Chaka Khan Slams Rolling Stone's Best Singers List, Disses Mariah Carey, Adele, Mary J. Blige

Fatima Araos
Closeup of Chaka Khan
Getty | Roy Rochlin

When Rolling Stone came out with their 200 Greatest Singers of All Time list on New Year’s Day, more than a few eyebrows were raised at some of the choices (or non-choices).

Chaka Khan Was On It, But Didn't Know At First

The fuss eventually died down and we thought that was that. But then, Chaka Khan got wind of the list two months after it came out, and it has now caused some major eyebrow-raising again.

She's Number 29

Chaka Khan performing
Flickr | eatsdirt

The 69-year-old singer actually made the list at a respectable number 29 – that’s three positions ahead of David Bowie, a.k.a. not bad at all!

So, What's All The Fuss About?

During a recent appearance on The Originals podcast, Khan was congratulated by host Andrew Goldman for snagging a spot.

That Was How She Found Out

Chaka Khan performing
Flickr | Los Toros

It turned out that was the first time she was hearing about it.

'Don't Mean A Great Deal To Me'

Closeup of Chaka Khan
Flickr | kirstiecat

“I didn’t even know what the hell you were talking about, so obviously this don’t mean a great deal to me,” she told Goldman. “These people don’t quantify or validate me in any way.”

What Happened When She Found Out Who The Others Were, Though?

However, the Through the Fire hitmaker wanted to know who else made the list, and three names in particular caused some expletives to escape her lips.

Mariah Carey

Mariah Carey in a white sweater
Flickr | mrblaze111

First, reacting to Mariah Carey landing on number five, she said, “That must be payola or some s**t like that.”


Adele performing onstage
Flickr | Weekends with Adele

Next, when she found out Adele had beaten her by several spots (the Easy on Me singer was named the 22nd greatest), Khan said, “Okay, I quit.”

Mary J. Blige

Mary J. Blige performing onstage
Flickr | jondivens1975

But it was Mary J. Blige’s name that unleashed a profanity-laced rant directed at Rolling Stone’s editors.

What She Said

Chaka Khan performing
Flickr | Bip_America

“These b****es are blind as a motherf***ing bat! They need hearing aids. They don’t have hearing aids? They have no eyes. They have no ears. They must have a - these b****es, you know what? These must be the children of Helen Keller!” she exploded.

Khan And Blige Are Frenemies

For a bit of context, Khan and Blige happen to be long-time frenemies, with a history going back two decades.

Blige Covered Khan's Song

Mary J. Blige performing
Flickr | mrblaze111

It began in 1992, when Blige did a cover of Sweet Thing, a 1975 song by funk and R&B band Rufus with Khan on vocals.

'The Song Mary J. Blige F***ed Up'

Chaka Khan performing
Flickr | gem_106

The cover was not good enough as far as the Ain’t Nobody singer was concerned. From then on, she would refer to Sweet Thing as “the song Mary J. Blige f***ed up.”

They Later Recorded Together

They eventually made peace and even collaborated on a song titled Disrespectful in 2007. With the Rolling Stone list, though, we wonder if there’s still some bitterness there.

Which Singers Did She Approve Of?

Clip of Chaka Khan performing
Giphy | VH1

On a positive note, there were some artists on the list that got Khan’s stamp of approval.

Aretha Franklin

Closeup of Aretha Franklin
Flickr | aar_eng

For example, Aretha Franklin was on the number one spot – “as she f***ing should be,” the I Feel for You singer exclaimed.

Whitney Houston

Whitney Houston recording
Flickr | Los Toros

She also thought that Whitney Houston being named the second best singer was “great.”


Beyonce accepting an award
Flickr | baudhanupam0097

On Beyoncé grabbing the number eight position, she said, “I’m not gonna comment on that. I don’t have anything to say about Beyoncé. She’s a great singer, okay? She really has opportunity to be a great singer. She has what it takes. She got the chops, she does, okay?”

No Bad Blood Between Her And Bey

Clip of Chaka Khan performing
Giphy | Soul Train

The reason for that tinge of defensiveness? The outspoken artist allegedly called Beyoncé a b***h years ago – a rumor she denied.