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EBONY Throwback: 7 Epic Black Music Battles

Originally published in the June 2014 issue of EBONY, our writers asked the epic question – among Black artists, who is the greatest?

EBONY July 2104

MICHAEL JACKSON vs. PRINCE

Their ability to intertwine R&B, funk and pop, mesmerizing stage performances and top-of-the-charts records made them both musical juggernauts.

DR. DRE vs. TIMBALAND

These two giants have redefined the role of hip-hop producer. They both have influ- enced the musical landscape of rap, R&B and pop with walls of sounds that could include heavy bass and horns, funktified guitar licks and world music influences, making them modern-day versions of Quincy Jones.

LIL KIM vs. NICKI MINAJ

From multicolored hair to distinct rap flow, these female hip-hop divas took their generations by storm. In an exclusive male rappers’ club, Lil Kim and Nicki Minaj are like the Hottentot Venus but with makeup and tattoos, using flesh, provocative lyrics and oven-baked sexuality to bring their noise front and center.

CHUCK BERRY v. LITTLE RICHARD

The debate on who contributed and influenced rock the most continues. Is it possible to give one person title of The King of Rock and Roll? Chuck Berry gave us some of the greatest storytelling ever, a guitar cornerstone for Jimi Hendrix and Prince, and his famous duck walk. Little Richard rubbed gospel next to “race music,” wooed and shouted like a church preacher on fire and even inspired Michael Jackson.

STEVIE WONDER vs. DONNY HATHAWAY

These two pianists, singers, composers and musical visionaries chaperoned the soulful sonnets of 1970s Black America.

DINAH WASHINGTON vs. SARAH VAUGHAN

The two greatest jazz singers ever? Arguably, yes. Voices that are as perfect and smooth as silk.

JAY-Z vs. NAS

Rivalries come with the rap game. During the 2000s, these New York icons had one of the most memorable feuds to date.

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