The Year In R&B: 2005

Introduction By @TrueGodImmortal
-There's a belief that the 2000s saw a decline in the R&B genre. While that is certainly debatable, it is very true that there is a smaller amount of classic albums in the genre during the latter half of the decade. One year that embodies bridging the gap between the two parts of the decade is 2005, which is the year right in the middle. It makes sense as the genre was changing in a way, while still trying to preserve the elements that we all loved. There were debuts from stars that would become viable as the decade came to a close, legends who came with some of their biggest moments in music, a comeback of sorts, and a lot of one hit wonders so to speak, as is always the case. Regardless of your feelings on 2005 as a whole in music, R&B definitely had plenty of representation and some of the biggest releases of the year came from the genre. Today, we gather to talk one of the last good years in R&B as a whole and look at our favorite releases as we usually do. Let's get into it.

While this was the year Chris Brown popped on the scene and had a couple heads at my high school doing a dance routine to "Run It," I want to talk about the greatest simp anthem of all-time. Yes, greater than "Let Me Love You," the song I probably sang to Ms. Pink Jacket in my high school dreams. I'm talking none other than "One Wish."

I want to talk about how/why Ray J couldn't prosper even after that song was so big. Was it because he was still living in the shadows of being Brandy's brother? Was it that the sex tape game hadn't hit yet (that was 2007 for those who forgot, even though the tape was apparently from 2003)? Or was it simply that Ray J was good for one song every couple of years and then he'd cake up off of reality TV money? Eh, probably the last one.

"One Wish" was that jam, even though 92Q played it to death. It was the right combination of simpiness and RNS that made it one of the--if not THE--greatest simp anthem of all-time. Now, there's nothing wrong with simping out for someone you really love. That simping is real and should be applauded (mostly). I love love, and I love the track. Someone tell Ray J to stop worrying about Kim K and Kanye and get back to ballad-y shit like this. THEN watch his popularity soar in the music business.

...but what do I know?

2005 had a lot of new acts popping up. Rihanna came on the scene with "Pon De Replay" which had an R&B/Dancehall vibe throughout the album. Chris Brown came on the scene as another singer/dancer with his self titled album. We'd seen many come and go, but he had something more. These two would become the new "It" pop/R&B artists. Teairra Mari gave us her self titled debut, but for some reason she didn't take off like the others. Keyshia Cole's "The Way It Is" came at a time when no other new female artist had that gritty singing style. T-Pain dropped "Rappa Ternt Sanga" changing the game with that infamous autotune. Bobby Valentino was now on his own from his boy band days with a self titled project. Brooke Valentine would release her 1st and only album "Chain Letter" before vanishing from the game.

You would also have Omarion release "O", which was his 1st effort since leaving B2K for a solo career. Jamie Foxx came out with an album that felt like his first, and although it wasnt his debut, his last effort was in 1994 so this was a new beginning and a risk for him in 05 that paid off. Pretty Ricky also had their debut album "Bluestars", and they had a unique setup of 3 rappers and a singer. The singer naturally was the strongest of the group and carried the tunes.

However, this was Mary J. and Mariah's year. Mary J dropped her 7th studio album "The Breakthrough" selling 730,000 the 1st week, making that her highest debut sales week ever. She couldn't do anything wrong. Outside of her album, she was giving us a walk down memory lane about what she's done in the game, the trials and tribulations she's been through and just showing appreciation to the fans. She was also claiming her title as  Queen of Hip Hop Soul and dropping dope verses, even rapping on Missy Elliott's "My Struggles", dropping a verse on 50 Cent & Game's "Hate It Or Love It" beat, along with Cassidy's "I'm A Hustla" and more. It was a new side of Mary that we could appreciate.

Mariah Carey dropped her 10th album "The Emancipation of Mimi". She and Jermaine Dupri created magic. This was considered her comeback album, which ended up being the best selling of the year and eventually going diamond worldwide.
Destiny's Child "#1's" would be a collection of their best hits with a few new tracks. Amerie also was back with "Touch" which had a funky-gogo-soulful vibe. J. Lo returned with "Rebirth" which had a similar sound to Amerie's "Touch", which was no coincidence. There was a little controversy behind that actually and it isn't surprising considering J. Lo had done similar things prior. Allegedly​ Amerie had more control in writing and had a certain sound in mind so she began recording. Simultaneously, J-Lo was brought that sound and was interested in it as well (not a shock). So since they shared labels and J-Lo was the bigger artist, Amerie had to fight to keep certain tracks as her own. It was very jnteresting to say the least, but not shocking if you know J. Lo and her career.

Ray J. was on his 3rd album with "Raydiation", which includes his most notable song to date "One Wish". Faith Evans  brought us "The First Lady" after a 4 year hiatus and she was now off Bad Boy records. R. Kelly was back with "TP3 Reloaded" which included the infamous 5 chapters of the "Trapped In The Closet" saga. Overall, the year was really solid and there were a number of tracks and albums that made the year worthwhile. 2005 was dope to me and I will always keep those vivid memories of the music.

Some songs that I appreciated from the year were as follows:
Keyshia Cole- Love
Mariah Carey- We Belong Together
Faith Evans- Tru Love
Mary J Blige- Take Me As I Am
Amerie- All I Need
Chris Brown- Yo (Excuse Me Miss)
Mary J Blige- No One Will Do
Chris Brown- Say Goodbye
Destinys Child- Stand Up For Love
Twista & Faith Evans- Hope
Mariah Carey- Dont Forget About Us
Omarion- I'm Tryna
T Pain- I'm Sprung
Bobby Valentino- Tell Me
Marques Houston- Sex With You

Outro By @TrueGodImmortal
-2005 R&B. One could argue that the debut of Chris Brown, Trey Songz, Rihanna, Keyshia Cole, and to a lesser extent, T-Pain, changed the course of the genre. That would be correct in many ways, as Keyshia furthered the heartbroken hood love tales of Mary J. Trey would take the role of a new age R. Kelly, and his debut would have a ton of influence from R. Kelly in it. Chris would carve a lane as a singer and dancer, while Rihanna would take the mix of R&B, pop, and reggae/dancehall and make it work for her. Of course, in the following years, Rihanna would lean to be much more pop, but on her first album, she seemed to be very interested in bringing more flavor with her music than many others around. You could also argue that solo debuts from Bobby Valentino and Omarion also had impact, and anyone that remembers that year vividly can tell you that both men set themselves up to be the future of the genre too. Bobby had a gold album and two big hits in "Slow Down" and "Tell Me", while Omarion had a big hit in his first single "O", and a classic track and video with the Pharrell produced and featured "Touch". While neither man would take over the genre, they made a solid impact.

The legends weren't to be forgotten this year either however. Mary J. Blige came back strong with her album "The Breakthrough", which featured her huge single "Be Without You", and she would sell millions of copies to remind us who the real queen of hip hop soul was. Mariah Carey seemed as if she had fell off, and while I agree, she came back stronger than ever with her "Emancipation of Mimi" album, which featured some huge singles, none bigger than the slightly annoying but infectious "We Belong Together". Both Mary and Mariah would sell millions upon millions and own the year in terms of the charts and visibility. However, they weren't the only legends to have a great year, as R. Kelly would come with his TP3 Reloaded album and the creative yet eventually worn out "Trapped In The Closet" series, which was yet another highlight on the year. Songs like "In The Kitchen" and "Playas Only" showed the many dimension of him as an artist, but the highlight for Kelly was the "Trapped In The Closet" series without a doubt. The final legends to release a project this year were Stevie Wonder and Babyface, and though neither album was a huge seller, it still made a small impact and both projects were enjoyable.

Other noteworthy releases came from Jamie Foxx ("Unpredictable" is a near classic), Marques Houston (salute to Tank for writing the hilarious "Naked"), Pretty Ricky (who had a huge single with "Grind With Me"), Amerie, Brooke Valentine (what happened to her?), Teairra Mari, 112, Kem, Alicia Keys (her Unplugged album), and many more. Overall, 2005 wasn't the greatest year in R&B, but it had enough quality to be an important year.



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