This is my confession: seeking out underrated R&B gems of 2004 felt like running a marathon. That’s because there were loads of incredible hits, but only so many of them could be released as singles from albums. Several artists we still love today first broke out on the scene in 2004. You know, names like Ciara, Mario, Lyfe Jennings, and John Legend. Not too shabby of a list, really.
That year in general stands out as one to never forget in the world of music. A lot went down – Outkast’s “Speakerboxx/The Love Below” album won the Grammy for Album of the Year, a tough feat for rap albums; Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake performed at the Super Bowl ending in the wardrobe malfunction; Jay-Z teamed up with Linkin Park to create “Collision Course,” a number one best selling album; and, Fantasia Barrino won the third season of hit music show “American Idol.”
Confession part II: for several of the albums that dropped in 2004, you could pretty much slap every song from them on this list. With a year full of earth shattering music, however, it was easy for great songs to fall through the cracks.
Here’s an attempt to highlight some of them:
“Be Your Girl” – Teedra Moses
Teedra Moses uses her powerful, silky voice in this song to pen an open letter to the man of her dreams. She recently admitted the track was written about a popular NY rapper who dropped his own album in 2004: Nas. “Be Your Girl” grew in popularity, but never quite reached its potential.
“Should I Go” – Brandy
Brandy, aka “The Vocal Bible,” harmonizes over this beautiful melody sampled from Coldplay’s “Clocks.” She opens up about her thoughts of the music industry, and how much it has changed. She never released the song as a single, but it surely had the potential of a hit.
“Throwback” – Usher feat. Jadakiss
Undoubtedly one of the best R&B albums of all time, “Confessions” can be played from front to back. As the third track on it, “Throwback” has an upbeat, east coast sound with help from Jadakiss. The beat was produced by the super-talented Just Blaze.
“Stick Up Kid” – Lyfe Jennings
Lyfe Jennings hopped on the scene as a gritty, former convict with a story to tell. His odes of street life built a niche uncommon for R&B singers and “Stick Up Kid” is a perfect example of it.
“Stay With You” – John Legend
On this uplifting track from his debut studio album, John Legend sings: “And when the dark clouds arise, I will stay by your side.” He commits to staying in a relationship through the good times, and bad – something that could resonate with anyone who’s ever been in a relationship.
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