The 90s was the golden age of RnB.
So, artists in the 2000s had to step up to keep the genre alive and thriving.
Thankfully, they did.
The biggest 2000s RnB stars built on the pillars from the 90s while evolving with new sounds and techniques.
Below are 11 of the most influential Black women from this era whose music went on to inspire the coming generation.
Alicia Keys isn’t just a fantastic singer but also a skilled pianist.
The classically trained musician blended different worlds to give us a distinct musical style.
Her debut album, “Songs in A Minor,” was as good as debuts.
It had hit songs like “Fallin’” and “A Woman’s Worth,” and the album won Keys 5 Grammy Awards.
She released some of the biggest albums and songs of the decade and earned the moniker “Queen of RnB.”
Singing competitions were all the rage in the 2000s.
However, very few contestants (and winners) went on to have successful musical careers.
Fantasia is a notable exception.
She won America Idol’s third season in 2004.
She soon released “I Believe,” her debut single.
The song was a number 1 hit, and the album landed her 3 Grammy nominations.
Ashanti started singing songs for other artists, like “Always on Time” with Ja Rule and “What’s Luv?” with Fat Joe.
When her album came out soon after, it was naturally a triple-platinum bestseller that raked in multiple awards.
With the release of her subsequent albums, her sound and lyrics matured.
Jill Scott kept up the neo-soul momentum with her debut album in 2000, “Who Is Jill Scott?: Words and Sounds Vol. 1.”
The album went platinum, thanks in no small part to songs like “A Long Walk” and “Gettin’ In the Way.”
Her music blends RnB, neo-soul, jazz, and even spoken word.
This makes her work more poetry than mainstream music, which lets her show personality and emotion that you can’t get in mainstream music.
Indie Arie is among the most grounded RnB stars.
She released hit after hit, selling over 10 million records and winning 4 Grammys.
However, her persona and lyrics feel deeply personal and not mainstream.
India Arie accepts and loves who she is and sings about themes like embracing that love.
That makes her music connect in a way few other musicians can manage.
Beyonce rose to prominence in the 90s with Destiny’s Child, becoming one of the bestselling girl groups ever.
However, she came into her own in the 2000s when she went solo.
From her first album, “Dangerously in Love,” she has released continuous and consistent hits.
She is the first solo artist whose first 6 albums debuted at number 1 on Billboard 200, and she has sold over 120 million records.
It’s guaranteed to hit whenever she releases a new record or album.
That makes her one of the most significant RnB stars of this century.
Rihanna is a bona fide star.
She blends RnB, dance, and pop to make catchy, memorable music.
From her debut album, “Music of the Sun,” Rihanna has released songs that have become hits worldwide.
She also has 6 Guinness World Records, 9 Grammy Awards, 250 million sold records.
She is now a billionaire and the second-richest self-made woman in the world.
She is clearly among the most financially successful RnB stars from the 2000s.
The Most Influential 2000s RnB Stars: Conclusion
Plenty of other RnB stars came into prominence in the 2000s, like Keyshia Cole, Keri Hilson, Amerie, and more.
However, we feel like the highlighted ones had the most significant impact, the most hits, and the greatest influence on today’s RnB stars.