DAR Music: The 30 Greatest R&B Albums Of The 2000s

By @TrueGodImmortal 

The 2000s decade was full of great music and great artists. Today, we wanted to take a look back at a great decade and the best albums from the decade. Missing from this list are artists that essentially walk the line of R&B and pop like Justin Timberlake, Beyonce, Rihanna, and of course, the legendary Michael Jackson. That takes nothing away from them, it's just we feel they transcend the genre and their albums during this decade won't be included. Unlike our year in R&B retrospectives, there is no grey area. These are R&B and soul albums through and through, and the best of the best. With that being said, let's take a look at the 30 greatest R&B albums of the 2000s decade. There will be some albums you'd probably expect missing (maybe), but every album on this list, deserves to be here for various reasons. Let's get into it.

30. Al Green- Lay It Down (2008)

-Surprised to see this album here? Don't be. It's a new age classic for an artist who has been around since the 60's and 70's. Al Green weaves through production mostly handled by Questlove and James Poyser, with features from John Legend on the epic "Stay With Me", and appearances by Anthony Hamilton, Corinne Bailey Rae and more. A true underrated classic.

29. Lyfe- Lyfe 268-192 (2004)

-The debut album from the rough and rugged voice singer is very soulful in its own right, and with tracks like "Must Be Nice" and the hilarious yet smooth "Hypothetically", Lyfe definitely delivered on this one to the tune of 1 million copies sold.

28. Angie Stone- Mahogany Soul (2001)

-Angie was one of those artists that shocked you with her vocal prowess and her music, and this album is her best. The uplifting anthem for black men on "Brotha", along with the smooth "Wish I Didn't Miss You", which is one of her biggest hits. This is her greatest moment as an artist.

27. Alicia Keys- As I Am (2007)

-This 2007 release was one of the biggest of the decade and rightfully so. Alicia had been gone for a while on a 4 year hiatus and returned in a major way. This album sold extremely well, and features one of her most infamous singles "No One" and of course, the dope tracks "Superwoman" and "Teenage Love Affair" help to round out an album that isn't exactly as good as her first two, but is not too far behind it.

26. Erykah Badu- New Amerkyah Part 1 (2008)

-This was an album that I truly enjoyed from Badu and probably my 3rd favorite in her catalog. She utilizes producers like 9th Wonder and Madlib to perfection, and tracks like "The Healer", "That Hump", "Telephone", and "Master Teacher" all make this a truly great listen.

25. Solange- Sol-Angel And The Hadley St. Dreams (2008)

-The difference between Solange and her sister are quite apparent. While Beyonce transcends the genre in a way, Solange is a true soul and R&B artist. This album is her best (though her latest might overtake that spot) and from the moment you hear the opening track "God Given Name", you know you're in for something special.

24. Robin Thicke- The Evolution of Robin Thicke (2006)

-I was reluctant to put this album on here, but it's a must for the simple fact that Robin Thicke finally came to prominence with this album. With his hit single "Lost Without You", as well as tracks like "Can You Believe", "Shooter", and "Wanna Love U Girl", Robin brought some solid blue eyed soul on this album, his most infamous.

23. Ne-Yo- In My Own Words (2006)

-Though he was a pretty popular songwriter at the time, Ne-Yo would finally step out as an artist and his first album was a very solid effort that features tracks like "So Sick", "When You're Mad", "Sexy Love", and more. Ne-Yo definitely doesn't disappoint on his debut.

22. Jamie Foxx- Unpredictable (2005)

-I'd like to consider this album one that many slept on, even though it's nearly triple platinum. It's one of my favorite albums of the decade and I think Jamie showed his range as an artist here. The title track is one of my favorites, as is "Can I Take U Home" and of course the smooth bedroom anthem "Storm (Forecast)" helped to round out a very solid return to music for Jamie.

21. Musiq- Juslisen (2002)

-The 2nd album from Musiq Soulchild is his best, as it shows him comfortable in the Neo-Soul lane, and bringing more traditional R&B music this go round in tracks like "Half Crazy" and "Don't Change". Overall, this is a very strong album and a showcase of what Musiq does best.

20. Ciara- Goodies (2004)

-When Ciara jumped out on the scene, she was an instant star. This debut album took the world by storm, as she would deliver big songs like the title track, "Oh", "And I", and of course the Missy assisted "1, 2 Step". Ciara made her mark with the album and has yet to exceed it.

19. The-Dream- Love Hate (2007)

-Although I'm not personally a fan of The Dream, this album was vital to the R&B genre and the late 2000s. With tracks like "Shawty Is Da Shit", "Falsetto", and "I Luv Your Girl", Dream showcased why he was one of the premier artists of the 2nd half of the decade.

18. Anthony Hamilton- Comin' From Where I'm From (2003)

-This is an album that doesn't necessarily get the credit it deserves because Anthony Hamilton is underrated as well. This album is southern fried soul, and with songs like "Charlene", the title track, and one of my favorites, "Since I Seen't You", Anthony delivers one of my personal favorites during the decade.

17. Chris Brown- Chris Brown (2005)

-This is an album that I put here instead of the Trey Songz debut, as I think this album somehow means a bit more to the decade honestly. Chris Brown at the time seemed like a pretty normal young R&B artist and his self titled debut featured hits like "Run It", "Gimme That", "Poppin", and of course the timeless classic "Yo (Excuse Me Miss)", my favorite on the album.

16. Mary J. Blige- The Breakthrough (2005)

-When Mary J. Blige came out with this album, I won't lie, I wasn't as interested in this as her previous albums, but the sales, the impact, and the hits here made this album vital to the genre. With songs like "Enough Cryin", "Take Me As I Am", and of course "Be Without You", Mary delivers on her best album of the decade.

15. Mariah Carey- The Emancipation of Mimi (2005)

-Though this was not an album that I was fond of, there's no denying the impact that the return of Mariah brought with it. She had the benefit of Jermaine Dupri to write and produce for her, and provide her with three massive hits like "We Belong Together", "It's Like That", and "Shake It Off", all written and produced by Dupri. This was an album set up to win, as she worked with The Neptunes, Swizz Beatz, Kanye West, Snoop, and many big names in the game. The album would sell well over 6 million in the US, establish Mariah as a powerhouse yet again.

14. John Legend- Once Again (2006)

-Some might not agree with this, but I dare say that the second album from John Legend is just as good as his debut. This album features some great music, and songs like "Heaven", "Maxine", "Another Again", and "P.D.A.", all solid songs. This album is mostly full of greatness and deserves to be on this list. Period.

13. Aaliyah- Aaliyah (2001)

-The last official Aaliyah album is a must for this list. She was coming into her own and now growing as a woman and artist and this album was the epitome of that growth. With tracks like "We Need A Resolution", "More Than A Woman", and "Rock The Beat", the bittersweet final album from Aaliyah is still a classic and honestly might be her best (or on par with One In A Million at least).

12. R. Kelly- Chocolate Factory (2003)

-When we talk about great albums of the 2000s, of course R. Kelly was a man who would be responsible for two of them. This album is likely his greatest achievement, as it showed him able to withstand a huge scandal and sex tape debacle by responding with great music. With hits like "Ignition" (and the remix) and "Step In The Name of Love" (and the remix), R. Kelly revitalized himself and gifted the listening audience with an amazing album to remind you why he was the R in R&B.

11. Bilal- First Born Second (2001)

-This is more slept on than it should be, but the first Bilal album is a true classic. The production ranges from J. Dilla to Dr. Dre and it doesn't ever disappoint. Tracks like "Sometimes", "Fast Lane", "Soul Sista", and many more help make this album a classic listen and one of the best albums from the decade. It deserves more credit honestly.

10. Jill Scott- Who is Jill Scott? Words And Sounds Vol. 1 (2000)

-The debut of the Neo-Soul queen Jill Scott is still one of the most important albums in the genre period over the last 20 years. With tracks like the jazzy "A Long Walk", the smooth yet interesting "Gettin In The Way", and of course the amazing "The Way", Jill doesn't disappoint one bit on this album. She excels the highest we've seen her here.

9. R. Kelly- TP-2.Com (2000)

-The 2nd album in the 12 Play series is in the running for the greatest R. Kelly album ever. It has amazing songs on it and shows R. Kelly at his best and with songs like "The Greatest Sex", "Like A Real Freak", "I Wish", and the classic "Feelin On Yo Booty", he crafted a top tier album, his best during the decade easily.

8. Alicia Keys- Songs In A Minor (2001)

-When Alicia Keys debuted, she took the world by storm, as the infamous braids, pretty face, piano skills, and rough yet smooth voice instantly drew us in. This is the album that changed the game and woke us up to her talent. With songs like "Fallin", "A Woman's Worth", "Girlfriend", and more, Alicia delivered big time on this classic debut.

7. Usher- 8701 (2001)

-If there was an artist that owned the first part of the decade, it was Usher. He has two if the best albums of the decade and two high selling projects. This one was a really solid album, and could truly be considered a classic. My favorite songs from this album would be the hits "U Remind Me" and "U Don't Have To Call", along with the smooth "Can U Help Me" as well. Overall, this might be the most cohesive effort of Usher's career.

6. John Legend- Get Lifted (2004)

-The debut from John Legend is one of my all time favorite R&B albums and with good reason. A mix of smooth soul and traditional R&B, jazz lounge music, John delivers with the mega hit "Ordinary People", the great "So High", and of course the Kanye assisted "Number One". This album was our introduction to John and it was a classic one at that.

5. Erykah Badu- Mama's Gun (2000)

-The 2nd release from Badu is her best. From overall feel to the production to the songs themselves, Badu gave us a true classic album here. From her big hit "Bag Lady" to the amazing "Didn't Cha Know", Badu could do no wrong on this album.

4. Maxwell- BLACKsummersnight (2009)

-After an 8 year hiatus, we witnessed the return of Maxwell. The first in a three part series, Maxwell returns with an album that's just as flawless of a R&B album as you'd want. From the instant classic "Pretty Wings" to the amazing "Bad Habits", Maxwell really came back with a vengeance.

3. Alicia Keys- The Diary of Alicia Keys (2003)

-If there was an album that truly defined R&B for women in the 2000s, this is the album that most likely motivated many aspiring singers and writers. Alicia delivered an album that features some of her greatest tracks like "You Don't Know My Name", "If I Ain't Got You", the smooth "Karma" (that video is still greatness) and the Tony Toni Tone tribute/featured track "Diary". Overall, Alicia couldn't miss with this album and it's the best female R&B album of the 2000s period.

2. D'Angelo- Voodoo (2000)

-One could argue this is Neo-Soul, but at the core of his music, D'Angelo is 100% the epitome of R&B and this is his greatest album of course. With tracks like "The Root", "Send It On", "The Line", and of course "Untitled (How Does It Feel)", this album is a classic and is the greatest Neo-Soul album ever IMO and easily the 2nd best of the decade in overall impact (and better than no. 1 quality wise).

1. Usher- Confessions (2004)

-Now, let's be honest: it is impossible to put any other album in this no. 1 slot. Point blank period. Usher owned 2004 and he would release his greatest achievement that honestly hasn't been topped in the genre since. With songs like "Caught Up", "Burn", the title track, "Follow Me", "Simple Things", and many more, Usher took control of the genre and did not give it back the entire year of 2004. There is no album that could touch this one on a music level, and certainly not on an impact and sales level (it sold over 10 million copies). This is no. 1 period.



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