DAR Music: The 5 Greatest Years Of 2000's R&B

By @TrueGodImmortal

For the last two weeks, we've looked at the best years in R&B for the 90's and the 80's, and there's only way to finish off that series: talking the 2000's. Now, the 2000's aren't necessarily the greatest decade of music, but there were many quality albums and years, so we wanted to rank the 5 greatest years in R&B for that decade. Let's get into it.

5. 2006
(Beyonce's BDay, Omarion's 21, Justin Timberlake's FutureSexy/LoveSounds, John Legend's Once Again, Ne-Yo's In My Own Words, Robin Thicke's The Evolution Of Robin Thicke, Ciara's The Evolution, Donell Jones' Journey Of A Gemini, Monica's The Makings Of Me)

-The last choice for the list (I made my choices going backwards) was tough. I thought maybe 2002, maybe 2003, maybe even 2008, but couldn't somehow put them over this year. It's honestly a stacked year, but admittedly, there aren't many albums that I personally enjoyed, and I think the quantity of the releases is what garnered this the no. 5 spot. The 2000s were a rough time for R&B after 2006, but 2006 was the last year of mostly greatness. With high selling releases from Beyonce, Justin Timberlake, Ne-Yo, and others, the mainstream side of the genre was taken care of. John Legend released his superb sophomore album, Amy Winehouse released her breakthrough album Back To Black, and we got releases from Donell Jones, Letoya Luckett, Avant, Robin Thicke, Monica, and many more. 2006 wasn't a perfect year, but it was a solid year that just makes the top five and this list.

4. 2001
(Notable Releases: Usher's 8701, Tank's Force Of Nature, Brandy's Full Moon, Alicia Keys' Songs In A Minor, Mary J. Blige's No More Drama, Michael Jackson's Invincible, Aaliyah's Self Titled Album, Destiny's Child's Survivor, Maxwell's Now, Bilal's First Born Second, Jagged Edge's Jagged Little Thrill)

-Another year that had a few questionable releases on top of some classics, 2001 was a very solid year in R&B, but also a somber one. This year marked the year that we lost the beautiful Aaliyah in her fatal plane crash. However, her legacy lived on in the form of her self titled album released this year that spawned some of her biggest hits. In addition to Aaliyah, there were other releases that really made the year special from Michael Jackson and his long awaited Invincible album to Maxwell and his return album Now, all the way to the biggest album for the genre on the year, Usher's 8701. Other releases came from names like Jagged Edge, Mary J. Blige, Destiny's Child, and of course, the infamous debut of Alicia Keys, which is probably the 2nd biggest highlight of this year. 2001 isn't necessarily a classic year overall, but it is a very good year and above the other years that didn't make this list easily.

3. 2005
(Notable Releases: Mariah Carey's The Emancipation Of Mimi, Chris Brown's Self Titled Debut, Trey Songz' I Gotta Make It, Rihanna's Music Of The Sun, Jamie Foxx's Unpredictable, Bobby Valentino's Solo Debut, Omarion's O, Amerie's Touch, Mary J. Blige's The Breakthrough, Pretty Ricky's Bluestars, R. Kelly's TP.3 Reloaded)

-I'll be honest. I didn't think 2005 was this stacked until I went back and did my research on it. There were so many albums on the year that were huge and it baffles me that I was sleep on 2005. The year was so good, I had to put it in my top 3 for this list. There were a number of solid debuts and albums that weren't the greatest overall, but definitely appealed to the audience they were going for. For the genre, three of the biggest names in the following years debuted as Chris Brown, Trey Songz, and T-Pain all released their first projects in 2005. Other releases include the huge selling albums from two of the greatest women to ever sing, Mary J. Blige and Mariah Carey, as well the return of Jamie Foxx to music with his near classic album Unpredictable. R. Kelly would return with another TP edition, and of course Omarion finally decided to go solo. There were so many releases on the year that I might have actually missed a few, but all in all, you get the picture. 2005 is a pivotal and important year for the genre, and quality wise, it was one of the last actual good years.

2. 2004
(Notable Releases: Usher's Confessions, John Legend's Get Lifted, Destiny's Child's Destiny Fulfilled, Janet Jackson's Damita Jo, Anita Baker's My Everything, Ciara's Goodies, Brandy's Afrodisiac, Mario's Turning Point, Angie Stone's Stone Love, Jill Scott's Beautifully Human, Fantasia's Free Yourself)

-I still love the year 2004 for so many reasons as a music fan. A number of albums I enjoyed in other genres came out, but if anything, R&B was really thriving this year. From the arrival of the Princess of Crunk & B, Ciara to the return of one of the greatest to ever do it, Anita Baker, 2004 had something for everyone. My two favorite albums on the year are of course Usher's Confessions and John Legend's classic debut Get Lifted. Brandy would come out with a very solid project, while the maturation of Mario came with his solid 2nd album. Fantasia and Jill Scott held it down for the ladies this year as well, alongside the legendary Janet Jackson and Angie Stone, but the biggest release for women came in the form of the Destiny's Child reunion album Destiny Fulfilled. It was a huge seller and really left a mark on the year. There are so many great releases to speak of from 2004 and that's a big reason why this year ends up in the no. 2 spot. It's well deserved.

1. 2000 
(Notable Releases: D'Angelo's Voodoo, Erykah Badu's Mama's Gun, R. Kelly's TP-2.com, Jill Scott's Who Is Jill Scott: Words And Sounds Vol. 1, Jagged Edge's J.E. Heartbreak, Toni Braxton's The Heat, Joe's My Name Is Joe, Sade's Lovers Rock, Boyz II Men's Nathan Michael Shawn Wanya, Musiq Soulchild's Aijustwanaseing)

-The first year of the decade is the greatest year of the decade, if that makes sense. The quality of releases this year feels like a flow of late 90's releases bleeding over into the next year and somehow 2000 got a bit of that great 90's R&B momentum. There are albums released this year that are out of this world, one of them being the sophomore album from Erykah Badu, the Neo-soul classic Mama's Gun. Another Neo-soul classic released this year was the D'Angelo sophomore release Voodoo, my favorite album of the year. Other pivotal albums include R. Kelly and his classic TP-2.com, the debut of Jill Scott, the return of Boyz II Men, the long awaited return of Sade, a hit Toni Braxton album, the best Jagged Edge album, and so much more. The year 2000 is a truly classic in R&B and is definitely the no. 1 choice of the decade without question.



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