By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Alice Laussade
By Scott Reitz
If you don't remember Trey Songz from his 2005 debut album, I Gotta Make It and you somehow missed last fall's follow-up, Trey Day, you're missing out on one of the acts making up the new wave of R&B elite. Songz, 23 years old, is young, but he seems to know his stuff. To see for sure, we asked him to name his top five R&B singers, past or present.
1) Prince. "He's a great songwriter, and he taught himself guitar, piano, he can play the drums. He does it all."
2) Marvin Gaye: "He was an innovator. He could sing whatever he wanted to and make people feel it...love, Jesus, or whatever. He really let you in his world."
3) Michael Jackson. "You already know why: He's Michael Motherfucking Jackson!"
4) Chris Brown. "No solo artist has done what he's done and popped off like that. Even Michael Jackson or Usher didn't come out like that, [and] Michael's first album didn't do as well as Chris Brown's. Bobby Brown came out of a group, Justin Timberlake came out a group...Coming out a solo artist and being a megastar on his own...nobody has done that. And singing and dancing at the same time is hard."
5) R. Kelly. "'Cause he's the modern-day Marvin. He's the most consistent songwriter of our time. He's supplied hits for generations. He's old as hell and still rocking. He just put out an album that did really well. Dude's been in the game 16 years—I'd say he definitely goes down in history."