Legendary Black Artists in Comparison to Today’s Artists: RIP to Some of the Greatest


Many are still grieving the death of our sister Whitney Houston. And as more and more of the legendary stars pass away, it makes me wonder who’s going to step up to the plate. While it’s true that these talented men and women can never be replaced, we still want to have artists from our generation who were as inspirational and amazing as some of the artists from previous generations.

Many of our modern day stars are very talented, (Alicia Keys, Jennifer Hudson, etc), but it still seems like we are falling away from legendary and performers are becoming more and more ordinary, often using modern technology (fancy lights, auto-tune, pitch corrector etc.) to make up for what they lack. What I’m saying is, fewer performers nowadays have that same pure, raw talent that was mandatory back in the day.

I think about Michael Jackson, Luther Vandross, Whitney Houston and others, and I think about the way their music moved me as I listened and tapped in with my emotions. I think about the impact and the collective enjoyment that their fans shared when listening to so many great songs. So the question arises, “Is there anyone nowadays making such a huge impact in black entertainment?” While I am very critical of the content of their music, I must say that today’s mainstream rappers seem to have the largest influence among the black people in the entertainment industry.

While it’s true there are some very talented hip-hop artists, I have to ask if any of them ever talk about anything inspirational? Feel free to correct me if I’m wrong, but it seems like most of our rap stars promote a destructive mentality. And as far as legendary rappers go, it’s still commonly believed that no one has lived up to the standard that Tupac set. Tupac was a motivator, and it’s clear that he was extremely talented, passionate, intellegent, and desired a positive change for his people.

So I have to ask where the Michael Jackson of our day is, or the James Brown, or any of the others who caused a phenomenal shift in music. Soulja Boy caused the biggest uproar in black music in the last decade, but he was a huge part of an important transitional period that included choreographed dancing as a part of songs. Many saw his popularity as a wake up call to where music was going.

As listeners, viewers and fans, I think we should have higher expectations. If the fans don’t like the artists’ music then they have to change in order to sell right? So we should help set the standard by demanding quality instead of consuming everything single thing that is fed to us. While there are still those who are talented, inspirational and controversial, it seems like the “mark” or the bold statement that black people once had as musical entertainers is dissolving little by little. I really believe that this is a part of the reason fans and other entertainers take the deaths of these celebrities so hard. Hopefully the deaths of these awesome musicians wont equal the death of the standard of excellence that our culture should be known for.

So my question for you guys today is, “Do you think that artists like Beyonce, Rihanna, Keri Hilson, Bruno Mars, etc, can compare to the legendary entertainers from back in the day?” 

Paying Respect to some of the Most Respected:

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6 thoughts on “Legendary Black Artists in Comparison to Today’s Artists: RIP to Some of the Greatest

  1. Today’s artists are nowhere nearly as talented- or better yet, do anything inspirational WITH their talent (*cough, cough* Beyonce). I love my watered-down rap and hip-hop club songs as much as the next girl, but there are fewer mainstream artists than ever that you can listen to if you actually want to feel something.

    • Exactly. You know who I didn’t mention (because they are still alive) Lauryn Hill. Wow she was one of the greatest. So inspirational and talented, singing and rapping. Where’s the new Lauryn!!!!???? All we got in Minaj…. Just talking about crazy stuff and reenacting exorcisms smh

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