5 Artists Mariah Carey Should Do a ‘Verzuz’ Battle Against… Who Aren’t R. Kelly

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Mariah Carey might be due for a Verzuz battle soon, but who would be worthy to go up against the timeless hitmaker?

Her ex-husband Nick Cannon claimed in a recent interview there was only one person who could do it based on their versatile musical talent: R. Kelly. But that obviously won’t be happening since the R&B singer-songwriter is currently on trial for sex trafficking in New York. The Lambs claimed the late Whitney Houston would have been Mimi’s real competition, but of course her “When You Believe” duet partner died in 2012.

Let’s check MC’s stats before moving any further: She has 19 Billboard Hot 100 No. 1 hits, six Billboard 200 No. 1 albums and five Grammy Awards. The Recording Industry Association of America recognizes her as the highest-certified female artist in the United States, tying Barbra Streisand with 68.5 million certified album units. She was also inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame last year.

Below, Billboard compiled a list of possible Verzuz battle contenders for Mariah Carey.

Janet Jackson

Cannon said a Mariah Caret vs. Janet Jackson battle would be “fire” based on the “level of diva,” but the pair also obviously works based on the level of talent. With 10 Hot 100 No. 1s, seven No. 1 albums and five Grammys under her belt, the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer has comparable stats. Both artists could even whip out their past work with the Jackson family for one of the rounds, with Carey performing her beloved 1992 cover of Jackson 5’s “I’ll Be There” and Janet paying homage to her late brother Michael Jackson with their 1995 collaboration “Scream.”

Mary J. Blige

The Queen of Christmas versus the Queen of Hip-Hop Soul could be the New York diva showdown of the ages, and Twitter seems pretty divided about who would come out as the champion. They could go hit after hit just based on their ’90s catalogs alone, while also duking it out in a round dedicated to their 2014 collaboration “It’s a Wrap.”


The battle between the Lambily and the Beyhive’s favorites would certainly break the Internet. While Bey and Mimi have incredible stats backing them — both have six No. 1 albums, but Carey has 12 more Hot 100 No. 1s on Beyoncé, while the Destiny’s Child superstar has 23 more Grammys than MC — their catalogs are equally expansive, dating back to the ’90s and blending pop, R&B, hip-hop and soul into the biggest anthems that built listeners up and consoled them when they felt broken down.

Missy Elliott

Misdemeanor is a quintuple threat herself, being a four-time Grammy-winning singer, songwriter, rapper, producer and MTV VMAs Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award-winning music video superstar. Their versatile Verzuz battle could expand beyond their own discographies and include songs MC helped write for other artists (such as Trey Lorenz’s “Someone to Hold” and Faith Hill’s “Where Are You Christmas”) and songs Missy produced for other artists (Ciara’s “1, 2 Step” and even Carey’s own “Babydoll,” as examples).

Stevie Wonder

Although Cannon called Stevie Wonder “the greatest” in his Breakfast Club interview and claimed he had no real competition, it wouldn’t hurt to be a little superstitious and believe Carey could go head-to-head against her “all time favorite artist.” They’re equally talented singers as they are songwriters, and Wonder has served as a key influence in her career. And if the Songwriter Hall of Famers had a Verzuz face-off closer to Christmas time (*cough cough* on Nov. 1 or any date after), then Wonder’s “What Christmas Means to Me” or “Someday at Christmas” and Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas Is You” would be the perfect picks for a holiday-themed round.

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