20 Classic R&B Albums You Should Own

The word ‘classic’ means something of lasting worth or with a timeless quality.  In the last 20 years, there have been several R&B artists who have created outstanding R&B albums with timeless music. From Donell Jones to Brandy and Mary J. Blige to R.Kelly, these artists have albums that stand in a class of their own and as music lovers, we should have at least one if not all of them in our collection.

Here are 20 R&B albums of the last 20 years music admirers should have near their sound system.

Joe-All-That-I-Am

Joe – “All That I Am” (1997)

While his debut album received a lukewarm response,  Joe’s follow-up album “All That I Am” proved how talented he is as an artist. He took the term “grown folks music” to another level, satisfying the lonely hearts of women with “All The Things (Your Man Won’t Do)” while schooling men on putting aside their bachelor ways on “Don’t Wanna Be A Player.” His storytelling made this album a relationship self-help for making a true love last.

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Antwane Folk is the editorial assistant at RatedRnB.com.

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Mary J. Blige Lands Leading Role in Horror Thriller ‘Body Cam’

Mary J. Blige plans to take Hollywood by storm in a leading role. The R&B legend will star in Body Cam, a horror thriller slated to be issued by Paramount’s Paramount Players division.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the film, which stars Blige as an LAPD police officer, captures several officers being tormented by a malevolent spirit that is connected to the murder of a black youth at the hands of two white cops, all of which are caught on a body cam video that was destroyed in a cover-up. Blige, who is rattled by the nightmares, investigates the cover-up.

Directed by Malik Vitthal and produced by Matt Kaplan, Body Cam is described as a combination of films Get Out and End of Watch. The spec script was written by Richmond Riedel, and rewritten by Nicholas McCarthy and John Ridley.

Aside from preparing for her first major acting part, Blige is filming Netflix’s comic adaptation series The Umbrella Academy.

In March, Blige starred in Sherlock Gnomes as Irene Adler. She received several prestigious accolades and recognition including two Oscar nominations for her role and contribution to Dee Rees’ film adaptation of Mudbound.

Listen to Marsha Ambrosius’ New Ballad ‘Old Times’

After getting adjusted to motherhood, Marsha Ambrosius awakens with a socially-charged ballad titled “Old Times.”

On the DJ Camper-produced track, Ambrosius sings her heart out as she reminsces about the good days with a loved one who lost their life to gun violence.

“Just like old times, just wanna love you right / Love you with all my might, love you for life,” she sings. “Just like old times, just wanna hold you tight / Love you with all might, love you for life.”

Ambrosius also premiered the music video for “Old Times,” enlisting Cricket (Larick Mathews) as director. The stirring video, which stars her daughter Nyla and real-life boyfriend, addresses police shootings of unarmed black men.

“Old Times” is set to appear on her forthcoming album, NYLA, which is named after her daughter. Speaking on the new album, which features production from Focus, Stereotypes, Harmony Samuels, Ambrosius says, “From beginning to end, it’s me letting go of everything I wanted to let go of in my life and experiencing things all over again through Nyla’s eyes. I had a lot of pent up energy, and channeling all of the energy into the music is what helped save my sanity. Poems turned into melodies and then a bunch of songs, which was like my personal therapy in a sense.”

This isn’t the first time Ambrosius has dedicated recordings to her first child. In 2017, she celebrated her the birth of Nyla with two sweet lullabies “Luh Ya,” and “Don’t Wake the Baby.”

NYLA comes nearly four years after her sophomore album, Friends & Lovers.

Maxwell Shares New Song ‘We Never Saw It Coming’

Maxwell has released a brand new song called “We Never Saw It Coming,” the first offering since his 2016 album, ‘blackSUMMERS’night.

Supported by a thrilling production with an underlying piano sound, the soulful crooner is caught off guard by a life-changing event. “No chance to overcome, I feel them walking,” he sings. “I guess my night has come / Is this real?”

Along with “We Never Saw It Coming,” Maxwell also debuted a stirring short film titled The Glass House. The clip captures Maxwell, his pregnant wife (Yomi Abiola) and young child joining hands as they live their last moments on earth together.

“As artists and storytellers, we have a responsibility to raise our voices to alert and activate people out of complacency,” Maxwell says about the film, which he created with Bush+Renz (Gerard Bush and Christopher Renz). “The Glass House serves as a sobering wake-up call that hopefully, we all have the courage and determination to answer, …before it’s too late.”

In August, the R&B veteran will host a “Black Summer Night For Social Justice” concert, which will shed light on a range of local and national civil rights issues. The concert will include performances by Fantasia, DVSN and Jazmine Sullivan.

Listen to “We Never Saw It Coming” below.

Watch The Glass House below.

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