R&B and hip-hop music may not have promoted a great diverse of talent in 2011, but there were memorable music artists whose hit singles, live performances, swagger and innovative fashion sense kept legions of fans singing their praises. At The G-List, we have compiled a list of ten acts who stood out the most in the scene. These artists delivered hit singles, critically acclaimed albums, addictive public images, memorable moments and possibly more. Thus, check out our list of “2011’s Best R&B/Hip-Hop Music Artists.”
R&B/pop superstar Beyonce released her highly anticipated 4 album this year that was quickly panned on arrival by critics and fans. Nonetheless, the singer did not let the bad news slow her down and gained some of the acclaim back with show-stopping performances, video visuals and chart performances of “Best That I Never Had” “Party” “Love On Top” and “Countdown.” Thus, she keeps her title as the hardest working woman in show business. Let’s not forget that she stole all the headlines of the summer with her pregnancy announcement at the MTV Video Awards.
As a new artist in 2009, DC rapper Wale garnered critical acclaim and underground following with his debut album Attention Deficit with memorable single that did make much noise on the music. In 2011, with the co-sign of top rapper Rick Ross, Wale’s fortune has changed as he earned two top five hits with “Lotus Flower Bomb” and “That Way” from his new Ambition album. Thus, Ambition quickly became his first #1 album and surpassed the sales of his debut.
8. Trey Songz
Trey Songz become one of the smartest artist in the R&B scene by delivering music continuously as his hit-making status ascends. Following a stellar year in 2010, Songz kept up his momentum with top-charting hit singles “Bottoms Up” “Love Faces” “Unusual” and the emotionally-charged “Can’t B Friends.” Songz even lent his hit-making appeal to give rappers J. Cole and Lupe Fiasco their first crossover hits. Songz is not slowing as he released mixtapes with much talked-about tracks and promised a new albums titled Chapter V.
7. Wiz Khalifa
Wiz Khalifa became an overnight sensation in the music industry when his debut single “Black & Yellow” became a #1 hit in the United States and a top 20 single in many European countries. He followed that up with additional hit singles “Roll Up” and “No Sleep.” The new jack earned a major co-sign by West Coast rap icon Snoop Dogg on the hit single “Young, Wild and Free.” The last half of 2011 kept Wiz in the headlines with his romance with his new bride/hip-hop model Amber Rose.
R&B may have become a dying genre for the past couple years, but newcomer Miguel has kept the genre’s engine running with #1 hits “Quickie” “Sure Thing” and “All I Want Is You.” The California singer currently boasts a top five single with Nigerian rapper Wale with the slow jam “Lotus Flower Bomb.”
After easily surpassing the competition for 2010’s best new artist, Canadian-born rapper Drake continued his hit-making status into 2011. Having release his fast-selling album Take Care, Drake delivered hit singles “Make Me Proud” “Headlines” and “The Motto” to support the [still] top-selling album. The rapper also assisted the likes of Jamie Foxx, Lil’ Wayne, Nicki Minaj, Trey Songz, Rihanna and DJ Khaled to gain #1 hits with singles including “Fall For Your Type” (Jamie Foxx) and “She Will” (Lil’ Wayne).
4. Kanye West
Chicago rapper won universal critical acclaim with his fifth studio album My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. Many critics gave the groundbreaking album perfect ratings citing how innovative and forwardly the direction the collective took the hip-hop genre. West scored major hits with singles “All of the Lights” “Power” “Runaway” and “Monster.” The video imagery for each of those won additional praises for the rapper. Halfway through the year, West teamed up with his mentor, rap icon Jay-Z, for the joint album Watch The Throne which included the #1 single “N*ggas In Paris” and a sold out U.S. tour. The Grammy organization took notice of West’s achievement and gave him the most nominations for the upcoming award ceremony.
3. Chris Brown
R&B singer Chris Brown became the comeback kid of 2011 with stellar live music performances and a string of hit singles from his platinum-selling album F.A.M.E. In 2010, Brown showed he still had hit-making potential despite his public image with the long-running #1 single “Deuces.” In 2011, Chris showed his surprising stellar rap skills in the song “Look At Me Now” with rap veterans Busta Rhymes and Lil’ Wayne. Additionally, his F.A.M.E. proved that he is one of the few artists who can blend hot pop and R&B records without abandoning one genre for the other. While people danced to club bangers “Beautiful People” and “Yeah 3x”, he satisfied his core R&B fanbase with “Wet The Bed” and “She Ain’t You”, which included an addictive sample of SWV and Michael Jackson.
2. Nicki Minaj
In recent years, no break out artist has dominating genres of music simultaneously as New York rapper Nicki Minaj. After garnering a widespread fanbase from her scene-stealing rhymes on hit singles with A-List artists, Minaj struck out on her own with the platinum-plus selling Pink Friday album which set a record as the first #1 selling album from a rap female artist since Eve in 1999. While scoring big on the pop, R&B and rap charts with singles “Superbass”, “Did It On ‘Em” and “Moment 4 Life”, Nicki continued her scene-stealing guest appearance rap on many records with Kanye West, Trey Songz, Willow Smith, David Guetta, Drake and more.
Admit it. 2011 was the year of Rihanna, especially if there was no artist named Adele around. The queen of the pop music singles charts enjoyed many hits in R&B radio including “Raining Men” (with Nicki Minaj) and “What’s My Name” (featuring Drake). She also guested on major hit singles for Kanye West (“All of the Lights”), Nicki Minaj (“Fly”) and Drake (“Take Care”). None of the previous accomplishments match her string of #1 crossover hits with “S&M”, “Cheers (Drink To That)”, “What’s My Name”, “Man Down” and “We Found Love.” The Rihanna-reign just won’t let up!