To celebrate Black History Month, MADE thought it would be appropriate to make a list of the greatest black American music artiste in history.
The list is geared towards the 20th and 21st, excluding classic music artiste as it would be hard to rate them with the new generation acts.
I ranked the artists based on the usual criteria for ranking music artists (innovation, impact/influence, skill, productivity, longevity, etc.), how important they were to music, but also how important they were to civil rights and the state of Black America.
Artists who were politically and socially active and helped to further the progress of black people in America were likely to finish higher than they might, based on their musical output. Artists in all genres of music throughout the 20th century were included including ragtime, jazz, blues, country, gospel, rock and roll/rock, R&B, soul, funk, disco, pop, and rap. Enjoy.
Honorable Mentions: Blind Willie Johnson, John Lee Hooker, Little Walter, Buddy Guy, Johnny Mathis, Eartha Kitt, Sidney Bechet, Eric Dolphy, Lionel Hampton, Herbie Hancock, Earl Hines, Wynton Marsalis, Art Tatum, Fats Waller, Lauryn Hill, LL Cool J, OutKast, Amos Milburn, Chubby Checker, The Coasters, The Commodores, The Four Tops, Isaac Hayes, The Isley Brothers, Aaliyah, Erykah Badu, D’Angelo, Mary J. Blige, R. Kelly, Alicia Keys and Rihanna
From the top to the least is; LOUIS ARMSTRONG, JIMI HENDRIX, DUKE ELLINGTON, JAMES BROWN, STEVIE WONDERS, RAY CHARLES, MICHEAL JACKSON, MILES DAVIS, CHUCK BERRY, BOB MARLEY, JOHN COLTRANE, BILLIE HOLIDAY, ELLA FITZGERALD, MAVIN GAYE, ARETHA FRANKLIN, LITTLE RICHARD, SAM COOKE, PUBLIC ENEMY, B. B. KING, RUN-D.M.C, 2 PAC, MUDDY WATERS, THE MIRACLES, PRINCE, LOUIS JORDAN, SCOTT JOPLIN, ROBERT JOHNSON, JIM BOLDEN, NAT “KING” COLE, SLY AND THE FAMILY STONE, CHARLIE PARKER, BESSIE SMITH, THE SUPREMES, LEAD BELLY, THELONIOUS MONK, DIZZY GILLESPIE, AL GREEN, OTIS REDDING, CURTIS MAYFIELD, MAHALIA JACKSON, JELLY ROLL MORTON, BO DIDDLEY, JAY Z, COUNT BASIN, MARIAN ANDERSON, PARLIAMENT(funkadelic), T-BONE WALKER, FATS DOMINO, TINA TURNER, HOWLIN’ WOLF…..