The Underrated: R&B Singers of the 2000s

By @TrueGodImmortal

The 2000s were a very interesting time. Denim jackets, leather suits, cornrows, R&B singers with thug sensibility and party anthems. In the midst of your Usher, Alicia Keys, Beyonce, and John Legend frenzy, we saw a lot of great artists release music in the 2000s for R&B. Today, we go over a list of some of the most underrated R&B singers of the 2000s.


-Now, Joe came into the R&B scene as the 90's were coming to a close. I'm sure we'll hear more about him on the site in coming weeks, but I'll just say with a group of hits throughout the decade, and a smooth voice that talks directly to the ladies, Joe was one of the premier yet underrated artists in R&B during the 2000s. He kept his name floating through the mainstream with his bedroom anthems and even managed to become a regular collaborator with G-Unit during their highest period. Make no mistake, he's a legendary name in the genre.

*Musiq Soulchild

-A personal favorite musically, Musiq became someone who was known for his consistency, his keen knack for melody, and for his simple yet effective voice. From songs like "Halfcrazy", "Teachme", "Love", and a plethora of hit songs and amazing albums, Musiq became known as one of the best R&B singers for the time during the 2000s. He never once showed signs of falling off or slowing up with his music and his albums seemed to get better with every release. If only he was as universally loved as he should be by fans of the genre. Regardless, Musiq is one of the best singers from the decade. Hands down.


-A fellow Baltimore native, this younger singer came onto the scene and captivated the world with his version of the Biz Markie classic "Just A Friend", before getting a down home hit in the smooth "Braid My Hair". He would continue his run with hits as he hit big with his album in 2004/2005 "Turning Point", spawning what had to be his biggest hit "Let Me Love You", and from there, he was always good for a hit or two. Mario might be the most underrated singer of this particular era anyways, and when you revisit his work, you'll wonder why he couldn't get more album sales or just more attention. His music was always viable and dope in the genre.


-Now, of course, 1996 and 1999 were huge years for Ginuwine, as two of his most famous albums were released, but he maintained his level of greatness in the 2000s with classic tracks like "Differences", "Stingy" and a very solid album in 2003 with "The Senior", which spawned the mega hit "In Those Jeans". Even after that, Ginuwine would continue to release more dope music until the decade ended.


-One of the sexiest women of this decade and a true goddess, Amerie arrived on the scene in 2002, and her classic hit "Why Don't We Fall in Love" immediately put the gorgeous Blasian in the driver's seat. She was never a huge star, but managed to score big with her amazing single "1 Thing", which still gets some play in bars and clubs depending on the night. Amerie definitely had something special about her and it's a shock that she didn't go much higher than she did.

*Bobby Valentino 

-Essentially one of the most interesting success stories in R&B of the 2000s, the former singer of Mista struck gold with DTP and ended up hitting big with his self titled album in 2005 which garnered two big hits in "Slow Down" and "Tell Me". His highest feat to me was the Timbaland produced and featured track "Anonymous", which is my favorite song from him. Bobby wasn't the best singer, but he could make hits and solid albums.

*Vivian Green 

-Though not as noteworthy as many of the others, this lovely songbird would rise to some prominence via her biggest hit "Emotional Rollercoaster". Though this song wasn't her only success in the decade, it was impossible to surpass. Vivian had a great voice, a rawness about her, and really powerful vocals. She was truly underrated without a doubt.

*India Arie

-Armed with a neo soul style and a more natural feel in her music and appeal, India would release a string of hits with songs like "Video", "Brown Skin", and one of her most raw and real songs ever, "The Truth". She sometimes got a bit preachy in her messages, but her music was definitely viable and deserving of the acclaim it got.

*Anthony Hamilton 

-I was a huge fan of his music as the decade rolled on, and after the heartwrenching song that was "Charlene" hit me, there was truly no turning back. He would end up releasing quite a few albums over the decade and stake his claim as one of the strongest singers with a down home southern style and voice that could touch the soul and the mind. Rugged and honest, with the reality that some of us try to escape, Anthony Hamilton is one of the best artists in the R&B genre for the 2000s decade.


-The former American Idol winner would end up having a viable career in the later part of the decade, but honestly nothing that she has done could measure to her two rawest songs in the breakup anthem "Free Yourself" and a song that could be seen as the anthem for after that in "Bittersweet". Fantasia has an amazing sound and voice and she truly is one of the best of this decade, and the only American Idol winner on this list.

*Kindred and The Family Soul 

-Though not really talked about, this group was truly a pleasure to listen and observe over the decade, with their biggest hit being the relaxation and let's take a ride anthem in "Far Away". There was an aura of positivity in their music and they would display that as much as they could, further aiding their success.

*Raheem Devaughn

-The DC Native came on the scene with his smooth "Guess Who Loves You More", and really never looked back essentially. He's got a solid catalog all around, but if you want to hear a true reason to listen to Raheem,  start with what I consider to be his best song in the seductive yet honest "You". The song is an example of why Raheem is on this list. Period.


-Another 90's guy who went to have basically even more success in the 2000s. Tyrese had a great run, especially with his classics "How You Gonna Act Like That" and "Signs of Love Making", which kept him afloat on the charts during this decade. Tyrese was still a force to be reckoned with.


-Bee talked about him already, but man how could we forget the man who made "Separated", "Makin Good Love", the epic "Read Your Mind", and so many other classics during this decade. Regardless, he is one of the best artists of the 2000s and definitely one of the most consistent.


-Speed talked about him already as well, but regardless, he was a great R&B star with the classics "Just In Case" and of course his anthem for the ladies "Put That Woman First", which truly changed his stature in the game. He was definitely one of the most underrated.


-When he arrived on the scene with his solid and honest single "Maybe I Deserve", I don't think many of us knew the genius or the greatness with Tank. At this point now, his greatness is known and he's still working and writing for many other popular artists.


-It is rare that Murder Inc spawned a great artist, a R&B one at that. Lloyd was that one. With his great voice, infectious lyrics and hooks, and just an all around great singer, Lloyd would have a few big hits this decade, none bigger than his classic "You". That song inspired a lot over the years, I'm sure.

*Ruff Endz

-The wave cap R&B with the suit on. That was Ruff Endz. Baltimore representatives who wanted to make good music and these guys are over here making exactly what they want. "Someone To Love You", and the first track "No More" gave them a pretty decent run.

*Carl Thomas

-Bad Boy needed a big hit. They were in the midst of a resurgence and in some ways, Carl Thomas was the one to bring it for them. He had a bunch of hit singles on his "Emotional" album, including the title track, "I Wish", and the all time classic "Summer Rain". His debut album is a true R&B classic. Carl definitely is one of the all time underrated R&B singers period, so he's definitely one of the most underrated of that decade.

*Glenn Lewis

-Some would say he's insignificant, and while he didn't have big success like some of the others listed, Glenn makes this list for the success and amazing artistry involved in the making of "Don't You Forget It", which is his most famous track.


-This Philly Native is truthfully my 1st and 2nd favorite singer on this list. The vocals, the lyrics, the style, it's just about everything. Bilal can do no wrong, as he kills hooks with no problem, make solid albums and solidify his legacy all within the same process truthfully. From his debut First Born Second to the never officially released Love For Sale, Bilal has countless great songs during this decade that it begins to get exhausting listing his music during the 2000s. Check his classics like "Lord Don't Let It", "White Turns to Grey", and of course my favorite song of his "Sometimes". Bilal is always on his A game.


-First I had grown to appreciate Dwele as a guest star on songs, but over a group of albums and so many solid hooks and such over the years, Dwele has proven he's a giant in this game. He's a force to be reckoned with in music and R&B was always his lane to truly shine.


-Armed with raunchy and sexy lyrics combined with a smooth mocha skin colored and body to match, Tweet became popular with her "Oops (Oh My)" track and its interesting content, while her follow up "Call Me" also did well. Definitely slept on for her music.

*Eric Benet

-This guy is at the top of this list. He's one of my all time favorite R&B singers to this day and he's definitely one of the most underrated of the 2000s without a doubt. From the bouncy flow of the realistic and slightly saddening "Love Don't Love Me", to the amazing "I Wanna Be Loved", "Hurricane", and of course the seductive "Chocolate Legs", Benet has always found himself surrounded by great artists and music. When speaking the underrated and this decade, hands down, it must be Benet. Period.

What about your underrated R&B singers? Who you got on the list? Post the comments below in the section.



  1. I was looking for information on Dwele's first album and came across this article!!! So this is everything! I identify with each and every person on this list! They are soooo underrated!Love it! Good job True!

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