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The Top Seven Contenders for the New King of Pop

by dsussman   July 02, 2009 at 12:36AM  |  Views: 8,661

Now that MJ has passed, the need for a new pop icon to fill the large void is an absolute necessity for fans as well as the music industry. Even though there will never ever be another Michael Jackson and no one will ever come close to his level of success, there has to be someone who will be able step up and become the King of Pop for the 21st century.

Sorry, Prince. I think you’re a little too old, buddy…

7. Ne-Yo


Source: Frank Micelotta/Getty Images

Ne-Yo is, without a doubt, an R&B singer at his roots, but when he dropped the title track from Because of You back in 2007, it became very clear that he was something a tad more extraordinary. A great pop act needs to be able to satisfy a number of different fans and Ne-Yo has a very unique way of doing it. Even though he’s not an MC, Shaffer Chimere Smith has the ability to hold his own by sing-rapping on street MC tracks like Game’s “Camera Phone” and the smoothed-out Plies joint “Bust it Baby Pt.2.” His producing skills also set him apart from most R&B/pop acts.

Ne-Yo's work ethic is second-to-none and his knack for working with a very broad and wide range of artists could easily make him one of the biggest musical names in the coming years.

6. The-Dream


Source: Bryan Bedder/Getty Images

Producer-turned-solo-artists are nothing new in the world of hip-hop, but The-Dream (AKA Terius Nash) is pretty unique within that exclusive crowd.

We first have to acknowledge the fact that Dream produced Rihanna’s "Umbrella" and Beyonce’s "Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)," easily two of the biggest pop songs of the last five years. His first solo effort Love Hate was no doubt a great freshman effort for the high-pitched R&B synth-popper, but the growth shown on Love vs. Money seems to truly be a vision of greater things to come. I’m going to come out and say right now that "Rockin' That Sh*t" is by far one of the best pop tracks of the year and the remix is even better. Dream doesn’t have the greatest voice nor the chiseled-chin looks to keep every lady on the planet hanging on his every word, but I really do believe he has yet to hit his absolute peak and will do so at some point in the very near future.

5. Andre 3000


Source: Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images

This may seem like a curveball for some, but to me, it makes total sense. With a little work on a few minor details, Andre could be the total package. Shoot, he almost is now.

Like Michael, Dre has continued to evolve as an artist throughout his entire career. It even feels like he’s a different being on every single LP he’s been associated with. But enough of all that, let’s talk about his skills as an MC, singer, and songwriter. I don’t think we really need to dive deep about why Andre is one of the most unique lyricists of all time. All you really need to do is pick up any one of the first three Outkast records to understand. The most amazing thing about Andre as an artist is how he was able to transition from a semi-underground Atlanta rapper to a pop superstar gracing the screens of MTV all over the world. When “Hey Ya!” dropped back in 2003, it became one of Oukast’s biggest hits ever and showed the true range of Andre as an artist. He may not have the most jaw-dropping voice on the planet, but it is a million times better than most rappers trying to sing. Benjamin has always been ahead of his time and I still feel the best is yet to come. His solo project is supposedly due by the end of the year and I can only hope that it will live up to the hype

4. Usher


Source: Frank Micelotta/Getty Images

You could easily make a case that Usher was the Michael Jackson of the late-‘90s to early-2000s. He had the voice, ill dance moves, and dashing good looks. To date, Usher has sold approximately 38 million albums worldwide and has won five Grammy Awards. Usher was also ranked as the 21st most successful Hot 100 Singles Artist of all-time by Billboard magazine. He ranked higher than any other artist of his generation. These stats can easily help make a case for why he should be crowned the new King of Pop. He has been dealing with some personal issues of late, but with the tragic death of MJ, I can see Usher wanting to claim his top spot as soon as possible.