“It’s unfortunate, and I don’t mean to open up this can, but the only person who has the level of talent, and this would never happen, the level of talent and hits…,” he started before placing extra emphasis on his ex’s songwriting saavy and saying he’s “not impressed” by quote-unquote hitmakers who can perform songs “that it took 30 people to make with you.” While naming Stevie Wonder as an artist who couldn’t be matched, Cannon picked Kelly as MC’s only probable but highly unrealistic match.
“Only person in this day and age who could’ve gone against Mariah Carey — because she writes all of her songs, she actually produces all of her songs, she puts the songs together and performs them at a high level — R. Kelly,” he answered.
That Verzuz will not be happening anytime soon, as R. Kelly is currently undergoing a sex trafficking trial in Brooklyn, New York, which began on Monday. The jury has already been selected as of Wednesday. The R&B hitmaker’s charges include racketeering, human trafficking, enticement of a minor, obstruction of justice and child pornography, among others, citing events dating back to the early ’90s.
While A-list names from Mary J. Blige to the late Whitney Houston and Prince also flew around the room, Cannon picked Janet Jackson as the legendary artist he would love to see go up against the “Obsessed” singer purely based on the diva level. “People talk about Mariah and Janet, which on that level of diva, I would love to see…. Mariah and Janet would be fire,” he said. “But if we just talking about skill level, like how we got excited for Dipset and The Lox, we talking about matching talent, because Mariah is a writer and has written more hits than anybody. Only other person I could think of that has that ability, that could sit down and make music out on the spot, was R. Kelly.”
Cannon continued: “I’ve actually watched Mariah write out lyrics and say, ‘I’m going to go put this to something.’ … I watched R. Kelly do the same thing. His was on some savant-type sh–, where he would be [vocalizing] and then [snaps], five minutes later, it’s a whole a– hit song. Obviously he had so many other problems and issues and pain in his life that we will no longer get to see him do that anymore, but we still got to acknowledge the fact that the man was gifted.”
Watch Cannon discuss his Verzuz battle pick for MC below.