The Year In R&B: 2000

Introduction By @TrueGodImmortal 
The year was 2000. With the 90s at a close, the music was not the same. While hip hop was in a rather interesting place, R&B was well in its prime, showcasing a renewed sense for love and happiness. Some of the albums and songs released and that were popular this year happen to be etched in R&B history to many of us. I couldn't name every single release from the year due to my time constraints and the fact that it's beyond plentiful, but I'd have to touch on a few of the best projects for sure. For many, Aaliyah was one of the best singers or artists of the generation and I'm sure with songs like "I Don't Wanna" and "Try Again" off the Romeo Must Die Soundtrack, among a few other songs from her on there as well, that she certainly fulfilled everyone's appetite for new Aaliyah music. Another beautiful songstress, Mya, released her album Fear Of Flying this year as well, and who could forget the original Jadakiss version and the epic Jay-Z remix of her song "Best of Me". Mya is recognized for both her looks and her music, but this album was pretty successful, striking platinum on the year.

There's a genre of R&B affectionately known as Turtleneck R&B, and for those unfamiliar, Turtleneck R&B was resurrected with the Bad Boy Records artist Carl Thomas. All jokes aside, Carl sat on the cover of his album Emotional wearing a turtleneck while in deep thought, and the album almost exactly reflects that. From the title track to the hit singles "I Wish" and "Summer Rain", this album had all you could want and more. Be sure to look out for a possible solo article on this album in the future, as it is my 2nd favorite release of the year 2000. The crooner who many felt was very similar to R. Kelly, Avant, debuted with his first album My Thoughts which featured the classic single "Separated". The album is another solid one on the year and fit perfectly in between the balance of softer R&B and somewhat thugged out R&B, which was growing in stature at the time. One group that managed to be a balance to that as well would be Jagged Edge, as they seemed to appreciate the labels of R&B thug placed on them. However, their biggest album J.E. Heartbreak, which paid homage to the New Edition classic from the late 80s, had a ton of hits on it and really set up Jagged Edge to become one of the more popular groups in the genre during this decade overall. Their album featured the hits "Promise" and "Let's Get Married".

Baltimore duo Ruff Endz debuted with their album Love Crimes, and if we're being honest, they were architects of the genre known as wave cap R&B. Sure, durags were all the rage then, but Ruff Endz managed to keep it as trill as possible with the wave caps with the fedora over it. Once again, all jokes aside, they struck gold with their first hit single "No More", which sounds exactly like an upbeat R&B song from 2000 should. The trio Next would have their time to shine as the group album Welcome To Nextasy garnered a gold plaque and began the trend in some ways of calling your woman "wifey". How monumental was that in essence for the genre and for the world over? Next wasn't the first to utilize the term "wifey", they just made it more mainstream than it had been before. Craig David can be seen as a big release on the year as well, and his album Born To Do It was a favorite to many on the year if you're a fan. Another trio hit big as Lucy Pearl combined core elements of En Vogue, Tony Toni Tone and A Tribe Called Quest to make a solid album and spawn a legendary track in "Dance Tonight". Yet again another highlight on the year.

The three greatest albums of the year however overall in the genre go to D'Angelo with his best album Voodoo, Erykah Badu with her timeless classic Mama's Gun, and the R. Kelly follow up to his initial classic, Each of these albums represented a different element of what the genre had to offer and when we look back on this year, these are the three timeless classics that we had to enjoy. However, I think it's time to let someone else take the floor here. I'll pass it on the team. This is the year 2000 in R&B.

R&B in the year 2000 seemed as though everyone was getting their fair share of exposure and even artists in the subgenres of R&B were becoming household names like Jill Scott, Erykah Badu and D'angelo. Artists who'd been seasoned in the game were evolving their sound and keeping themselves relevant such as Mariah, Mary J, R. Kelly and Janet. Destiny's Child was ruling the charts. Soloists and groups were equally popular. Singers adding rappers to tracks or vice versa seemed to be an automatic hit recipe. A lot of records started to have a more uptempo sound with a little hip hop mixed in and this formula hasn't stopped. Some of my favorite R&B singles in 2000 were as follows:
Sade- By Your Side
Jagged Edge- Promise
Beenie Man & Mya - Girls Dem Suga (I consider this a great blend of Reggae and R&B)
Sisqo - Incomplete
Carl Thomas - Emotional
Mya & Jadakiss - Best of Me (And of course, the remix with Hov) and there are so many more sings to choose from. It's hard to list them all if I'm being honest. My favorite R&B albums of 2000 were Jagged Edge's J.E. Heartbreak and Musiq Soulchild's Aijuswanaseing. All around a truly great year.

If ’98 was the best year for R&B, the turn of the millennium would be second if not right on par. The albums that came out in 2000 were exceptional (IMO) and that’s because they were follow ups from some of our favorite artists. Let me take you through the few albums that I believed carried the year.

I’m gonna start my list off with an R&B group I barely ever talk about, but I have tremendous love for, Jagged Edge. They released their sophomore album “J.E Heartbreak”. Overall I think J.E gave us an excellent album, we have a short tracklist and since they are masters of their craft, we get some beautiful ballads with their near perfect harmonization. My favorite track on the entire album is “Let’s Get Married” (of course it is), but I also appreciate “He Can’t Love You” and “Promise” as well. What isn’t my most favorite is the features of Ja Rule and Jermaine Dupri. Jagged Edge shines when they’re singing and being sweet, caring and sensitive, so tracks like “Keys To The Range” and “Girl Is Mine” is a bit out of character and comes across a bit off. Overall though, this is an enjoyable album and definitely a fantastic addition to the “millennium releases”.

Next we have Joe with his release of “My Name Is Joe”. This is the second best release of the year in my opinion. Every single track on this album is phenomenal and the album includes a couple features, which is definitely a highlight. His voice is reminiscent of silk rippling in wind with instrumental accompaniments that magnify the smoothness and softness of his words. Joe really gives us everything from tracks like “I Wanna Know”, “Thank God I Found You” and “I Believe In You”, which epitomize love, relationships and timeless classics to “Stutter”, “Get Crunk Tonight” and “Black Hawk”, which appeals to those who want to spare the meaningful love stricken ballads. Collaborating with Nas and N'Sync was brilliant given their relevancy as well as providing variation. This was the album that regardless of what situation you’re going through, it was relatable. Like I said, Joe knows exactly how to pull on the heartstrings and make you love each and every word he sings. This was a flawless project and the genre is better because of it.

If Joe’s release wasn’t enough, Boyz II Men grace us with “Nathan Michael Shawn Wanya”, which takes the title for best release of 2000. These guys are perfect and everything they release is utter perfection. They have been groundbreaking and revolutionary for the genre, so it should come as no surprise that this album was also well received. Boyz II Men are the balance between slow & smooth and upbeat and bouncy. Their songs put you in your feelings for a couple tracks and then snap you out just as quick. The variation is undeniable with “Beautiful Women”, “Pass You By”, “Thank You In Advance” and “Dreams” all giving the fans something to love. From the old school “Cooleyhighharmony” to this one, their growth and maturity is evident while staying true to the essence of R&B. Boyz II Men are true gems and with every album release they blessed radio airwaves worldwide.

After an eight year hiatus, my favorite lady of R&B emerges with a release. That’s right, Sade releases “Lovers Rock” and she resurfaces in true “Sade form” with a short album filled with instant favorites and classics. Sade has always been someone who comes with sultry vocals and heartfelt emotion. She bleeds her music and that’s what her fans love. This album is one that instantly puts me in my feelings so I listen to it as needed, but once I do it’s on repeat for days. “King Of Sorrow”, “Somebody Already Broke My Heart” and “By Your Side” are true perfection and the others aren’t far behind. This was another gem of the year and would hold us over until her following release a decade later.

Although I only gave you a few releases which were notable to me, there are still a handful that are worth mentioning, including the Erykah Badu release “Mama’s Gun”, Toni Braxton's “The Heat” and of course the best greatest hits album of all time by Whitney Houston also. As I said the turn of the millennium would prove to be a great year for R&B fans, we got gem after gem from our favorite artists. We didn’t know back then that these would become timeless classics and be used as examples and standards some 16 years later, 2000 proved to be a fantastic year and these releases are perfect examples.

Outro By @TrueGodImmortal
-The year featured so much greatness that it's almost crazy to think of how much we witnessed. I mean Toni Braxton came back strong with her album The Heat, Sade killed it with Lovers Rock, Jill Scott debuted with her immaculate album Who Is Jill Scott: Words And Sounds Vol. 1, Musiq Soulchild released his debut, even Joe kept the ladies happy with his album My Name Is Joe. I mean to be honest, the list goes on and on, and when we look back at it, I think we will find it obvious and undeniable that the year 2000 in R&B was one of the best years ever in the genre. I wish we could go back.



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