would be naïve of him.

Not to sound cliché here, but if I were R.Kelly I would sign up to have my own reality show. Yes, everyone is doing it which makes it a little annoying to see another one, but he needs to prove to those that are not convinced that he is a changed man that he is, and the best way to do that is to allow fans to get a glimpse into his everyday life.

Perhaps then fans will be willing to gravitate towards him once again.

It is quite competitive in the music industry today and the one thing music consumers don’t want is music that sounds like something they are familiar with. Fresh and new is always in demand and the artist that is giving everything new at the moment is Ne-Yo.

In any case, Ne-Yo holds the title; so anyone interested in getting it back, needs to find a way to top what Ne-Yo is supplying. Good luck!

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