Ranking the Best Musiq Soulchild Albums

If you’re a fan of our weekly SoulBack Podcast (and if not – get your life), there’s one debate that’s been raging for years now:

Keith Sweat vs Musiq Soulchild.

My boy Tom and I (with Kyle stirring the post, as usual), typically go toe-to-toe over those two artists nearly every episode, even dragging our guests into the debate.

The smart ones always side with me and Keef.

And while I love giving Tom grief over his obsession, facts are facts – Musiq Soulchild is responsible for reshaping the sound of R&B as we entered the new millennium, has gone on to inspire a new generation of artists and has proven to be one of the most consistent soul singers in the game.

You know how we do – let’s look back at the albums that built his legacy.

As always, we’ll be ranking Musiq’s albums from bottom to top, based on song quality, consistency, and impact on the genre. And we’re just talking about solo Musiq Soulchild LPs here – we’re excluding holiday albums, EPs, and anything recorded under the guise of PurpleWondaLuv or The Husel. Trust me, you don’t want me to go there.

Show love to one of the architects of modern soul.

onmyradio

8. OnMyRadio (2008)

Soul In Stereo rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

Read our review here

Edd said: It’s unfair to call OnMyRadio a miss – there are a couple of really good tracks to be found here – but besides those standouts, there’s not much for Musiq to hang his oversized shades on. Two or three strong songs among several so-so records make for a mixed listen.

Forgotten favorites: “Iwannabe,” “Sobeautiful,” “Someone”

life on earth

7. Life on Earth (2016)

Soul In Stereo rating: 4 stars out of 5

Read our review here

Edd said: Musiq’s first LP in five years was a solid return to form for an artist re-entering an evolving R&B landscape. He didn’t ride trends, instead sticking to the sound that fueled success. The album itself, while one of that year’s stronger R&B offerings, failed to distinguish itself from Musiq’s bigger hits. Pretty good but not very memorable.

Forgotten favorites: “Who Really Loves You,” “Changed My Mind,” “I Do”

soulstar

6. Soulstar (2003)

Soul In Stereo rating: 4 stars out of 5

Edd said: Before I sat down to compile this list, I assumed that Soulstar would be bringing up the rear. These days, the only thing from this LP I revisit is the vastly underrated “womanopoly.” But here’s why it pays to do your homework, kids – instead of ranking these albums from memory, I always go back and relisten to them all in totality. And my runthrough of Soulstar proved that I’ve been sleeping on it for years. While I still think several songs run too long and make the overall package a little bloated, it’s a strong offering filled with gems. Sorry I doubted this one.

Forgotten favorites: “womanopoly,” “thereason,” “infatueighties”

feel the real

5. Feel the Real (2017)

Soul In Stereo rating: 4 stars out of 5

Read our review here

Edd said: Faithful Soul In Stereo readers already know how I feel about most double albums not named Life After Death or Wu-Tang Forever – they’re just too much of a good thing. But to Musiq’s credit, he makes the most of the real estate, giving us two strong discs of material. Of course, this would have been even better if it were one disc and the fat was trimmed but overall Feel the Real exceeded my expectations.

Forgotten favorites: “Sooner or Later,” “Start Over,” “Hard Liquor”

musiqinthemagiq

4. MusiqIntheMagiq (2011)

Soul In Stereo rating: 4 stars out of 5

Edd said: I’ve always considered MusiqIntheMagiq to be Musiq’s forgotten release. It spawned no hit singles, and I don’t remember anything getting notable airplay. It’s too bad because fans may have missed out on a real treat. From front to back, MusiqIntheMagiq is by far the most consistent listen in Musiq’s catalog. The only thing missing is one or two standout tracks – add that and this LP would be among some of Musiq’s best work ever.

Forgotten favorites: “Medicine,” “Sayido,” “BacktoWhere”

luvandmusiq

3. Luvanmusiq (2007)

Soul In Stereo rating: 4 stars out of 5

Edd said: Luvanmusiq tends to rank pretty low on most Musiq fans’ lists and I’m not sure why. It’s a tighter, more cohesive package than many of his other albums; he expands his usual mellow repertoire with fun, upbeat tracks; and there are plenty of underappreciated album cuts that will keep you running back for more. Show respect to Luvanmusiq!

Forgotten favorites: “Betterman,” “lullaby,” “millionaire”

juslisen

2. Juslisen (2002)

Soul In Stereo rating: 4 stars out of 5

Edd said: Juslisen is an interesting, um, listen. The first half of the album is solid but certainly not enough to earn such high placement on this list. But it’s the second half of this set where things really pick up, delivering the sound and signature tracks that would go on to define Musiq’s career. The LP might get a little long in the tooth by the end (a frequent struggle for Musiq’s LPs) but it’s an undeniable showcase of his pure talent.

Forgotten favorites: “Motherfather,” “previouscats,” “ifiwouldaknew (Girlnextdoor remix)”

Aijuswanaseing

1. Aijuswanaseing (2000)

Soul In Stereo rating: 4 stars out of 5

Edd said: Yeah, No. 1 was obvious, and for good reason. I remember this album debuting in 2000 and absolutely captivating my group of friends – its blend of throwback soul with a modern edge reshaped R&B for the 21st century, becoming one of the flagship albums of the neo-soul movement. It’s one of the most important R&B albums of the past 20 years, as well as one of the most memorable. With one album, Musiq became an instant star.

Forgotten favorites: “Poparatzi,” “Mary Go Round,” “Settle for My Love”

What are your favorite Musiq albums? Tell us below.

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4 Comments

  1. Really well-considered rundown. My rankings would be as follows:

    1) Aijuswanaseing
    2) Luvanmusiq
    3) Soulstar
    4) Juslisen
    5) Musiqinthemagiq
    6) Onmyradio
    7) Life On Earth
    8) Feel The Real

  2. Musiq was writing his butt off for the Soulstar record.

  3. Also, Sweats work is important I’ve got love for the legend Keith’s long been, but there’s no essential “LP” for ME in his gallery/shop.

  4. My ranking goes a follows:

    1. aijuswanaseing
    2. Justlisen
    3. Soul star
    4. Luvanmusiq
    5. Onmyradio
    6. Musiqinthemagic
    7. Lifeonearth
    8. Feelthereal

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