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GA’s Most Wanted – Rd. 4, Hip-Hop Soul Reigns Supreme

When it comes to music, Georgia doesn’t just make waves in the hip-hop arena but the Southern state also has its fair share of notable vocalists. As XXL continues to highlight the main movers and shakers with our weeklong GA’s Most Wanted series, we shed light on the 10 most notable hip-hop soul artists laying down vocals and tossin’ up hits in the process. —Rondell Conway

If you’re talking Georgia star power in the realm of R&B, the conversation has to start with Usher Raymond. The Grammy Award-winner is a supernova in the ATL’s galaxy of stars. Ush made his debut in 1994 among the original class of musical luminaries—TLC, Jermaine Dupri, Dallas Austin, OutKast—that helped put the A on the map. With his silky smooth vocals, suave dance moves, and over 15 million albums sold to date, the R&B crooner stands as the standard bearer for today’s generation of hip-hop/soul acts. His catalog of hits, “Yeah,” “Burn,” “U Got It Bad,” just to name a few, have opened the door for the entertainer to take on roles in Hollywood and hock fragrances in his spare time. Now, with his sixth album, Raymond vs. Raymond, forging two No. 1singles—“Papers” and “OMG”—it’s safe to say that Usher has more than put on for his city.

Few ATL artists made as immediate an impact on music as Ciara did with her 2005 debut Goodies. Crowned the “Princess of Crunk&B,” the Atlanta transplant (by way of Texas) dominated the airwaves with her dance-friendly mixture of crunk music and R&B. Ubiquitous singles like “1, 2 Step,” and “Oh” helped Ci-Ci rack up triple-platinum status on her debut LP. Though Ciara’s career has since come back to Earth following the release of her third album Fantasy Ride, things are set to blast off again thanks to the buzz her 2010 single “Ride,” is generating. The seductive, Ludacris-assisted single is steadily rising up the Billboard charts, and Andre 3000’s recent contribution to the remix is sure to give it a nice boost. And just in case you haven’t noticed Georgia still wants to see Ciara’s goodies.

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