Usually you can’t get a consensus on anything in this world. Ten people in one room can’t even agree on the color of dog poop, but for some reason absolutely no one disagreed with my immaculate and perfect Top 10 Male Singers list.
It’s a Christmas miracle!!!!
So, for my next trick, I submit to you the official and unmitigated Top 10 list for females. This list is also spectacular in its perfection and beyond reproach.
10. Diana Ross: Chief Supreme. Matriarch of the Motown dynasty. Almost single-handedly created the word “diva.” Really basic, straight ahead voice with little to no tricks. Think Roberta Flack. The beauty was in her delivery and tone. Covered completely in top notch production and songwriting, Diana always had a soft bed to lie on while executing a song. The Supremes were the first big girl group, and their Christmas album is a staple in every black family’s home.
9. Teena Marie: You know for a white woman to be on this list, and to thrive in a great era of R&B, they have to be tough. If I Were A Bell. Out On A Limb. C’mon now!!! Her voice was more of an acquired taste, but all the same a great voice and a great writer.
8. Gladys Knight: Underrated and low key looks like at least one of your aunts. Gladys not only looks like she can really sing her ass off, but can also bake you a mean banana pudding immediately after the concert. Seriously though, Neither One Of Us is a song that everyone can connect to, no matter the race. She nails it with the first damn line: “It’s sad to think we’re not gonna make it.” Boom!!!
7. Phyllis Hyman: She is what pain on a record sounds like. Pure emotion, combined with awesome transparency. You hear her voice and you KNOW she’s not just singing a song. She’s living it. Listen back to Living In Confusion, Old Friend, Meet Me On The Moon, and Living All Alone. She’s literally crying out. A beautiful mess. We’re all luckier to have had her.
6. Anita Baker: Chapter 8. The Songstress. Rapture. Giving You The Best That I’ve Got. Compositions. Rhythm Of Love. If I have to validate her any more than the mentioning of those albums to you, you’re either too young to understand, or have been under a damn rock you’re entire life.
5. Toni Braxton: I’ll make it plain: she simply defined the 90s for female rhythm and blues music. Sure, there was Faith, Total, SWV, and others, but only one flooded the market with great songs with great content and a great voice on top of all that. I anointed her The Anti-Mary J. Without her we would’ve had to be subjected to Ms. Blige for damn near a decade. That would’ve ruined us all.
4. Chaka Khan: This is a controversial pick, but I’m standing by it. She has been greatly underrated for her entire career when in reality, you could not pick more than two singers in her area that could put it down better than she could, point blank, period. Listen to Stay, Hollywood, & Through The Fire. Matter of fact, listen to Classic Khan. She’s singing with a big band performing standards. Treat yourself. Rich husky tone that clears up in the high register to a thing of beauty.
3. Whitney Houston: I kind of feel like it’ll be an insult to me and you if I had to explain why this great voice is on this list. Let’s make an agreement. I assume that you know damn well why she’s on this list and you assume that I’m right. Ok? Good.
2. Mariah Carey: Current clowning aside, Mariah was a force of nature for a long damn time. You remember Vision Of Love on the Jukebox…wondering why every single time you turned to the channel that video was playing. She’s one of the highest selling female artists ever, and there was a time where she could sing almost anyone under a table. Bonafide and certified legend.
1. Aretha ‘Bleepin’ Franklin: The god damned queen. I’m not totally sure if there’s anything more to add. To anyone that disagrees, my first question to them would be “Uh…have you heard ‘Ain’t No Way’?” Although there shouldn’t be any opposing opinions, I know that there’s always that one person yelling “Wait…CeCe Penniston isn’t your number 1?” Please, listen to her early gospel catalog…before she came into rhythm and blues and took a sledgehammer to everything that previously existed. Complete diva, and was on “Divas Live” frying Celine Dion for jumping out there. Simply put, she’s unfuckwitable.
**Editor’s Note** You will probably read this list more than once and believe that there is a name or two missing, but I assure you… as long as I draw breath in this great country of ours, Mary J Blige will never crack my top 10. Save your comments. If Mary J Blige is anywhere in your top ten, you’re not only tone deaf, but also a bad person, and everyone’s talking about it. What really hurt was leaving Sade outta that top ten, but I had to face the fact that her thing is more vibe and not voice. Please, feel free to comment below and tell me now much I’ve nailed third top ten to the floor!!! You’re welcome.