DAR Music: 8 Underrated R&B Albums Of The 2000s
We recently discussed the best debut albums of the 2000s in the R&B genre, listing the best of the best on that article. Today, I wanted to go through a list of albums that were great but didn't get the credit and success they really deserved. As usual, with underrated albums, these selections may have went gold or platinum, but when the decade in music is discussed, they rarely come up, which is unfortunate. Today, I want to recognize 8 of the most slept on and underrated R&B albums of the 2000s. Let's take a look.
*Lucy Pearl- Lucy Pearl (2000)
-Little known fact: The group Lucy Pearl was originally intended to be a project for Raphael Saadiq, Ali Shaheed Muhammad, and D'Angelo. However, once D'Angelo backed out, Saadiq came with the idea to add Dawn Robinson from En Vogue. It was an interesting dynamic: vital members of A Tribe Called Quest, Tony! Toni! Tone!, and En Vogue combined to make a group, and their one and only album arrived in May 2000. The album is a mix of funk, soul, and Neo-Soul, with features coming from Snoop Dogg And Q-Tip on the project. The album would end up being one of the best albums of the year IMO, but never got much credit aside from the first hit single "Dance Tonight". Other tracks like "Hollywood", "Without You", "Good Love", and "Everyday" help to round a very solid album that deserves a bit more credit. It's a shame we only got one project from the trio.
*Ruff Endz- Love Crimes (2000)
-This Baltimore duo had a few moderate hits, but they never quite reached the level that I thought they could. Their brand of R&B was more straightforward and aggressive. With that, their debut album featured sounds of the time, and the result was a solid piece of music. Lyrically, the group plays it safe, but they managed to create hits and some good ballads on this album. Whether it was the first hit single "No More", "Missing You", the title track, or "Where Does Love Go From Here", Ruff Endz delivered an enjoyable debut that should definitely get mentioned more.
*Jaheim- Ghetto Love (2001)
-Aside from the hilarious cover (not sure why he's standing that way with a ripped shirt for the album cover), this album is very very underrated. Jaheim invoked comparisons to Luther with his voice and his image gave off a more hood vibe, which was done on purpose clearly. The image worked, as Jaheim ended up gaining fans from all over and this album is his best. It's a bit surprising it doesn't get brought up more when talking this decade of music, but the album had hits on it and some interesting tracks. Singles like "Could It Be" and the huge "Just In Case" were all over radio, but my favorite track had to be the Next featured "Anything". The funniest tracks here are "Lil Nigga Ain't Mine" and the Lil Mo assisted "Finders Keepers", which have what I believe is an unintentional comedic effect, but are still enjoyable listens. Overall, this album is really solid and with Jaheim becoming more popular because of it, it's a surprise it's a bit slept on.
*Jill Scott- Beautifully Human: Words And Sounds Vol. 2 (2004)
-Jill from Philly has a very solid discography. She is one of the more accomplished singers of the decade and in the genre, but one of her most underrated projects is one of her most successful. Her official sophomore album was a success, garnering sales and acclaim, but doesn't get mentioned in the same way that her landmark debut album does. This album isn't as amazing as her debut, but it isn't too far behind. The breezy vibes of "Whatever", the smooth flow of "Golden", and the electric vibe of "Cross My Mind" are just a taste of the greatness that rounds out a very complete and enjoyable album. This project deserves a bit more credit than it gets and that's why it makes this list.
*Donell Jones- Journey Of A Gemini (2006)
-So, Donell Jones hasn't been at the same level of stardom since his breakthrough album Where I Wanna Be in 1999, but his music hasn't taken a hit in quality. At all. What is known about this album is that it was pushed back numerous times, which might have affected the sales and attention given to it, but quality wise, it doesn't disappoint. With production from Tim & Bob, Ryan Leslie, Tank, and The Underdogs, alongside features from The Clipse, Bun B, and Jermaine Dupri, Donell delivers his best work since Where I Wanna Be. Tracks like "I'm Gonna Be", "Special Girl", "Lust Or Love", and more helped to round out a complete effort that deserved much more attention when it dropped.
*Musiq Soulchild- Luvanmusiq (2007)
-My favorite Musiq Soulchild album doesn't seem to get the credit it deserves. His first two were great and his third was solid, but after a four year hiatus and a new label, Musiq came with his most cohesive and concise project. The album features a lot of smooth and well put together production, and Musiq utilized the production for the highest results, including the singles "Teachme" and "B.U.D.D.Y.", which are both very good songs. My favorites on the album however, are "Lullaby" and "Greatestlove", which are two of the best ballads in Musiq's catalog. All in all, this album signaled the return of Musiq and his greatest work.
*Lloyd- Street Love (2007)
-This album was popular during the year 2007, mostly due to two huge singles, but it still feels as if it doesn't get its just due. Lloyd had experienced some success on his debut album, but things took a turn for the better with his sophomore project. Backed by the commercial success of his Lil Wayne featured classic "You", and the remix which featured both Andre 3000 and Nas, Lloyd seemed poised to make a big impact with the album. My favorite single from the album was actually the upbeat and smooth "Get It Shawty", but there were other songs such as "Valentine", "Hazel", "Player's Prayer", and more that helped to round out a very concise and solid project. Lloyd is underrated himself in general, but this album is definitely one that was slept on without question.
*Al Green- Lay It Down (2008)
-I have spoken about this album once before on the site and I think it's the most underrated album from a legend in the later years of their career. There was a bit of disbelief on my part when I heard Al Green would go in to create an album with Questlove and James Poyser, but I felt it was a great idea. It's an idea I would love other legends like Stevie and even Gladys Knight to do because it bridges the gap. The smooth vocals of Al Green are still in tact here, and he matches up very well with Anthony Hamilton and Corinne Bailey Rae on features. The best song on the entire album won a Grammy, as the flawless collaboration between Al and John Legend, "Stay With Me (By The Sea)" is the true apex of the album. The song is honestly one of my personal favorites ever, as I can run the song back 20 times in a row and not get tired of it, and that's essentially how I feel about the entire album. Not many legends could craft a classic on their 29th project, but Al Green pulled it off, and this album deserves much more credit, just like the others on the list.