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Before I make this list that could be questioned by everyone who will read this post, I based my criteria  off of the following: Production, Song Selection, Hits, Album Sales, and Impact on the R&B Community.

Let the list begin………

10. Maxwell: BLACKsummer’snight 2009       

This may be too early for this album to make the list, with the criteria above, there is no way that this album shouldn’t make the list. In a year where traditional R&B is almost a lost art, Maxwell reminds us that traditional R&B still exists. Bringing back its 30 and over fans, Maxwell distinguished himself from the younger generation and delivered one of the best R&B albums of 2009 and stamped R&B with an album it could never forget. From its cleverly worded break-up song smash hit “Pretty Wings”, to his follow-up hit “Bad Habit”, he made vocal R&B relevant in a genre that is now dominated by artist

9.  Mary J. Blige: The Breakthrough 2005       

Just when we thought the Queen of R&B’s best days were over she proved the critics wrong once again in 2005 with her dynamic album The Breakthrough. The smash hit “Be Without You”, gave you a glimpse of the old Mary from the 90’s. Not being the greatest vocalist but embodying exactly what soul music is. On this album you can feel the hurt and pain that Mary felt during this time. It was a reminder that when R&B female stars are selling lust and sex, there is always Mary to give us the truest essence of R&B and soul music.

8. Justin Timberlake: FutureSex/LoveSounds 2006

Damn it this white boy has soul. We all know Justin Timberlake as the curly haired lead singer from pop boy band N’Sync, but what we didn’t know is that this man can flat out bring it. In 2003 he dropped his debut album Justified which earned him solo success and respect among his R&B peers. While Justified was good, in 2006 Justin gave R&B an album it would never forget. It spawned his first #1 hit with “Sexy Back” which ultimately became his biggest solo song hit of his career. Also the album had no songs with lyrics written on paper and had beats from super producer Timbaland. While “Sexy Back” was the albums biggest hit, it wasn’t the only one. It also spawned top 10 hits such as “My Love”, “What Goes Around Comes Around”, and “Until The End Of Time”. Justin shocked everyone with this album and I have a strange feeling that he isn’t done yet.

7. R. Kelly: TP-2.Com 2000  

Now aside from all the legal drama that R. Kelly has been through in the past decade, there is NO way that you can deny that the man is a musical genius and showed it on his 2000 album TP-2.com. Now at the time, we were all used to the bald R. Kelly who poured his heart in soul into every hit that he came out with such as “I Believe I Can Fly”, but on this album R. Kelly went back to his roots and came out with the 2nd version of 12 play, TP-2.com. This album has hit after hit after hit and gives us vintage R. Kelly singing the panties off every woman that listens to it. But the best thing about the album it gives us more than just sex with “Greatest Sex”, “Feeling On Your Booty”, and “Strip For You” but also he pours out his feelings for his late mother and friend with “I Wish” and the remix and also a couple of break up songs with “A Womans Threat” and “I Don’t Mean It”. All in all R. Kelly began the decade on the right foot by delivering  this dynamic album and proving himself worthy of the throne as the king of R&B.

6. Keyshia Cole: The Way It Is 2005  

So while Mary J. Blige was asleep, there was a new comer on the scene giving women what they missed in R&B at the time, and that was a woman to express all the hurt and pain they were going through and from Oakland emerges Keyshia Cole. Keyshia gave R&B desperately what it needed at the time and that was a woman who could relate to the majority of women out there who were dealing with lying, cheating, low-down dirty men. Now as a man, I hated every song that came out, but as a lover of R&B, I could not deny what this album meant to a lot of women. It let them know it was ok to cry and be upset, but at the end of the day get up, dust yourself off and keep on moving. This album had hits written all over it with “I Just Want It To Be Over”, “I Should Have Cheated” and “Love”, mix that with all of the pain and hurt in Keyshia’s voice you get one of the most heartfelt albums this decade had to offer.

5. Beyonce: B’Day 2006

So now we enter the top 5 R&B albums of the decade and lets face it Beyonce owned this decade. It all started when she went solo from Destiny’s Child and came out with her solo debut Dangerously In Love which gave us a peek of what was yet to come. Now I can name all the hits off the album, but there are 2 that stick out in my mind. “Irreplaceble” is the get your shit and go song of the decade. Just by the first line “to the left to the left” let me know as a man that if I am not doing my job I will be fired. The next song “Get Me Bodied” had every female and their mama dancing in groups at every club acting out the video to this song. It became a ladies anthem everywhere and it spread almost like a plague. That is the kind of affect that Beyonce has on R&B and this album was almost like the icing to the cake from what was done since her Destiny’s Child days.

4. John Legend: Get Lifted 2004  

Now what do you get when you mix heavenly vocals, kanye west produced tracks, and a man who can ply the piano like his fingers were made just for each key……you get John Legend and his 2004 debut Get Lifted took the R&B world by storm. No one knew who John Legend was when he sang on hooks and went on tour with Kanye West, but by the end of the year in 2004, everyone was a fan of Mr. John Legend. It’s hard to define what soul music is sometimes, but I think that everyone will agree that John Legend owns the title of soul music. With its smash hit “Ordinary People”, this propelled John Legend into a superstar and earning him grammy nominations and awards. He wrote, produced, composed, and performed most of the songs on the album, which that alone is an accomplishment by itself in a day where everyone isn’t a musician. John Legend reminded us with this album that there are some damn good musicians still around in the R&B genre.

3. Alicia Keys: The Diary Of Alicia Keys 2003  

Speaking of musicians, as I’m making this list I am having a real tough time just picking one of Alicia Keys albums. Its almost like everything that this woman touches turns into platinum. Her 2nd album, “The Diary Of Alicia Keys” is arguably one of the best pieces of music ever assembled on one CD. Along with winning a record tieing 5 Grammy awards, she also wrote, composed, produced and performed most of the songs on this album letting us know that her 1st album was not a fluke.

2. Mariah Carey: The Emancipation of Mimi 2005  

Don’t call it a comeback!!! She’s been here for years. That is the line that should be used to describe this masterpiece that Mariah put out. Now, in the 1990’s Mariah Carey was the only artist who spawned a #1 hit in each year. The early 2000’s was a little different for her, coming out with “Glitter” and “Charmbracelet”. Everyone was starting to wonder, what the hell happened to Mariah Carey? Not so fast, in 2005 marked the return of an R&B superstar. She went back to her roots and started singing from what was in her heart again, she put away all the fairytale stuff and sang about what every woman needed to hear and that was to be free from any stress that was holding down their lives, hints the album title The Emancipation of Mimi. She got back with producer Jermaine Dupri and made magic. “Its Like That”, “Fly Like A Bird”, “We Belong Together”, “Shake It Off” are some just to name a few songs that came with Mariah’s new stress free attitude that she brought with this album and she proved a lot of people wrong who thought she was finished. Like I said don’t call it a comeback!!!!!!!!

1. Usher: Confessions 2004

As if you didn’t know? Usher’s Confessions is by far the best R&B album of this decade hands down. This album had absolutely everything you could want. Just by reading this is making you want to go into your itunes and listen to this album all over again like the first time you heard it. This album had club bangers, “Yeah” and “Caught Up”, and gave you a peek into Usher’s personal life. The song confessions alone is enough to drama to last you the entire album but he came with everything he had on this album. There were number one hits flying all over the place, he opened up with selling over 900,000 copies leaving his competition in awe of what he had just put out. This album was the total package and I am almost positive that everyone would agree with me when I say that this is at the top of everyone’s list.

I hope that you enjoyed this trip down memory lane with these classic R&B albums that took us through middle school, high school and also our early adulthood. I don’t expect you to agree with this list but here are a few great albums that didn’t make the list but are honorable mentions.

Jill Scott: Who Is Jill Scott? Words & Sounds Vol. 1 2000

Chrisette Michele: I Am 2007

Ne-Yo: In My Own Words 2006

Musiq Soulschild: Aijuswanaseing 2000

Anthony Hamilton: Comin’ From Where I’m From

Raphael Saadiq: The Way I See It 2008

The Dream: Love Vs Money 2007

Aaliyah: Aaliyah 2001 (R.I.P

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2 Comments

  1. I agree with the entire list, especailly #1, that is definitely the CD that I can always listen to. Good Job!!

  2. I agree homeboi…


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