Best R&B Artist (2011)

Mint Condition

Thanks in part to an opening slot on Prince's sporadic Welcome 2 America tour on the East Coast this past winter, St. Paul's Mint Condition are being pushed back into the national spotlight—and they sound as fresh and funky as ever. In a pop landscape dominated by electronic drum beats and Auto-Tune, Mint Condition are the real deal, an old-school organic R&B act that values composition, production, and talented musicianship over posturing and swagger. Their new record, 7..., shows that they're still pushing forward in search of the perfect hook, crafting airtight grooves to complement Stokley Williams's sultry croon. After 20-plus years in the business and a six-year hiatus in the early aughts, Mint Condition might finally garner some of that high-profile attention they deserve.