16. Pharrell Williams/ Kelis/ N.E.R.D./ Neptunes (tie)

So around 2001-2004 I was a complete Neptunes freak. My cubicle at work was practically nothing but Pharrell and Chad pictures, I had countless Neptunes mix cd’s I made constantly, and I was almost always talking about them in some way. And the technical first introduction I had to this Awesome production team was via Kelis’ first album “Kaleidoscope”. At the time, the production on that album overpowered anything she was doing, and ever since than I followed the Neptunes careers. What I think I loved the most about their productions was they came really hard with the beats and bass and what not, but everything they did was undeniably dance worthy. Like you’d catch yourself nodding your head or tapping your feet and not even realize it. Now I can’t lie or ignore the fact that around 2004/2005 they officially started to fall off, and I’m not even sure they produce as a duo anymore. Pharrell’s solo album was a bit of a disappointment, and NeRD are sometimes a little TOO out there. But the Neptunes gave me a Good 5 Mix cd’s that I still play to this day, and I actually think that in 2008 they did a good job of saving their name, by bringing some actual New sounding stuff on Madonna’s “Hard Candy” and select tracks from NeRD’s “Seeing Sounds”.

Kelis, that’s just a cool bitch. She also has a lot of songs that I can personally relate to (which is oddly difficult to find). And she’s just Different, a very unique artist. I’ve Never been disappointed by any of her albums, even though she’s distanced herself completely from the Neptunes her music has actually gotten better which proves that she did bring a lot to the table and didn’t just show up to sing over the Neptunes beats all those years. I really wish she was more popular… but what are you gonna do?

myTop 3 Favourite Kelis albums: 1. Kelis was Here (2006), 2. Kaleidoscope (2000), 3. Tasty (2004)

myTop 3 Favourite Pharrell/Neptunes/NeRD albums: 1. In Search Of… (2002), 2. Neptunes Present Clones (2003), 3. Seeing Sounds (2008)

17. Jay-Z

I’m gonna admit something here. I wasn’t a big fan of Jigga when he first came out. I did like the “Aint No nigga” with Foxy. I didn’t hate dude or anything like that, but I really wasn’t paying much attention to him during the “Reasonable Doubt” era. I did notice that dude wasn’t going away and that he had a huge hit that even I couldn’t deny every Year (hell every six months). Than around the time of “In My Lifetime Part 2” and “Can I Get A…” when you just literally couldn’t get away from him… I did start to respect him and see him from a different perspective. He’s had a few missteps, but overall he’s been a very consistent albums artist. And his singles are crazy. Plus he has some of the best, funniest and thought provoking bars of any rapper Alive. I was a little mad at his “faux” retirement, and “Kingdom Come” was a real let-down. “American Gangster” was a step in the right direction, and I’m actually Really excited for “Blueprint III” coming out in September.

myTop 3 Favourite Jay-z albums: 1. The Blueprint (2001), 2. Reasonable Doubt (1996), 3. The Black Album (2004)

18. Devo

Being a 80’s baby, it almost goes without saying that I was familiar and a fan of Devo’s biggest hit “Whip It” and it’s music video. It wasn’t until a few years ago when I heard their wonderfully twisted cover of the Rolling Stones’ “Satisfaction” that I wanted to hear more from them. Just within this past year I’ve started to listen to their catalogue, and for some weird reason I seem to love everything they do. Most of their music is really unconventional (for me), like they lack melody or harmony. Still they are addictive and the band themselves are amazing together. Towards the mid-80’s they did start to stagnate with their sound, but they had a really great run of very creative, and ultimatley innovative music.

myTop 3 Favourite Devo albums: 1. Q.Are We Not Men? A. We Are Devo! (1978), 2. Freedom of Choice (1980), 3. New Traditionalists (1981)

19. Usher/Timberlake (tie)

These two are definitely the Kings of the Industry when it comes to artists from my generation. The feeling that we grew up together probably is the reason they are so high on my list. Especially Usher, who has been recording solo since he was 13. They both have had their share of peaks, massive hit singles and awards, and breaking records. Usher with his “Confessions” album which in 2004 became one of the few instant Classic albums of this decade. Timberlake’s solo debut (coming from probably the most successful 90’s Boy Band ‘N Sync) “Justified”, with the help of Neptunes and Timbaland, crossed over and was also pretty highly regarded. And ofcourse they both have their signature, un-escapable Monster single, Usher with “Yeah!” and Timberlake with “Sexyback”.
However. Usher’s last album was a bit of a dud, he’s working on a 6th album which will hopefully redeem him from not only a disapointing album, but very underwhelming live performances. Timberlake hasn’t even got to his 3rd solo album, and currently he’s more of a television star than a recording artist. They are both escaping
the “Teen Dream” phase, so their next releases are going to have to take them to a new level. If not they might totally fall off this list. (Like they care!)

myTop 3 Favourite Usher/Timberlake albums: 1. Confessions (2004), 2. Justified (2002), 3. 8701 (2001)

Okay that’s it for now. I’m actually going to come back really quick with the Tie for #15. I think they both deserve their own profile, and a longer explanation of why they are tied. And you can see #20-25 here.