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DAR Music: 8 R&B Albums Released In 2003


By @TrueGodImmortal


2003 seems like yesterday in a way. Back when long T-shirts, extremely baggy jeans, NBA jerseys, throwback jerseys, jersey dresses, and Baby Phat were regular attire for those of us in that generation, R&B was at an interesting period. It wasn't quite as amazing as it had been before, as the 90's set a precedent that not many decades could follow, but the genre still had some solid artists and bodies of work being released. Today, we take a look back at 8 albums that are turning 15 this year or have turned 15 already. Which albums make the list? Read on to find out.

*Beyonce- Dangerously In Love 


-It would only be right to include this album. What probably stands as the most "R&B" album in her catalog, the first solo album from the biggest female star in the game feels so long ago yet so recent in a way. When you look at Beyonce and her run, it doesn't dawn on you that she's been at this position for 15 years now. However, going back to 2003, perhaps you didn't see this coming. Beyonce was the lead singer of the group Destiny's Child, but carrying a solo album? Could she do it? The answer is a resounding yes. Beyonce delivered an album that took over the summer and the charts, racking up 5 million copies sold in the United States, 11 million sold worldwide, and a ton of nominations, not to mention the big songs like "Crazy In Love", the title track, "Naughty Girl", "Baby Boy", "Me, Myself, and I", and my personal favorite "Speechless", which should have had a video. All in all, Beyonce delivers a monster album that I think might still be her greatest work overall. This album turned 15 in June.

*Ashanti- Chapter II


-While many people seem to prefer her first album over this one (and rightfully so), this album was still popular during 2003 and managed to climb the charts and see some success. This would be her last truly successful album in a way, as she would not see the same success on later projects, but she delivers for the most part here. This album was nearly certified double platinum and earned several Grammy nominations, with highlights on the album such as the catchy hit single "Rock With U (Aww Baby)", "Rain On Me", and "Breakup 2 Makeup". Overall, this was a solid album that helped keep Ashanti at the top of the genre as one of the premier women. This album turned 15 on July 1st.

*Alicia Keys- Diary Of Alicia Keys


-Of course, the year 2003 was mostly centered around one woman as it came to a close. Alicia Keys would own the end of the year and much of 2004 by taking her music to the next level on her sophomore album. The production was more crisp this time around and the songs were a perfect blend of catchy and soulful. This album saw Keys expand a little bit, working with producers like Timbaland, Easy Mo Bee, and Kanye West, which helped to cultivate the sound of the album in different ways. This project would be hugely successful, garnering award nominations left and right, along with racking up almost 5 million in sales. The highlights from this album include "Karma", the Kanye produced classic "You Don't Know My Name", "If I Ain't Got You", "Heartburn", and of course "Diary". This album turns 15 in December.

*Anthony Hamilton- Comin' From Where I From


-For all of the southern fried goodness in his music, at his core as an artist, Anthony Hamilton is your typical soul singer telling his own story with a twang to it. This album was not his debut, but rather his breakthrough project. It was his most successful release, moving over a million copies and spawning multiple hits, like the title track and of course, the classic "Charlene" with other album tracks such as "Cornbread, Catfish, and Collard Greens" and "Since I Seen't You" being highlights. This album turns 15 on July 15th.

*Erykah Badu- Worldwide Underground 


-So Badu in her prime was something special, but after her first two classic albums, one could argue she took a small step down with her official third project. After a bout of writer's block and a tour that seemed to jumpstart her creativity again, Badu returned with a production group named Freakquency that featured Rashad Smith, James Poyser and herself, bringing in hip hop and funk elements to go along with her normal Neo-Soul style. While the album was met with mixed reviews, it was actually a solid and short release that spawned tracks like "Back In The Day (Puff)", "I Want You", "The Grind", "Danger", and more, most of which were highlights on this album by far. Badu didn't craft a classic, but she followed the path of less is more and in my opinion, she delivered a very solid project. This album turns 15 in September.

*Musiq Soulchild- Soulstar 


-An overlooked album on the year and in his own catalog, Musiq took a slightly different approach with this project, his third release, and while it paid off musically, it was met with some resistance by the fans initially. In retrospect, this album was exactly the change of pace he needed in his career. With a varying sound in production, as well as some pivotal features from artists like Bilal, Cee-Lo, and Kindred The Family Soul, Musiq manages to craft an album that is rich in sound and harmony. The highlights here include "Who Knows", "Don't Stop", and my personal favorite "Moment In Life". All in all, Soulstar was a solid release and one that should be remembered fondly 15 years later. This album turns 15 officially in December.

*R. Kelly- Chocolate Factory


-I will say one thing about R. Kelly. As much as most of us despise his personal choices and who he is as a person to an extent, his music is always top notch and takes over the charts when it drops. There could be no better example of that than Chocolate Factory. With the controversy surrounding him still fresh and far from dying down, R. Kelly spits in the face of the nonsense and gives you what you wanted from him: good music. With hits like the classics "Ignition" and "Step In The Name Of Love", as well as other solid tracks such as "Snake", "Heart Of A Woman", "Imagine That", and more. When faced with a scandal, R. Kelly responded with music and goes triple platinum. Love him or hate him, he contributed to the year 2003 in a major way. Chocolate Factory turned 15 in February.

*Ginuwine- The Senior


-The most underrated album in the career of Ginuwine deserves to be mentioned over a few other projects, mostly due to the fact that he crafted one of the best singles in his career with "In Those Jeans", but also delivered with a solid well rounded album that covered all spectrums in the genre from ballads to upbeat tracks to party songs as well. Other highlights on the album include "Stingy", "Hell Yeah", "Love You More", and "On My Way", among others. Overall, Ginuwine delivers a solid album that should be mentioned among the top releases of the year. The Senior turned 15 in April.

-True

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