DAR Music: 8 R&B Albums Released In 2011

By @TrueGodImmortal

2011 was an interesting year in music. While things felt as if they were down all across the board, there were a few bright spots and some artists who did their thing to make sure the quality didn't completely dissipate. Today, we look at some of those artists and the projects they released in 2011. Which albums make the list? As always, read on and find out. Let's get into it.

*Beyonce- 4

-So, if I had to make a choice, I would say this is probably one of, if not the best Beyonce albums. So, to put it simply, I was not the biggest fan of Beyonce and her music and never will be. However, I was forced to listen and hear this music from time to time, and realized that some of it was actually pretty good. This album has some songs I don't care for of course, but there are some higlights here like "Best Thing I Never Had", "I Care", "I Miss You", "Countdown", "Love On Top", and the Andre 3000 featured "Party". Beyonce walks the line of R&B, but her album was actually one of the bigger highlights for 2011 in the genre by far.

*Frank Ocean- Nostalgia, Ultra

-The debut project from Frank Ocean, a mixtape that could pass for an album now honestly is one of the better releases from 2011 and a great introduction to who he was as a solo artist. The tape is solid and while it does have a few moments that don't hit the mark, Frank does manage to make some good music, from the popular single "Novacane" to the interesting "Songs 4 Women", as well as "Swim Good", "American Wedding", and "There Will Be Tears". I've never been a big fan of Frank's music, but I always thought this was a solid release and a highlight for the year that it dropped.

*Chris Brown- F.A.M.E.

-So, it is pretty clear that despite his troubles, Chris Brown and will always be one of the most popular singers in the game period. He has so many great moments as a featured artist that sometimes it does feel like his own albums don't have that same feel to it, but with his fourth album, he attempts to find the right balance. He experiments with some more pop sounding music on the odd "Yeah 3X", made a solid dizzying hit on "Look At Me Now", gave the world a nice slow jam in "She Ain't You", as well as a bedroom anthem featuring Ludacris on "Wet The Bed", and of course, the well known "Deuces", which spawned a huge remix. All in all, this was a big album for Chris and another platinum plaque under his belt.

*Raphael Saadiq- Stone Rollin

-So, Raphael returned after his classic 2008 project with another album that pushes the sound of the genre in present day. He succeeds at a high level on this album, as expected, by bringing the older sound of the 50s and 60s and giving it that modern spin. This is where it seems Raphael found his niche that works well for him, and he gives us quality music here on tracks like "Good Man", "Over You", "Day Dreams", and "Movin' Down The Line". All in all, Raphael amazes his listeners once again, which should be no surprise.

*Mary J. Blige- My Life II: The Journey Continues (Act 1)

-So, there is really no way to make an album that is a sequel and have it be better than the original. It just doesn't happen. For Mary, she needed something to give her the extra pop again. Her music was still decent, but her albums felt mostly lifeless and a bit of the same thing every go round and as an artist with 20 years in the game, fighting complacency can be tough. On this album, Mary does well enough, bringing tracks like "Feel Inside" featuring Nas, "Next Level", "25/8", "Mr. Wrong", and "No Condition", all of which are highlights on this album. This album is in no way better than the first My Life, but it is a solid listen.

*Jill Scott- The Light Of The Sun

-So, it is pretty much known that Jill has taken a bit of a fall musically over the years since her debut. She still has something special, but the debut was a classic and nothing has been able to touch that. Regardless, Jill still has a solid catalog, with many great songs to speak of, and on this album, she not only provides a great cover (she looks good), she brings some great music like the Anthony Hamilton featured "So In Love", the Paul Wall featured "So Gone", "Missing You", "Making You Wait", and "Hear My Call". Jill has one of the better albums for female artists this year, and it deserves a mention on this list.

*Anthony Hamilton- Back To Love

-So, all jokes aside, Anthony Hamilton is one of the best voices in music in terms of the raw sound and the pain you can hear behind some of his music. His southern style does invite some jokes here and there, but for the most part, he is easily one of the most enjoyable artists in the genre of the last 15 years. His fifth album wasn't his most popular, but it was a solid release and featured some good music. The highlights here include "Woo", the title track, "Pray For Me", and "Never Let Go". One interesting note about this album is that Anthony works with Babyface, which definitely helps with the sound some. All in all, this is a good listen.

*The Weeknd- House of Balloons

-I struggle to consider The Weeknd someone in the genre, because his style is not at all traditional R&B, but his music during his arrival was interesting enough to earn his way onto this list. 2011 was his best and biggest year, as he released several projects, but House Of Balloons is probably the most notable one. He shines on this dark album, which features one of his most famous songs "Wicked Games", and other tracks like "High For This", "Twenty Eight", "Coming Down", and more. While I personally don't listen to his music much, The Weeknd found a lane (especially amongst people who do cocaine as a recreational drug), and he managed to work that lane to perfection. 2011 was his year to shine and he stepped up to the challenge by far.



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