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You donandrsquo;t have to watch BET or turn a radio dial to know some of todayandrsquo;s popular soul and Randamp;B artists. After all, who hasnandrsquo;t heard of names like Alicia Keys, Mary J. Blige and Anthony Hamilton? These artists have essentially become superstars, many of them seemingly on their way to becoming legends. Although we have anointed several of these artists as the andldquo;kingandrdquo; of this and the andldquo;queenandrdquo; of that, some are wondering if these acclamations have been made far too soon.

It Ainandrsquo;t Nothing like the Old School

Old school artists such as Prince, Luther Vandross and Natalie Cole have taken their rightful place among the industryandrsquo;s elite. Their contributions are forever branded in time and even more amazingly, still revered and adored by countless listeners today. You wonandrsquo;t find a party on any block that isnandrsquo;t blaring out classic Al Green or kicking things into gear with Zapandrsquo;s andldquo;More Bounce to the Ounceandrdquo;. Many of the up and coming talents even hone their skills by trying to duplicate the masterful recordings of old school performers. American Idol is a prime example. You donandrsquo;t see contestants singing Keisha Cole or Robin Thickeandrsquo;s latest jams. Theyandrsquo;re challenged with the classics, forced to show the world what theyandrsquo;ve got through classic blues, rock and soul tunes.

Whoandrsquo;s Worthy?

Erykah Badu, D-Angelo, Maxwell, Joss Stone and Ledisi are just a few of many artists to emerge over the past decade or so. While they have all blessed us with chart toppers in their time, is it even practical to think they will be thought of, let alone still around 10 to 15 years down the road? Granted, you canandrsquo;t take away what these artists have accomplished, but do any of them really possess the depth needed to survive in the fierce music industry? Have they truly proven themselves to be sufficiently unique to the point where they offer enough to influence the next generation of listeners? Is their contribution to music history and overall body of work so dynamic and unforgettable that it deservingly elevates them to a legendary status? With the heights an artist like Fantasia has reached in such a short time, this is hard to argue with. However, some might suggest that she and others are merely longer extensions of the flavor of the month.

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