In the eternal pantheon of R&B divadom, there's a hierarchy and a history. The rank and order of things, though, is something that will be debated forever by full-time fans and casual critics, so we'll just step away from that messy, brutal battle. Instead, let's speak to the chronological record, which goes Aretha, Whitney, Mariah...but, uh, who's next? Over the past decade, Alicia Keys has proven herself more than anyone else to be pop music's current answer to Mariah Carey. Keys debuted with the massively successful Songs in A Minor in 2001, followed Billboard No. 1 albums The Diary of Alicia Keys (2003) and As I Am (2007) and bagged a bunch of Grammy awards. However, Keys' latest album, The Element of Freedom, released this past December, failed to top the charts. So has the new diva's Glitter moment arrived? Not quite. Thanks to a street-cred boost from Jay-Z's "Empire State of Mind" and her spinoff version of the song, Freedom has already been certified platinum. The real question: Will Keys's husband-to-be, rapper-producer Swizz Beatz, turn out to be her Tommy Mottola or Nick Cannon?
Get the Music Newsletter
Keep your thumb on the local music scene each week with music news, trends, artist interviews and concert listings. We'll also send you special ticket offers and music deals.