At any rate, as much as I like her, I completely understand why she sort of remains a cult figure- her voice is an acquired taste and she's as much of a jazz artist as she is a soul artist. I would actually argue that she's *more* of a jazz artist than a soul artist- she famously wanted to be an instrumentalist (starting with classical and moving on to jazz) and only started singing because no clubs would hire her if she didn't. And despite the "High Priestess of Soul" title, her stuff is in the jazz section at my local record store.
And hey, for someone who's essentially a cult artist, she's gotten a lot of recognition in recent years- a high profile/well-regarded Netflix doc *and* a theatrically released biopic (which wasn't supposed to be very good but that fact that it got made definitely says something) not to mention Kayne sampling her and other popular modern musicians dropping her name etc.
Aretha's not one of my absolute favorites but as far as black female soul singers are concerned, she does seem to tower above everyone else and I don't have a problem with that. Her technique is pretty much flawless and though I don't love everything she's done, she has several classic tracks that I'd rank among the greatest soul songs ever.
I mean, who can really compare to Aretha? Diana Ross? Too lightweight. Tina Turner? Too screamy and was way better with Ike than solo. Ann Peebles? Love her but most folks only know "Can't Stand The Rain" and can't even identify the artist. Gladys Knight? Has anybody every cared about anything she's done without The Pips?