Music Style: Urban

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  1. Rihanna



    Robyn Rihanna Fenty (born February 20, 1988), known professionally as Rihanna (/riˈænə/ ree-AN), is a Barbadian singer, songwriter, fashion designer and occassional actress. Born in Saint Michael, Barbados, her career began upon meeting record producer Evan Rogers in late 2003 through mutual friends; she recorded demo tapes with his guidance. Her tape was sent to several record labels, and she subsequently signed a contract with Def Jam Recordings after auditioning for its then-president, hip-hop producer and rapper Jay-Z. Both her debut album, Music of the Sun (2005) and its follow-up A Girl Like Me (2006) peaked in the top ten on the US Billboard 200; the former featured the commercially successful song "Pon de Replay" while the latter produced her first Billboard Hot 100 number-one single, "SOS".

  2. Jennifer Lopez

    Jennifer Lopez


    Jennifer Lynn Lopez (born July 24, 1969), also known as J. Lo, is an American actress, author, fashion designer, dancer, producer, and singer. She became interested in pursuing a career in the entertainment industry following a minor role in the 1986 film My Little Girl, to the dismay of her Puerto Rican parents, who believed that it was an unrealistic career route for a Hispanic. Lopez gained her first regular high-profile job as a Fly Girl dancer on In Living Color in 1991, where she remained a regular until she decided to pursue an acting career in 1993. She received her first leading role in the Selena biopic of the same name in 1997. Lopez became the first Latina actress to earn over $1 million for a role the following year, with the film Out of Sight. She ventured into the music industry in 1999 with her debut studio album, On the 6.

  3. Chris Brown

    Chris Brown


    Christopher Maurice "Chris" Brown (born May 5, 1989) is an American recording artist, dancer and actor. Born in Tappahannock, Virginia, he taught himself to sing and dance at a young age and was involved in his church choir and several local talent shows. Having signed with Jive Records in 2004, Brown released his self-titled debut studio album the following year. It peaked at number two on the US Billboard 200 and was later certified double platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). With his first single "Run It!" peaking atop the US Billboard Hot 100, Brown became the first male artist as a lead since Diddy in 1997 to have his debut single top the chart. His second album Exclusive (2007) spawned his second Hot 100 number one "Kiss Kiss", in addition to "With You" and "Forever". The album was also certified double platinum by the RIAA.

  4. Beyoncé Knowles

    Beyoncé Knowles


    Beyoncé Giselle Knowles-Carter (/bˈjɒns/ bee-YON-say) (born September 4, 1981) is an American singer, songwriter, and actress. Born and raised in Houston, Texas, she performed in various singing and dancing competitions as a child, and rose to fame in the late 1990s as lead singer of R&B girl-group Destiny's Child. Managed by her father Mathew Knowles, the group became one of the world's best-selling girl groups of all time. Their hiatus saw the release of Beyoncé's debut album, Dangerously in Love (2003), which established her as a solo artist worldwide; it sold 11 million copies, earned five Grammy Awards and featured the Billboard Hot 100 number-one singles "Crazy in Love" and "Baby Boy".

  5. Michael Jackson

    Michael Jackson


    Michael Joseph Jackson (August 29, 1958 – June 25, 2009) was an American singer, songwriter, record producer, dancer, and actor. Called the King of Pop, his contributions to music and dance, along with his publicized personal life, made him a global figure in popular culture for over four decades.

  6. Mariah Carey

    Mariah Carey


    Mariah Carey (born March 27, 1969 or 1970) is an American singer, songwriter, record producer, and actress. She rose to prominence after releasing her self-titled debut studio album Mariah Carey in 1990; it went multiplatinum and spawned four consecutive number one singles on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart. Under the guidance of Columbia Records executive and later husband Tommy Mottola, Carey continued booking success with follow-up albums Emotions (1991), Music Box (1993), and Merry Christmas (1994), and was established as Columbia's highest-selling act. Daydream (1995) made music history when its second single "One Sweet Day", a duet with Boyz II Men, spent a record sixteen weeks on top of the Billboard Hot 100, and it remains the longest-running number-one song in U.S. chart history. During the recording of the album, Carey began to deviate from her slower R&B and ballad-oriented beginnings and slowly transitioned into hip hop. This musical change became further established with the release of Butterfly (1997), which was released during the midst of her separation from Mottola.

  7. Prince



    Prince Roger Nelson (born June 7, 1958), known by his mononym Prince, is an American singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and actor, a major figure in popular music for over three decades. Prince is renowned as an innovator and is widely known for his eclectic work, flamboyant stage presence, and wide vocal range. He is widely regarded as the pioneer of Minneapolis sound. His music combines rock, R&B, soul, funk, hip hop, disco, psychedelia, jazz, and pop.

  8. Shakira



    Shakira Isabel Mebarak Ripoll (/ʃəˈkɪərə/; born February 2, 1977) is a Colombian singer, songwriter, dancer, record producer, choreographer, and model. Born and raised in Barranquilla, she began performing in school, demonstrating Latin, Arabic, and rock and roll influences and belly dancing abilities. Shakira released her first studio albums, Magia and Peligro, in the early 1990s, failing to attain commercial success; however, she rose to prominence in Latin America with her major-label debut, Pies Descalzos (1996), and her fourth album, Dónde Están los Ladrones? (1998).

  9. Lady Gaga

    Lady Gaga


    Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta (/ˈstɛfən ɜrməˈnɒtə/ STEF-ə-nee jur-mə-NOT; born March 28, 1986), better known by her stage name Lady Gaga, is an American singer, songwriter, and actress. She initially performed in theater, appearing in high school plays, and studied at CAP21 through New York University's Tisch School of the Arts before dropping out to pursue a musical career. After leaving a rock band, participating in the Lower East Side's avant garde performance art circuit, and being dropped from a contract with Def Jam Recordings, Gaga worked as a songwriter for Sony/ATV Music Publishing. There, recording artist Akon noticed her vocal abilities and helped her to sign a joint deal with Interscope Records and his own KonLive Distribution.

  10. Carmen Electra

    Carmen Electra


    Tara Leigh Patrick (born April 20, 1972), better known by her stage name Carmen Electra, is an American glamour model, actress, television personality, singer, and dancer. She gained fame for her appearances in Playboy magazine, on the MTV game show Singled Out, on the TV series Baywatch, and dancing with the Pussycat Dolls, and has since had roles in the parody films Scary Movie, Date Movie, Epic Movie, Meet the Spartans, and Disaster Movie. She hosted MTV Spring Break for some time.

  11. Alicia Keys

    Alicia Keys


    Alicia Augello Cook (born January 25, 1981), known by the pseudonym Alicia Keys, is an American singer, songwriter, record producer, and actress. Keys released her debut album with J Records, having had previous record deals first with Columbia and then Arista Records. Keys' debut album, Songs in A Minor, was a commercial success, selling over 12 million copies worldwide. She became the best-selling new artist and best-selling R&B artist of 2001. The album earned Keys five Grammy Awards in 2002, including Best New Artist and Song of the Year for "Fallin'" becoming the second American recording artist to win five Grammys in one night. Her second studio album, The Diary of Alicia Keys, was released in 2003 and was also another success worldwide, selling eight million copies. The album garnered her an additional four Grammy Awards in 2005. Later that year, she released her first live album, Unplugged, which debuted at number one in the United States. She became the first female to have an MTV Unplugged album to debut at number one and the highest since Nirvana in 1994.

  12. Whitney Houston

    Whitney Houston


    Whitney Elizabeth Houston (August 9, 1963 – February 11, 2012) was an American singer, actress, producer, and model. In 2009, Guinness World Records cited her as the most awarded female act of all time. Houston is one of pop music's best-selling music artists of all-time, with an estimated 170–200 million records sold worldwide. She released six studio albums, one holiday album and three movie soundtrack albums, all of which have diamond, multi-platinum, platinum or gold certification. Houston's crossover appeal on the popular music charts, as well as her prominence on MTV, starting with her video for "How Will I Know", influenced several African American women artists who follow in her footsteps.

  13. Christina Milian

    Christina Milian


    Christine Flores (born September 26, 1981), better known as Christina Milian (/mɪliˈɑːn/), is an American singer, songwriter and actress. At the age of 19, Milian signed a contract with Def Jam. In 2001, Milian released her self-titled debut album, which featured the singles "AM to PM" and "When You Look at Me"; "AM to PM" charted with in the Top 40 of the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 and both peaked in the top three on the UK Singles Chart. In 2004, Milian released her second studio album It's About Time, which provided her first major U.S. hit, "Dip It Low", which reached number five on the U.S. Billboard chart. "Whatever U Want" was released as the album's second single. Both singles charted within the Top 10 of the UK chart.

  14. R. Kelly

    R. Kelly


    Robert Sylvester Kelly (born January 8, 1967), known professionally as R. Kelly, is an American singer, songwriter, record producer, rapper and former professional basketball player. A native of Chicago, Illinois, often referred to as the King of R&B, Kelly began performing during the late 1980s and debuted in 1992 with the group Public Announcement. In 1993, Kelly went solo with the album 12 Play. He is known for a collection of major hit singles including "Bump N' Grind", "Your Body's Callin'", "I Believe I Can Fly", "Gotham City", "Ignition (Remix)", "If I Could Turn Back the Hands of Time", "The World's Greatest", "I'm a Flirt (Remix)", and the hip-hopera "Trapped in the Closet". In 1998, Kelly won three Grammy Awards for "I Believe I Can Fly". His distinctive sound and style has influenced numerous hip hop and contemporary R&B artists. Kelly became the first music star to play professional basketball, when he got signed in 1997.

  15. Akon



    Aliaume Damala Badara Akon Thiam (born April 16, 1973) (pronounced /ˈkɒn/), is an American rapper, songwriter, businessman, and record producer. He rose to prominence in 2004 following the release of "Locked Up", the first single from his debut album Trouble.

  16. Tyrese Gibson

    Tyrese Gibson


    Tyrese Darnell Gibson (born December 30, 1978), also known mononymously as Tyrese, is an American Grammy-nominated R&B singer, songwriter, actor, author, television producer, former fashion model and MTV VJ. He is best known for his roles as Joseph "Jody" Summers in Baby Boy and as Roman Pearce in the The Fast and the Furious series. After releasing several albums, he transitioned into films, with lead roles in several major Hollywood releases.

  17. Janet Jackson

    Janet Jackson


    Janet Damita Jo Jackson (born May 16, 1966) is an American singer, songwriter, and actress. Known for a series of sonically innovative, socially conscious and sexually provocative records, as well as elaborate stage shows, television and film roles, she has been a prominent figure in popular culture for over 25 years. The youngest child of the Jackson family, she began her career with the variety television series The Jacksons in 1976 and went on to appear in other television shows throughout the 1970s and early 1980s, including Good Times and Fame.

  18. Toni Braxton

    Toni Braxton


    Toni Michele Braxton (born October 7, 1967) is an American R&B singer-songwriter, pianist, record producer, actress, television personality, and philanthropist. Rising to fame in the beginning of the 1990s, Braxton quickly established herself as an R&B icon and became one of the best-selling female artists of the 1990s decade, garnering her honorific titles such as the "Queen of R&B" and being recognized as one of the most outstanding voices of this generation.

  19. Will Smith

    Will Smith


    Willard Carroll "Will" Smith, Jr. (born September 25, 1968) is an American actor, producer, rapper, and songwriter. He has enjoyed success in television, film, and music. In April 2007, Newsweek called him "the most powerful actor in Hollywood". Smith has been nominated for four Golden Globe Awards, two Academy Awards, and has won four Grammy Awards.

  20. Aaliyah



    Aaliyah Dana Haughton (ˈlə) (January 16, 1979 – August 25, 2001) was an American singer, dancer, actress, and model. She was born in Brooklyn, New York, and raised in Detroit, Michigan. At the age of 10, she appeared on the television show Star Search and performed in concert alongside Gladys Knight. At age 12, Aaliyah signed with Jive Records and her uncle Barry Hankerson's Blackground Records. Hankerson introduced her to R. Kelly, who became her mentor, as well as lead songwriter and producer of her debut album, Age Ain't Nothing but a Number. The album sold three million copies in the United States and was certified double platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). After facing allegations of an illegal marriage with R. Kelly, Aaliyah ended her contract with Jive and signed with Atlantic Records.

  21. Keri Hilson

    Keri Hilson


    Keri Lynn Hilson (born December 5, 1982) is an American singer, songwriter, actress and record producer. She was born and raised in Decatur, Georgia, and spent most of her youth working with producer Anthony Dent, as a songwriter and background vocalist for several R&B and hip hop artists. By the age of 14, Hilson had secured a record deal with the girl group D'Signe, who later disbanded. She attended Oxford College of Emory University and Emory University in Atlanta, while she continued writing songs for artists, including Britney Spears and Mary J. Blige, with the production and songwriting team, The Clutch. In 2006, Hilson signed with American rapper and producer Timbaland's record label, Mosley Music. Her breakthrough came the following year after appearing on Timbaland's single "The Way I Are", which topped charts around the world.

  22. Fergie



    Stacy Ann "Fergie" Ferguson (born March 27, 1975) is an American singer, songwriter, fashion designer, television host, and actress. She is the female vocalist for the hip hop group The Black Eyed Peas, with whom she has achieved chart success worldwide. Her debut solo album, The Dutchess (2006), spawned five Billboard Hot 100 top five singles, three of which went to number one.

  23. Lionel Richie

    Lionel Richie


    Lionel Brockman Richie, Jr. (born June 20, 1949) is an American singer, songwriter, musician, record producer and actor. Beginning in 1968, he was a member of the musical group Commodores signed to Motown Records. Richie made his solo debut in 1982 with the album Lionel Richie and the number-one hit "Truly". He has sold more than 100 million records worldwide, making him one of the world's best-selling artists of all time.

  24. Brandy Norwood

    Brandy Norwood


    Brandy Rayana Norwood (born February 11, 1979), better known mononymously as Brandy, is an American recording artist and entertainer. Born into a musical family in McComb, Mississippi and raised in Carson, California, she enrolled in performing arts schools as a child and performed as a backing vocalist for teen groups. From 1993 to 1994, Norwood appeared in a supporting role on the short-lived ABC sitcom Thea and signed with Atlantic Records. The following year, she released her self-titled debut album. Norwood starred in the UPN sitcom Moesha as the title character, which lasted six seasons and resulted in numerous other roles. She resumed her music career in 1998 with the widely successful duet with Monica, "The Boy Is Mine", and her second album, Never Say Never.

  25. Missy Elliott

    Missy Elliott


    Melissa Arnette "Missy" Elliott (born July 1, 1971) is an American singer, songwriter, rapper and record producer. Her first major success came as a songwriter with childhood friend and producer Timbaland on projects for Aaliyah, 702, Total, and SWV. As a record producer and songwriter, she has worked with Mariah Carey, Whitney Houston, Janet Jackson, Christina Aguilera, and Beyoncé as well as contemporary artists Keyshia Cole, Tamia, Monica and Ciara.

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