There are such a variety of R&B singers in the industry that it’s often hard to keep up with them all. From underground indie artists to some of the most popular names mentioned in the mainstream – everyone is searching to be heard and compensated for their musical efforts. Some of these artists are known for their love/soul R&B style of music, such as Usher and Mariah Carey. Then there are other artists who, over time, have incorporated R&B as one of the genres they offer as a part of their performance package, such a ‘Drizzy’ Drake. Let’s dive into the flamboyant lives 2022’s richest R&B artists thus far.
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It’s no wonder that the Good Girl Gone Bad singer herself, Rihanna, is gunning for the number one spot on this list. As of August 2021, Rihanna has been officially classified as a millionaire, boasting a net worth of $1.7 billion which puts solidifies her as the richest female singer in the world and the second richest female entertainer, right behind the business-savvy Oprah Winfrey. While she is known mostly for her breakout music records like Pon De Replay, Umbrella featuring Jay-Z, Shut Up and Drive, and Hate That I Love You featuring singer Neyo, Rihanna’s most recent ascent to billionaire status came not from record sales, but from her business ventures, namely her lingerie company, Savage X Fenty, and her Fenty Beauty cosmetics brand.
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Beyonce, also known as The Queen B, has dominated the R&B, Pop, and Soul genres ever since her rise to fame in the mid-to-late 1990s as the lead singer in the R&B girl group, Destiny’s Child. The group was responsible for songs such as Say My Name, Bills, Bills, Bills, Survivor, and Bootylicious. However, the group split in 2001 to pursue solo careers, at which time Beyonce branched off into acting, starring in movies such as Austin Powers in Goldmember alongside Mike Myers and The Fighting Temptations with Cuba Gooding Jr., eventually leading to other film opportunities. As a solo artist, her most memorable songs are Baby Boy featuring Sean Paul, Irreplaceable, Halo, and Crazy in Love with Jay-Z, to who she is also married. By herself, Beyonce’s net worth stands at $440 million in 2022.
9 Mariah Carey
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Mariah Carey is recognized as the “Supreme Songbird” due to her exceptional execution of some of the highest-pitched vocals in recorded music history, ranging a full five-octave vocal range. The R&B and Pop superstar rose to fame in 1990 with her debut album, Mariah Carey, which won her an award for Best New Artist. She is also known as the Queen of Christmas because of her classic 1994 Christmas album, Merry Christmas, which still reigns as the best-selling Christmas album of all time. She is second to Madonna as the best-selling female artist in history and has collaborated with music legends such as Luther Vandross, Missy Elliot, Q-Tip, and Jay-Z. To date, she has sold over 144 million albums worldwide and is still sitting pretty with a net worth of $320 million.
8 Lionel Richie
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Born in Tuskegee, Alabama, Lionel Richie can be considered a veteran in the music industry. Before launching his solo career in 1982, he rose to stardom as the songwriter and lead singer for the Commodores with whom he produced hit singles like Easy, Sail On, and Three Times A Lady. Among his greatest accomplishments is the 1981 single he wrote and produced titled Endless Love, which he recorded together with Diana Ross, which remains one of the top 20 bestselling singles to date. His debut solo album, titled Lionel Richie, sold over 4 million copies. During his solo career, Richie has sold over 100 million records, making him one of the world’s best-selling artists in history. He is also recognized for his timeless contribution to contemporary R&B and pop, grossing an estimated net worth of $200 million.
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Born Usher Raymond IV, going by his stage name Usher, many regarded him as the king of R&B in his prime during the mid-to-late 1990s and 2000s. He went mainstream after the release of his 1197 album, My Way, after the release of his debut album, titled Usher, in 1994. His song Nice and Slow rose to number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, with songs My Way and Make Me Wanna from the same album close behind. During the 2000s, he dominated the airways with hit singles like Yeah! featuring Lil’ Jon and Ludacris, Confessions Part 2, My Boo featuring Alicia Keys, and Love In This Club featuring Young Jeezy. He also co-owns a record label company with fellow music artist, Justin Bieber, called the Raymond-Braun Media Group. Currently, he sits on a net worth of $180 million.
5 Alicia Keys
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Beautiful, classy, and exceptionally gifted as a musician and singer, Alicia Keys is another one of R&B’s prized possessions that made an undeniable impact in the 2000s and also between 2010 and 2020. She was actually signed to Arista Records in 1998, but her debut album, Songs In A Minor, was not officially released until 2001. The album received international popularity, establishing her as the best-selling new R&B artist the same year it was released. A few of her hit singles include A Woman’s Worth, You Don’t Know My Name, Fallin‘, and If I Ain’t Got You. She has also collaborated with artists such as Jay-Z, Eve, Drake, Nas, Beyonce, and Usher to name a few. Her most recent album, Keys, was released in 2021 but did not fare as well as her previous music projects. Separate from her husband, Swizz Beats, Keys’ net worth is around $150 million.
4 Chris Brown
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Chris Brown, despite being a talented singer, songwriter, dancer, and actor, has been haunted by negative publicity not long after the start of his career in 2002 following his tumultuous relationship with entrepreneur and music artist, Rihanna. However, he remained undaunted and continued to expand his career. Born Christopher Maurice Brown in 1989, he has also been regarded by many as the King of R&B and compared to Michael Jackson for his captivating on-stage performances. He broke out with his first single, Run It!, and is widely known for songs such as Kiss Kiss, Look At Me Now, and Go Crazy. As an actor, he has appeared in movies such as This Christmas (alongside Idris Elba and Lauren London), Takers (opposite T.I., Paul Walker, and Michael Ealy), and Think Like A Man, co-starring with Kevin Hart, Regina Hall, and Terrence Jenkins. Brown’s net worth stands at $120 million as of 2022.
3 John Legend
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John Legend’s road to musical success is especially unique in and of itself as the Ordinary People artist spoke his future into being from a young age. Sources report that at the age of 15 when asked to write an essay titled, “How do you intend to make Black History,” he wrote that he intended to become a successful musician, and so he did. His success came after being introduced to Kanye West in 2001, where he then signed to his GOOD Music label. His first album, Get Lifted, was released in 2004, selling 850,000 copies worldwide. As his popularity rose, so did the opportunities to collaborate with celebrities such as Jay-Z, Mary J. Blige, the Black Eyed Peas, Fergie, and Robin Thicke. Legend has achieved massive success as a musician and singer, which helped him to amass a net worth of $75 million.
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Up next is Ne-Yo, formally known as Shaffer Chimere Smith, who has excelled as a recording artist, producer, songwriter, composer, dancer, and actor since the start of his professional career in 2000. Before claiming fame as an artist and musician himself, Ne-Yo was first introduced to the music business as a songwriter. He first wrote a song that R&B singer Marques Houston re-recorded, as well as the famous Let Me Love You, sung by Mario. With the massive success of the songs he wrote for other artists, he gained recognition, until the release of his own debut album, In My Own Word, in 2006. His most recognized songs include Closer, Miss Independent, So Sick, and Give Me Everything, with which he collaborated with Pitbull. He has also written songs for Mary J. Blige, Beyonce, Monica, and Cheryl Cole. His many talents have, over time, awarded him a net worth of $20 million.
1 Mary J. Blige
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Born in the Bronx, New York in 1971, Mary J. Blige has been in the music business for decades now. She is often referred to as the Queen of Hip Hop Soul having begun her career in 1991 when hip hop and rap were just maturing into an established music genre. Her debut album, What’s the 411, is credit for bridging the gap between R&B and hip hop with mainstream pop culture. The album became a success with the help of Sean “Diddy” Combs, who has kept Blige close by ever since. Besides her music career, she has also focused on acting and has supporting roles in films such as Prison Song (2001), Rock of Ages (2012), Blacl Nativity (2013), Power, and Power Book 2: Ghost. Her music and acting career have amassed her a net worth of $20 million.
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Sources: Forbes, The Things, mariah-charts-and-sales.jimdofree
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