Jun 23, 2016

#TBT: R&B AOTY 2012 - (written by @RamseySaidWHAT)

I took a trip into WTM archives and found this, the 2012 R&B Album of the Year list. The staff wasn't so sufficient as WTM was still a startup. Usually AOTY is just hip-hop but that was a great year for R&B so I ventured into making a crossover list for the albums released that year. Some of these projects stand the test of time and are still in rotation, some are well....not. I hope you enjoy this trip in time as I have enjoyed providing it to you.

I usually find it difficult picking the number one album of the year. This one was kinda tough at first but not quite when you really think about it. I try so hard not to be bias. I ask my own group of people with exceptional music taste and experience that varies and came to my conclusions. From here we countdown five to one. Don’t spoil it and scroll down. Without further adieu, The R&B Top 5 albums of 2012.

Number 5: Perfectly Imperfect - Elle Varner

Perhaps the biggest surprise in urban music. Elle Varner is quite the talent and stands up very well next to her female counterparts. Perfectly Imperfect was a great album. In fact, the title describes it well. She brings a classic but unique jazz voice over neo-soul and 90’s sounding beats. Songs that stood out on this cut were Only Wanna Give it to You feat. J. Cole, Oh What A Night, and Refill. She even showcases her vocal range on I Don’t Care. I look forward to more from Miss Varner in the future. On the Ramsey Rating Scale, Perfectly Imperfect earns 3.1 of 5 stars.

Number 4: R.E.D - Ne-Yo

“Realizing Every Dream,” The Ne-Yo comeback project was quite the success. Lord knows how bad Libra Scale was, but he took it back to the drawing board and hit it on the nail. Perhaps the move to Motown Records had a positive effect. R.E.D had a few jams for the “Sex Set” (as we DJ’s like to call it) with Lazy Love & Stress Reliever. This album also features tracks like Miss Right (which was written years ago and just released for the album) and To Whom it May Concern which makes you think about “forever” in a 3 stacks kind of way. Ne-Yo a bunch of unexpected feature artists like Tim McGraw but also included his usual Fabolous feature as well. R.E.D had a few Pop sounding tracks as well but that’s expected from Ne-Yo and his Michael Jackson influence. The Ramsey Rating Scale ranks R.E.D a 3.3 of 5 stars.

Number 3: Chapter V - Trey Songz

Oh, I’m about to DIIIIIIIVVVVVVEEEEEE IIIIIIIIINNNNNN to this one. Probably the most radio friendly album, of any genre, this year. Heart Attack, 2 Reasons feat. T.I, Hail Mary feat. Young Jeezy & Lil’ Wayne, and Check Me Out feat Diddy & Meek Mill were the big hits on the radio. Of course Trigga didn’t leave us hanging without his bedroom bangers with Panty Wetter and Dive In of course. Ramsey’s Rating Scale gives Chapter V a 3.9 of 5 stars.

Number 2. Channel Orange - Frank Ocean

This album and the number one album of the list were back and forth in the debate. The album was impeccable. On top of that he created the most controversy this year with a tumblr post about his sexuality a week before it dropped. Perhaps he couldn’t keep it to himself any longer, or perhaps he might just be the greatest business marketer in the history of the music world. Anyways Thinkin’ Bout You was a mega hit remixed by many icons and (terribly) covered on youtube by EVERYBODY with their attempted falsettos. Sierra Leone, Sweet Life,and Super Rich Kids featuring fellow OFWGKTA member Earl Sweatshirt were the catchy records on this album. What really impressed listeners was the track Pink Matter with an incredible verse by Andrè 3000. Channel Orange rated a 4.7 of 5 stars on the Ramsey Rating Scale.

Number 1. Kaleidoscope Dream - Miguel

Like I said before, Channel Orange and Kaleidoscope Dream could have been interchangeable. I struggled with making this the number one because it was my personal favorite this year, then I had an epiphany. I liked the album because it was the best. Many Art Dealer Chic EPs and Air & Water previews later thi album still sold well. It also featured amazing visuals with Do You… and possibly the best R&B song this year Adorn. When our generation is older and we are at family reunions and wedding receptions we will play Adorn and be able to say (like our parents before us) “Oooh that’s my Jam, you don’t know nothing ‘bout this one.” We tend to lack in feel good music but unique talents like Miguel will fill the void. The entire album is an easy listen. Only one featured artist, Alicia Keys, is found in Where’s the Fun in Forever. How Many Drinks and P*ssy is Mine are three very underrated cuts on this amazing record. “aleidoscope Dream ranks a 4.75 of 5 stars on the Ramsey Rating Scale.

This was a difficult decision so please don’t slander my opinions too bad. It took months of listening (and re-listening) effort, research on sales, popularity, and chart rankings to make the list. Honestly any one of the artists that didn’t make the Top 5 could have easily been interchangeable in the 3-5 spots. It was also hard to determine genres because of the crossover music has done the past few years. Ryan Leslie is an R&B artist but dropped a Hip-Hop style album. Rihanna has jumped from Reggae to Hip-Hop to Pop and even rock music. I did the best I could and appreciate the help I got from my team. Hope you enjoyed.
Jonathan C. Ramsey
Jonathan C. Ramsey

Multimedia Journalist, Founder and Chief Editor of WTM Host of A-Side B-Side Podcast and more. I like to talk about stuff and write it down. Sometimes to a microphone. Either way, I need you to feel this.

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