Tevin Campbell agrees with Usher’s sentiment about his status as the current King of R&B, but also says R. Kelly is worthy of mention, even as the disgraced singer is currently incarcerated on a 30-year sentence for several sex crimes.
Campbell was stopped at the airport by TMZ not long after rocking the stage with Usher in Las Vegas. While he was quick to give king and price titles to several singers such as Sam Cooke and Donny Hathaway and Marvin Gaye, he also brushed off any attempted discussion about whether he could touch Usher in a hit-for-hit style competition.
“I ain’t saying nothing! I got nothing to do with that!” he exclaimed. “All I know is, Usher’s great. He’s a great artist. We can all be kings and be great at what we do and co-exist as kings.”
When asked about Usher’s statements regarding Verzuz, Campbell brought up Kelly, much to the interviewer’s surprise.
“Well, you know, there’s R. Kelly,” Campbell said. “I’m not saying anybody can compete with him but R. Kelly has a lot of hits and he wrote all of them. I don’t know if anybody can actually … when I think of an R&B artist who has a lot of hits, I think of R. Kelly and not only his hits, but he’s written hits for other people. But that whole Verzuz thing is great, I just don’t believe in competition.”
The conversation around R&B has jumped in recent weeks thanks to Diddy proclaiming the genre was “dead” before walking it back.
Usher, a former protégé of the Bad Boy mogul, had to call Puff’s comments “crazy.”
“When I do hear people, even like Puff saying, you know R&B is dead, he sounds nuts to me,” he told the SiriusXM show Bevelations. “It sounds, it sounds, it sounds crazy. You know, especially knowing he was a pioneer in understanding and beneficiary of it.
“You know, the source that is R&B created the breath of life that was breathed into Hip Hop. It wouldn’t be. There would be no Hip Hop if there were not R&B, so it’s blasphemous to hear me say, to hear people say anything, especially Hip Hop cats, to say anything about R&B.”
Watch the video of Usher and Campbell performing the 1991 hit “Can We Talk” during Usher’s Las Vegas residency below.