According to's The Juice column -

The Top 50 R&B / Hip-Hop Artists of the Past 25 Years

In honor of the incomparable artists that have helped bring urban music to the masses over the last three decades -- and also to toast the success of our recently launched music column The Juice -- the Billboard chart team has assembled this list of the Top 50 R&B/Hip-Hop artists of the last 25 years.

The tally is based on actual performance on the weekly Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs and Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums charts from Jan. 5, 1985, issue to the charts dated Nov. 6, 2010*. Artists are ranked based on an inverse point system (which just means that who ever spent the most weeks at No. 1 earned greater value than those that spent most time at the lower end of the chart).

Our list includes recent chart-toppers as well as classic favorites, platinum-selling crossover divas and quiet-storm crooners, innovators you'd expect to see and some surprising inclusions you never saw coming. But each artist is an essential voice in a genre that has become the driving force in today's popular music.
50. Tevin Campbell
49. En Vogue
48. Joe
47. Brandy
46. Kanye West
45. Chris Brown
44. Maxwell
43. Patti Labelle
42. Destiny's Child
41. Ne-Yo
40. Musiq Soulchild
39. Nelly
38. Eminem
37. Snoop Dogg
36. Bobby Brown
35. Tony Toni Tone
34. Sade
33. Kenny "Babyface" Edmonds
32. Gerald Levert
31. LeVert
30. Jodeci
29. Keyshia Cole
28. 50 Cent
27. Aaliyah
26. Stevie Wonder
25. TLC
24. Monica
23. New Edition
22. Anita Baker
21. Lil Wayne
20. T.I.
19. 2Pac
18. Toni Braxton
17. Boyz II Men
16. LL Cool J
15. Beyonce
14. Ludacris
13. Michael Jackson
12. Keith Sweat
11. Prince
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

Check the link for details on each artist's stats, explaining their positioning on the list.


*Prior to the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart implementation in December 1992 of monitored radio airplay by Nielsen BDS and the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums incorporation of point-of-purchase sales data from Nielsen SoundScan, titles on those lists had shorter reigns at No. 1 and shorter chart lives. To ensure equitable representation from all 25 years, earlier time frames were each weighted to account for the difference between turnover rates from those years and the turnover rates that have occurred since the advent of Nielsen Music data.