Ranking the Best Ginuwine Albums

A few years ago there was an article floating around the Internetz that made the case that Ginuwine is MUCH bigger than his now-iconic song “Pony” and should be considered among the greatest R&B artists of all time.

“All-time” might be a stretch but yes, there is way more to G than his Pony and he’s certainly one of the defining artists of his era. Thanks to his blend of show-stopping choreography, distinct vocals and groundbreaking production, Ginuwine became one of R&B’s driving forces in the late 90s/early 00s.

So let’s look back at those glory years, shall we?

It’s time to rank G’s discography, and as usual, album quality, consistency, and impact on the genre helped shape our decisions. Keep in mind we’re only exploring Ginuwine’s solo LPs – no compilations or TGT efforts. Although I did throw in one surprise just to shake things up. Check it out.

8. Back II da Basics (2005)

Soul in Stereo rating: 3 stars out of 5

Edd said: I always thought that it was a little weird that this album was called Back II da Basics – with a name like that you might expect a return to Ginuwine’s trademark 90s sound. Nah, how bout a bunch of generic radio tracks instead? Back II da Basics is a typical latter-day effort from G – solid yet unmemorable midtempo tracks mixed with disposable upbeat cuts. Not much here.

Forgotten favorites: “Betta Half,” “I’m In Love,” “Far Away”

7. I Apologize (2007)

Soul in Stereo rating: 3 stars out of 5

Edd said: OK, so here’s a weird one many of you probably haven’t heard of. I Apologize was never meant to be an official Ginuwine release. Instead, it was to be a compilation of emerging artists. But since G is featured on almost every track some fans consider it an unofficial album, so we might as well examine it here. And, honestly, it’s not bad for what it is. G sounds really good in his role as elder statesmen and the featured artists also show promise. But the effort’s biggest sins are the dated production and the hideous mixing issues – it REALLY takes the steam out of some decent tracks. With some fine tuning this could have been a solid proper album.

Forgotten favorites: “Since I Found You,” “I Apologize,” “It’s Real”

6. Elgin (2011)

Soul in Stereo rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

Edd said: By the time we reached Elgin, G’s most recent release to date, the wild days of the Bachelor seem to be firmly in his rear view. Grown Man R&B reigns supreme here, which is why this one is so divisive among his fanbase. OG fans longing for G’s sexcapades won’t find them here. What they will find are great vocal performances and very solid production. The songwriting comes off a little generic in spots but I’m not mad at growth.

Forgotten favorites: “Break,” “What Could Have Been,” “Frozen”

5. A Man’s Thoughts (2009)

Soul in Stereo rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

Edd said: This is another release that unfairly gets a bad rap. A Man’s Thoughts not only gave us “Last Chance,” G’s last big hit to date, it was also championed as the big reunion with former collaborators Timbaland and Missy Elliott. That track, “Get Involved,” was a miss and “Last Chance” seemed to fade from the spotlight quickly, souring a lot of folks on this LP. But as an overall effort, A Man’s Thoughts is a solid offering, balancing his midtempo prowess and upbeat tracks much better than some other latter-day album outings. It’s a little underrated in the grand scheme of things.

Forgotten favorites: “Trouble,” “One Time for Love,” “Orchestra”

4. The Senior (2003)

Soul in Stereo rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

Edd said: Real talk, back in 2003 I DID NOT LIKE THIS RECORD. At all. The club tracks were absolutely cringeworthy, like songs a bunch of Greeks made up at the college frat house. But revisiting it with fresh ears in 2020 shows it’s not nearly as bad as I remembered. Yeah, all those club joints still need to be burned, but the album REALLY shines with its midtempo album cuts – G’s specialty. Ginuwine knocks almost all of them out of the park effortlessly. The Senior is a mixed bag for sure but there’s more good than bad.

Forgotten favorites: “Love You More,” “Locked Down,” “Our First Born”

3. Ginuwine…The Bachelor (1996)

Soul in Stereo rating: 4 stars out of 5

Edd said: A yes, the one that started it all. The Bachelor instantly became Ginuwine’s breakout record, thanks to Timbaland’s unearthly production and Static Major’s unique songwriting. Despite it being a fan favorite, it’s not a flawless release though – some of the album cuts don’t quite hold up and, surprisingly, even of some Tim’s production gets a little repetitive by the album’s end. Still, this album was a great way to kick off a career.

Forgotten favorites: “Hello,” “World is So Cold,” “550 What”

2. The Life (2001)

Soul in Stereo rating: 4 stars out of 5

Edd said: I assume THIS is the ranking that will flood my mentions with the most hate tweets. Maybe it’s due to Ginuwine easing away from his partnership with Timbaland or maybe it’s because hit single “Differences” was burned into our ears for almost straight year but The Life often lacks the love it deserves. Allow me to rectify that. The Life could have been subtitled The Maturation of Ginuwine. G reached his vocal peak here, showcasing some of the best performances of his career, as well as touching on incredibly personal subjects – specifically womanhood and the deaths of his parents. It’s not overloaded with chart-toppers, but from sequencing to pacing, The Life is an air-tight album.

Forgotten favorites: “Tribute to a Woman,” “Two Reasons I Cry,” “Role Play”

1. 100% Ginuwine (1999)

Soul in Stereo rating: 4 stars out of 5

Edd said: The line between The Life and 100% Ginuwine is razor thin – either are deserving of the top spot. While The Life is better constructed album with less filler, 100% Ginuwine does boast a couple of superior songs, so it gets the crown. Fighting off the sophomore jinx isn’t easy but G does it masterfully here, thanks to its collection of signature songs, standout performances and Timbaland’s eclectic array of beats. The second half gets a little too filler-heavy for my liking but regardless, 100% Ginuwine is G’s signature album and most renowned release.

Forgotten favorites: “Wait a Minute,” “Final Warning,” “All Nite All Day”

What’s your favorite Ginuwine album? Annoyed that the Bachelor could beat The Life? Let your emotions loose in the comments below.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

2 Comments

  1. Back II Da Basics should be higher or Glaze in My Eye and Want U To Be – two of his finest songs ever. But I”m glad you showed the love for The Life, which I agree is his second best album.

  2. 100% is 5 stars despite the She’s Out of My Life “cover”

Leave a Reply to Brandan H Edwards Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published.


*