Rankings: Best R&B Albums of 2014

Teyana Taylor, VII © G.O.O.D. Ranking things is hard – understatement. So look, there were many sound R&B albums in 2014 – don’t let the abysmal sales dissuade you. That said, there were only a couple of truly great ones – led by one unopposed homerun – that sit atop the standings. Here are the 25 26 Best R&B albums of 2014…maybe.

1) D’Angelo and the Vanguard, Black Messiah 

D'Angelo and the Vanguard, Black Messiah © RCA

There was no better R&B album in 2014. It’s not even that close as D’Angelo came back in a huge way. R&B hasn’t sounded like this since…you get the idea.

Two Favorites: “1000 Deaths” & “Sugah Daddy”

2) Sam Smith, In The Lonely Hour

Sam Smith, In the Lonely Hour © Capitol

If you consider Smith’s album to be an R&B album, well, it definitely sits atop the list.

Two Favorites: “Stay With Me” & “I’m Not The Only One”


3) Mary J. Blige, The London Sessions

Mary J. Blige, The London Sessions © Capitol

London definitely gave Mary a lift. Too bad the sales didn’t give her one as well – no “Therapy” for that, unfortunately!

Two Favorites: “Therapy” & “Whole Damn Year”


4) Pharrell Williams, G I R L

Pharrell Williams, G I R L © Columbia

We “came and got it” Skateboard P, and it was G-O-O-D.

Two Favorites: “Happy” & “Gust of Wind”


5) Prince, Art Official Age

Prince, ART OFFICIAL AGE © Warner Bros Eccentricity is always a win in my book – let’s “Funknroll!”

Two Favorites: “Breakdown” & “Funknroll”

6) K. Michelle, Anybody Wanna Buy A Heart?

K. Michelle, Anybody Wanna Buy a Heart? © Atlantic

Can’t knock K. Michelle for her exceptional pipes or even her honesty here. She just wants the perfect man, and she knows “Drake Would Love” her!

Two Favorites: “Love ‘Em All” and “Maybe I Should Call”


7) Jennifer Hudson, JHUD

Jennifer Hudson, JHUD © RCA

I can’t dance, but the grooves on JHUD certainly made me want to.

Two Favorites: “It’s Your World” and “I Can’t Describe (The Way I Feel)”


8) Trey Songz, Trigga

Trey Songz, Trigga © Atlantic

I am a firm believer that Trey Songz really did invent sex. He loves to sing about it too much.

Two Favorites: “Cake” and “SmartPhones”


9) August Alsina, Benediction

August Alsina, Testimony © Def Jam

Since it’s the Benediction, let the church say, amen!

Two Favorites: “Make It Home” (featuring Jeezy) & “Benediction” (featuring Rick Ross)

10) Mali Music, Mali Is…

Mali Music, Mali Is © RCA

Underrated, I definitely “Believe” in Mali Is… There’s plenty of “Heavy Love” to be found here.

Two Favorites: “Heavy Love” & “Believe”

11) Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings, Give The People What They Want

Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings, Give The People What They Want © Daptone

Give The People What They Want is just another sound traditional R&B album by Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings – no “Retreat” necessary here!

Two Favorites: “Retreat!” & “People Get What They Deserve”


12) Kelis, Food

Kelis, Food © Ninja Tune

A yummy, yet underrated album – love those “Jerk Ribs” especially!

Two Favorites: “Jerk Ribs” & “Floyd”

13) Ariana Grande, My Everything

Ariana Grande, My Everything © Republic

Is she purely pop or is she R&B enough to hang? My Everything is a solid album, and the urban influence is strong, so, we’ll put the “Problem” child in the middle.

Two Favorites: “Problem” and “Bang Bang” (Jessie J featuring Ariana Grande & Nicki Minaj)

14) Chris Brown, X

Chris Brown, X © RCA

He definitely deserves some credit for making a respectable album following that mess named Fortune.

Two Favorites: “Add Me In” and “New Flame”

15) Marsha Ambrosius, Friends & Lovers

Marsha Ambrosius, Friends & Lovers

Friends & Lovers ranks among the most sensual albums to grace this list. Not everyday there’s a song named “69” – just saying!

Two Favorites: “69” & “Stronger”


16) Luke James, Luke James

Luke James © Island

Another quietly issued album, Luke James has been building buzz for years since “I Want You” was released.

Two Favorites: “Trouble” and “Options”


17) Aloe Blacc, Lift Your Spirit

Aloe Blacc, Lift Your Spirit © Interscope

He’s a pretty confident dude – I would be to if I were “The Man.” 

Two Favorites: “The Man” & “Love Is The Answer”


18) Toni Braxton & Babyface, Love, Marriage & Divorce

Toni Braxton & Babyface, Love Marriage & Divorce © Motown Toni and Babyface seem to cover their bases with the title itself. The album does so too.

Two Favorites: “Hurt You” & “Where Did It Go Wrong?”


19) Tinashe, Aquarius

Tinashe, Aquarius © RCA Tinashe is just “2 On” to leave off the list – she can even make a “Thug Cry!”

 Two Favorites: “2 On” & “Thug Cry”

20) Joe, Bridges

Joe, Bridges © Plaid Lover

The lack of flash or maybe just Joe’s continual consistency keeps this album lower than it should be on this list. It’s no “Dilemma” though.

Two Favorites: “Till The Rope Gives Way” & “The Rest Will Follow”

 21) Jhené Aiko, Souled Out

Jhené Aiko, Souled Out © Def Jam

One of the quietest R&B albums on this list, it is an interesting listen by all means – no worries and no “Pressure” Jhené.

Two Favorites: “Limbo Limbo Limbo” & “The Pressure”

22) Leela James, Fall For You

Leela James, Fall For You © BMG Rights Mgmt

Didn’t we all fall for Leela James this year? Fall For You was another fine addition to her discography!

Two Favorites: “Who’s Gonna Love You More” & “Say That” (featuring Anthony Hamilton)


23) Mariah Carey, Me. I Am Mariah…The Elusive Chanteuse

Mariah Carey, Me. I Am Mariah...The Elusive Chanteuse

We all know it didn’t sell and MC has had a bad year, but the album wasn’t nearly as bad everything else – it definitely has its “Beautiful” moments.

Two Favorites: “Beautiful” & “Heavenly (No Ways Tired / Can’t Give Up Now)” 


24) Daley, Days & Nights

Daley, Days & Nights © Republic

Yeah, few people know who Daley is, but they should – this British contemporary R&B singer is legit.

Two Favorites: “Blame The World” & “Broken”


25) Ledisi, The Truth

Ledisi, The Truth © Verve 

Though not nearly as distinctive as some of her previous albums, The Truth still shows Ledisi’s craft for making a solid R&B album.

Two Favorites: “I Blame You” and “88 Boxes”


26) Teyana Taylor, VII

Teyana Taylor, VII © G.O.O.D. Quietly released, there were plenty of pros about Teyana Taylor’s debut.

Two Favorites: “Just Different” and “Request”

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