10. Anderson Paak Malibu (Released: January 15, 2016)
The West Coast-based rapper and singer/songwriter Anderson .Paak showed up frequently on Dr. Dre’s Compton. His third album, his most assured and most personal project yet, is informed by voices from the past and full of guests (the Game, ScHoolboy Q, Talib Kweli) who are given ample space to do their best work. Malibu is an expansive opus that flows in multiple directions like a classic '70s double album.
9. Beyonce-Beyonce (Released: December 13, 2013)
Can you name the place your were when Beyonce dropped self titled . No other surprise album has made such an impact since . With help from heavy hitters like The Dream, Pharrell, Timberland just to name a few . She created a visual and audio master piece that set the stage for where her career was about to go. ”Drunk in Love”, was a stand out track as her and her husband traded verses about their night of passion . We had never heard this side of her in the literal sense and
“Partition” visual continued the visual of what a night with Jay and Bey is like. After this album , her songs became more personal and we were all there to witness ..
8. Jazmine Sullivan-Reality Show (Released: January 13, 2015)
After a lengthy departure from the music industry for 5 years to focus on her own personal life . She returned with Reality Show , affectionately named after her love for the TV drama . The Grammy nominated album explored relationships in different stages , from self worth to the after stages . My personal favorite , “Veins” talks about how the love was so addictive . With a quote from Billie Holiday , it compares the feeling to a Heroin addiction . This album was definitely a breath of fresh air and honesty the R&B industry was missing.
7. Miguel-Kaleidoscope Dream (Released: September 25, 2012)
If the Prince comparisons weren’t enough , the album was very Prince Esk. With the beat choices and it bought an alternative R&B feel. It combined funk, soul, rock and R&B , the instrument selections brings the sexy songs alive . Even the playful “Pussy Is Mine” , shows the sense of humor of Miguel but gives vocal range by far . “Adorn” has been even name one of the best R&B songs . However , this album set the stage and tried to put Miguel in a box that sometimes he seems to chase..
6. D'Angelo- D'Angelo and The VanGuard Black Messiah (Released: December 15, 2014)
D’Angelo’s 14-year vanishing act ended decisively on midnight as Monday began when he released “Black Messiah,” his first new album since 2000. “Black Messiah” is a knotty, inward-looking, musicianly album made to reveal itself slowly. It doesn’t leap out of speakers; it oozes and bubbles, waiting for a listener to be drawn in. As it does, the pleasures and rewards keep growing. Black Messiah quickly earned two Grammy Awards – best R&B album and best R&B song for “Really Love.” The song was also nominated for record of the year, which it should have won in my opinion. He literally floats over the song..
5. Frank Ocean-Channel Orange (Released: July 5, 2012)
Coming off of the cult classic,“nostalgia, ultra”,Frank kept up the momentum with this album . He experimented with different sounds and metaphors . After the performance of “Thinkin About You”, him changing the pronoun from girl to boy. He later wrote an open letter discussing his sexuality with the world on his favorite app Tumblr. “Forrest Gump” ,also explored his love for a man he was in love with . Even if people feel like his follow ups weren’t as good,we’ll always this album ..
4. Solange Knowles-A Seat At The Table (Released:September 30, 2016)
Coming off the aggression and anger of the world after the protests of the police killing unarmed black men and women . Solange channels her feeling into this masterpiece . A little different from her other projects , she wrote an album for her people. Letting the world know that we were and still are MAD! Favorites like “Cranes In The Sky” , “FUBU”, “Don’t Touch My Hair”, expresses the frustration we were experiencing . With interludes from Master P, her mother and her father dropping jewels of being black and understanding your worth . Album is a gem.
3. SZA-Ctrl (Released: June 9, 2017)
After years of being signed , SZA gave us a great body of work exploring relationships as she saw them. From being the side chick to learning to love yourself . Her stories came from such a personal place that we felt like we were there . Expressing she isn’t perfect and has insecurities , as any woman in her 20’s that is figuring out her life . She gave us a voice to let us know we were alone in our feelings. From her interviews , she has a deeper perspective on life than we could even fathom ..We are still waiting for her follow up though .
2. Beyonce-Lemonade (Released: April 23, 2016)
What we thought was just an HBO special , turned into a full length project . She explores a side of herself that we had never seen before. At that point we finally saw her as human , before we may had seen her as a mythical being . She expresses her husband cheating on her and the stages she went through to actually heal. With her visuals she also shows what it takes to be a woman and having to deal with . The first single “Formation”, written by Swae Lee , is an anthem for women to be proud of being black and added an air of cockiness. Later she was criticized for her Super Bowl performance , as her and her dancers wore outfits that were similar to the attire worn by the Black Panther. My favorites are “Love Drought” and ”All Night”. She def tried different instruments and sounds and it was a great album and visual. I don’t know if the Beyhive forgave Hov yet..
1. Rihanna-ANTI (January 28,2016)
Snubbed by almost every award show because of the release of the number 2. This album seemed to show a vocal growth in Rihanna that we had never really seen. Starting with the first song on the album “Consideration”, she gets writing and vocal help from SZA. The song sets the tone for the album and she has a different mood on each song . From the ballad “Love on The Brain” where she expresses her deep love for her man and how no matter what they’ve been through she’s still in love. To “Higher”, where she expresses how her drink has her feeling like she needs to apologize . Her vocal range on the song is one of drunk woman . She gets assistance from Tame Impala on “Same Ol Mistakes” cover , where she talks about the criticism from the public and how she has beat herself up. But she found so much in her own mistakes. The album is a complete masterpiece and though some areas poppy, Rihanna’s first real R&B project to me.
-"No Show Shaina"
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