The Year In R&B: 2010

Introduction By @TrueGodImmortal 
-The year 2010 was an interesting one in music. I tend to say this about a couple of years in music history, but 2010 really was interesting. In the mainstream, the sound of R&B was losing its luster in a way. As the year began, we were shocked to see a legend make a return to music, anxious to hear new albums from staples in the culture, and listening to see who the new stars of R&B were going to be. In 2010, we saw releases from big names like Trey Songz, Usher, Erykah Badu, Rihanna, Ne-Yo, Jaheim, Bruno Mars, Keyshia Cole and more, while R. Kelly attempted to change his style and image, Sade returned, and on the debut tip, Miguel brought us something special. For the Neo-Soul crowd, Bilal delivered a solid project, and one of my favorite singers, Eric Benet delivered what I believe is the best album of the entire year. I'll get more into that album later, but let's pass this over to some of the other guys in the team to get their opinions on the year 2010 in R&B. Let's get into it.

2010 was the year of Usher and Sade, flatout.

First, Usher.

Even though Raymond vs. Raymond wasn't his best project (hi Confessions and/or 8701), the year was owned by Usher. I mean that in so many ways. You literally saw musical descendants of Usher (for example, Trey Songz) come into their own and blossom in ways that wouldn't have been possible if folks like Usher didn't set up the blueprint. Plus, it was impossible to go to College Park bars and not have White girls dancing drunkenly to "OMG." Hell, it was impossible for me to go to CP bars and not dance to "OMG." While it wasn't "Yeah," it was still catchy enough to become a staple of the epic journey that's been Usher's career up to this point.

Now, Sade isn't really R&B in the traditional sense, but stick with me. The group (yes, let's remind you that Sade is a group--not just the amazing Sade Adu herself) transcends genres. But, Soldier of Love was that album that was needed. It was the perfect mix of emotional, lyrically ingenious, infectious, and just all out greatness that we deserved that year. And those components, my friends, are what rhythm and blues are made of. Was it Sade's best project? Nah. But, the group and Sade herself made their marks, once again, with a pretty timeless project.

Oh sorry. I almost forgot about Erykah Badu. Silly me. While "Window Seat" was thought-provoking while being sexy as hell, the album which is sprung from, was just oozing with political commentary, sexy vibes, and everything we came to love about Ms. Badu. Overall? It's an album you need in your lives at least once. Maybe twice if you just wanna hear "Window Seat" that badly (who can fault you? It's a dope-ass song).

 Looking back at R&B for 2010 and I realize it was a pretty solid year. Usher released a very solid album with "Raymond vs. Raymond". There weren't too many skippable tracks on here. This had nice features with Luda, T.I, Nicki Minaj & Will-I-Am who's featured on the lead single "OMG". The production was good and of course he had some nice slow jams as usual.

Chris Brown was still making his comeback and he did really well with "Deuces" feat. Tyga and Kevin McCall. The remix was even better with verses from Fab, Andre 3000, Kanye West, T.I and even Drake. Rihanna released Loud and took a more uptempo, pop route which was a left swing from her darker Rated R album. Trey Songz would end up dropping "Passion, Pain & Pleasure". This included the huge hit single "Bottoms Up" featuring Nicki Minaj, which helped both of their careers take huge leaps, and earn Trey more recognition after the 2009 "Ready" release. Keri Hilson released her sophomore album "No Boys Allowed" also, lead by her hot single "Pretty Girl Rock". This would be Keri's last album before her hiatus from the game.

Miguel launched his music career with "All I Want Is You" featuring J. Cole, who was also new to the game. Ciara's "Basic Instinct" came and "Ride" was the fourth time her and Ludacris collaborated. This also was followed by a very steamy video of her displaying her sensual dancing talents. Bruno Mars gave us "Doo Wops & Hooligans" with elements of reggae, R&B and pop, with a little 50's/60's sprinkled on it. Jazmine​ Sullivan put a lot of soul into her album "Love Me Back", displaying that on singles like "10 Seconds" & "Stuttering". Cee-Lo Green had his biggest single ever with "Fuck You" getting crazy airplay making its home on the charts for months.

Dondria, who was found by Jermaine Dupri on YouTube had a popular single with "You're The One". She released her debut album "Dondria vs Phatfffat" and two more singles before fading away. Her album was solid. Dru Hill was back off of an 8 year hiatus with their first album since 2002 with InDRUpendence Day and it was solid as well. All in all, it was a good year for R&B.

Here's a few of the songs I personally liked.
Trey Songz - Already Taken
Jazmine Sullivan - Holding You Down(Goin In Circles)
Chris Brown- Perfume & Sex
Usher- Foolin Around & Papers
Monica- Everything To Me
Keyshia Cole- Long Way Down
Miguel- Sure Thing
Raheem Devaughn & Ludacris- Bulletproof

Outro By @TrueGodImmortal
-For me, my favorite albums of the year come from Eric Benet and Usher. The Raymond V. Raymond album had some very good music on it, and with songs like "Mars vs Venus" and "There Goes My Baby", Usher gave us the right type of ballads and the perfect sound. While I do think Bilal came with a very solid album as well on Airtight's Revenge, I don't think the album was as effective as he planned for it to be. I could make a mention of how the women of the year managed to keep the music flowing as Janelle Monae, Monica, Ciara, Toni Braxton, and more brought the good vibes via their sound. As far as albums from the women in the genre, Erykah Badu has the strongest project with her 2nd installment of the New Amerykah album series. The production on this album is one of her best, and who could ever forget the infamous video for the first single off the album "Window Seat".

For the crowd that loves the artists of today, Trey Songz came with a solid album and one of my personal favorites of his, with Passion, Pain, and Pleasure. The album featured some really solid songs and hits, though I could do without ever hearing "Bottoms Up" again. Miguel debuted as I mentioned and on his debut, he gave us hits like the title track, "Sure Thing", and "Quickie". Ne-Yo dropped Libra Scale and delighted his audience, while Raheem Devaughn was able to add a more social and political awareness to his music with his album this year. The Marvin Gaye inspired "Bulletproof" track featuring Ludacris was a really solid song and a great contribution to the genre for the year.

As for the legends of the genre, Prince dropped 20Ten, a very slept on yet enjoyable project with one of my favorite tracks from him on there, "Future Soul Song", which is one of the more traditional R&B soul tracks of his career. The beautiful Sade returned (we know it's a band, but we all recognize her as the face of it) with the solid "Soldier Of Love". The album showcases Sade coasting over more updated production for the era, while still keeping her signature vibe in tact. Of course, R. Kelly would come with a very throwback sound to offset his usual style with the soulful "Love Letter" album, which seemed to pay homage to the 60's and 70's sound that likely shaped him as an artist. A new Dru Hill album dropped as well, and featured some very solid tracks, though overall it was a bit uneven, and without Woody Rock involved it wasn't the same.

As I mentioned earlier, one of my favorite albums was from Eric Benet with the classic "Lost In Time". I had been a fan of Benet before, but what made this album so special was that it is essentially flawless. There are no bad songs, with my favorites being the hit single "Sometimes I Cry", the smooth title track, the ode to his lady "Never Gonna Live Without You", the socially aware "Something's Wrong", and the ballad "Always A Reason". Benet delivered the best album of 2010 on the R&B side of things, capping off a very eventful year for the genre with solid music all around.



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