Timeless Love

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11 R&B Classic Albums That Can Exist In Any Generation

Love and music are timeless, so, naturally, the songs representing their union can also be. Below are 11 shea butter musical masterpieces (in no particular order) that have eternal life in our ears, hearts, and souls.

  1. Aaliyah – One in A Million – 1996

The birth of street but sweet music tunes, One in A Million does not get the respect it truly deserves. The album plays like a block party with records for dancing, laughter, and last-minute slow dance. Aaliyah’s sophomore work not only exceeds her first but also creates a blueprint for today’s vibe singers.

Go to songs:

-Four Page Letter

-Hot Like Fire

-One In a Million

2. Jodeci – Diary of a Mad Band – 1993

The Bad Boys of R&B showcase their malt-liquor love with every ugly-face high note. Jodeci embellishes vocally in the rough side of love that does not exist in a Karen’s romance novel, but thrives at a local hood park.

Go to songs:

-My Heart Belongs to You

-Feenin

-Cry For You

3. Usher – Confessions -2004

Not sure if this album is based on a true story, but Usher made us believe it was and that’s all that matters. The theme was relatable, scary, and yet undeniable to the guilty pleasure soul.

Go to songs:

-Yeah

-Confessions

-Burn

4.  Mary J. Blige – My Life – 1994

Mary J. Blige’s first album, What’s The 411, presented her crown, but My Life waswhen she became Queen. The combination of heartache and joy expressed from Queen Mary’s personal experiences, selfishly had us loyalists wanting her to remain in a place she struggled so hard to get out of for our enjoyment.

Go to songs:

-You Bring Me Joy

-Be With You

5. Erykah Badu – Baduizm – 1997

Erykah’s premiere captivated our souls but scrambled our minds as we begged for more. She painted an alternative picture that disconnects from the stereotypical I-Love-You relationship songs and tapped into an emotion of Black expression. 

Go to songs:

-On & On

-Next Lifetime

Other Side of the Game

6. Alicia Keys – The Diary of Alicia Keys -2003

Alicia Keys and her piano testimony were at their best as she displayed a different type of vulnerability by putting herself as the comforter and pursuer in song.

Go to songs:

-You Don’t Know My Name

-Diary

-If I Ain’t Got You

7. Beyonce – Dangerously in Love – 2003

The Writing was on the Wall early in her Destiny’s Child days that Beyonce would go solo, but only a few could expect how heavy the impact. Dangerously In Love challenges R&B standards with Beyonce singing vocally like a rock star, but passionately like a blues church singer.

Go to songs:

-Crazy in Love

-Me, Myself, and I

-Baby Boy

8. Jill Scott – Who Is Jill Scott? Words and Sounds, Vol. 1 – 2000

Love Jones coffee shop music that represented the conscious (before woke) movement. Jilly from Philly sang with a classically trained voice performed in spoken-word style that would have one crushin on the city bus driver.

Go to songs:

-Gettin’ in the Way

The Way

-He Loves Me

9. Janet Jackson – Janet – 1993

This album was when Ms. Jackson stopped Waiting a While and became a super-grown woman. The Janet album, whenever it plays, sounds like a July summer, even in the winter.

Go to songs:

-That’s the Way Love Goes

-Any Time, Any Place

-If

10. Mariah Carey – The Emancipation of Mimi – 2005

Mariah’s high-pitched glass break vocals reign supreme through each track that delivered a soulful edge that she usually only did for remixes in the past. The Emancipation of Mimi produced a combination of high temple Hip Hop-influenced tracks and modern-day wedding songs.

Go to songs:

-We Belong Together

      -Say Somethin’

      -Shake It Off

11. D’Angelo – Brown Sugar – 1995

Never before nor after has there been an album that delivered cool metaphors like the title track with double entendre phrases that created enlightenment instead of confusion. Brown Sugar stands within its own time zone where the dress code sign reads: Come cool, come Black.

Go to songs:

-When We Get By

      -Lady

      -Brown Sugar

These albums are time capsules, so feel free to pass them on with a warning that they are not just good music; they’re lifetime experiences.

J Hall is a Detroit-bred Howard Bison multimedia culture critic. An abstract thinker who believes “You ain’t wrong when you’re right” and that his mother’s cupcakes are legendary. Check out his slight worldwide view here: https://linktr.ee/jhall

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