He Had That Masculine Thing DOWN: 8 Mannish R&B Singers

March 21, 2012  |  
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The assumption…or stereotype is that if you’re a male R&B singer, you’re bound to be a tad bit feminine.With the prevalence of Hip Hop and it’s strong machismo culture, R&B singers are often regarded as “sweet,” a little metrosexual even. Nothing wrong with that. If a majority of your audience is going to be female you better know what they want to hear and how they want to hear it. But just because you sing to the ladies doesn’t mean you have to fit this stereotype. In fact there are a few brothas who “sang” and are more mannish than a little bit. Who am I talking about? Check out the list below…


With a name like Tank, it’s clear that this man, born Durrell Babbs, was trying to send a message. Really, what else can you expect from a multi-sport athlete? But the music called him. He ended up giving up an opportunity to play college football to sing back up for Ginuwine. Turned out to be a good decision. Plus football is so dangerous and we could not have anything happen to this beautiful man and his body. Just look at that smile! But I digress. Though Tank is always singing to us, you can still hear the ruggedness in his delivery. If you recall the end of the “Maybe I Deserve” video, you know what I’m talking about. We dig that.


I know ever since Whitney’s funeral, everybody associates Jaheim with that ridiculous purple suit. But let’s focus on his real career for a minute. It’s no surprise that Jaheim is a little hood considering he started his career as a rapper. Really, I’m glad he made the switch to R&B because his voice is a gift. If he had the proper material, I’m sure he’d be a bigger force in the R&B world. But just like Tank, maybe even a bit more so, he brings the street to those melodic notes of his. See what I mean:

If they gleam in the sun
while they spin and they fit on my truck then {I could remember}
And if it came in the sack
No stems no seeds in the bag girl {I could remember}

And if they drip from my wrist and they look like they shine like new then
{I could remember}
But Ohhh girl
I forgot to be your lover


Let’s pause for the cause as we reflect on the beauty that is Tyrese Gibson. The combination of that chocolate skin, those washboard abs and that Crest smile will have a sistah shouting, speaking in tongues and doing a quick Holy Ghost dance. God truly is good. The man is definitely model material. He becomes a double threat when he opens his mouth to sing, not talk. (Sometimes Tyrese will talk real reckless.) Either way, everything from his gruff voice, to the passion with which he sings his songs and even the movie roles he accepts all feed into his very masculine (very swexy) image. Plus he flat out told us he’s a rough sex type of dude:

How you gonna act like we don’t be makin’ love
You know we be tearin’ it up, breakin’ stuff, that ghetto love
How you gonna trip, how could you forget?
How you gonna act like that?

R. Kelly

Some of you don’t even like to speak R.Kelly’s name but the man is like a bad penny, he always shows up and no matter how tarnished, he still has worth. No shade Kelly, baby. I know you’re worth more than a penny. It’s just an analogy. I can’t pretend I don’t rock (hard) to his music, old and new. I won’t deny his talent. In fact, I had an R. Kelly jam session at work just last week and this recent re-exposure to some of his genius has reminded me that Kellz will never let you forget his manhood, sometimes in some very raunchy ways. True, a man who’s always throwing his sexuality in your face could be hiding something but with R.Kelly we tend to believe it.

You remind me of my jeep, I wanna ride it
Something like my sound, I wanna pump it
Girl you look just like my cars, I wanna wax it
And something like my bank account
I wanna spend it, baby


When K-Ci sings it’s almost like he’s in pain. You would never look at this skinny, scrawny man and think a voice that soulful, that rough and raspy would come out of him. But don’t be fooled, he’ll surprise you every time. We’re not going to get into it but from the interviews we’ve seen, perhaps K-Ci took his machismo a lot too far…

Aaron Hall

Nothing says masculine like a crotch grab, right? Lol You’re probably wondering why Aaron Hall made it onto this list considering he’s been missing from the music scene for the past two decades. (The brotha is training dogs now…no lie.)  But for some reason my friends and I keep Aaron Hall’s name alive, so I had to include him. Like K-Ci, Aaron Hall is another one with a coarse voice. But unlike K-Ci, Aaron Hall can get real nasally with his. We love it. No matter how nasally though, when Aaron Hall is singing you always know you’re listening to a ma-ann-nah.


D’Angelo is hands down my favorite man on this list. While D’Angelo could always croon us into the next millennium, we never forget that there’s that thuggish, ruggish bone in his body. What else can you say about a man who uses a love song as a double entendre to describe his affection for marijuana?  Brilliant. Then there was his song, “Sh!t, Damn, MotherF**ker.” That was a beautifully violent song straight from a bruised male ego. Then as if we needed our suspicions further confirmed, which we didn’t, Common spoke about D’Angelo’s duality in his memoir, One Day It’ll All Make Sense. He admired the fact that while D’Angelo had this high pitched, smooth voice he was not to be tested. He recalled how he once came into the studio with blood on him after getting into an altercation with someone out in the street. We’re not saying that fighting makes you a man but D’Angelo will never be mistaken as too feminine.

This certainly isn’t all of them… which R&B cats defy the stereotype?

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