Over R. Kelly
Let's just put it this way: R. Kelly's voice is smooth. His songs are so sensual that he's turned into a virtual relationship soundtrack, from your first meeting to your first night together, to a broken heart and through a tearful breakup. He's got a song for each stage, touching the depths of your soul with his acrobatic voice that glides from a sultry whisper to a high falsetto wail. Hints of Marvin Gaye and Smokey Robinson peak through his soul-tinged voice, but his production and style are all his own, from bass-heavy hip-hop to crisp romantic ballads. Kelly is a talented multi-instrumentalist and arranger, not to mention a certified hit maker; see the chart-topping "Ignition (Remix)" and "I Believe I Can Fly" as well as his writing and production credits for other singers. Not many R&B singers could get away with "Trapped in the Closet," his 35-minute pop opera that defies dramatic structure, radio formatting and just plain good sense. Kels not only pulled it off, but he made it one of the biggest singles of that 2005 summer. After 15 years and 10 albums, including the 2007 offering Double Up and another thrilling (and equally bewildering) 10 chapters of "Trapped in the Closet," there is little doubt that R. Kelly is one of the most accomplished R&B singers of his generation.