Welcome back to Head to Head with Edd, where yours truly goes toe-to-toe with the superfans of the game’s biggest artists. We’ll take a look at the selected artist’s biggest hits and misses and see where we can find common ground.
This time around I’m joined by Tom Leo, renowned Musiq Soulchild stan and founder of YouKnowIGotSoul.com. You can listen to us argue about R&B every week on the SoulBack Podcast, but today we’re arguing about his fave. Check it out.
Name Musiq Soulchild’s three best albums
These are my personal favorite three, but I definitely feel like arguments could be made to include other ones. The debut album in my opinion is a classic, and the one that put him on the map. Soulstar felt like he began to evolve his sound a bit and showed growth. Luvanmusiq is probably his most under appreciated body of work but it was so diverse and had many standouts.
Musiq’s best album isn’t really up for debate. His debut (Idontwannaspellit) set the tone for his career and has yet to be topped. But the tricky thing about ranking Musiq’s work is that almost everything is pretty consistently solid. Juslisen is probably the closest thing in his catalog to match his stellar debut and the often-overlooked Luvanmusiq showed us that Musiq can diversify his style with ease. I’ll go with those three.
What’s Musiq’s weakest solo album?
I’m on record as saying he doesn’t have a bad album, but if I had to choose my least favorite, I’d say OnMyRadio. The album actually has some good songs, but the sound is a bit all over the place at times and it just doesn’t feel like a cohesive project.
Look at Tom being all diplomatic. You trying to run for office, playa? Well, couldn’t be worse that who we’ve already got. I do agree with you, though, even Musiq’s “bad” stuff is typically better than his peers, and that goes for OnMyRadio – there are plenty of good songs here, it’s just not as consistent as his better offerings.
What’s the first song that made you a Musiq fan?
Tom: “Girl Next Door“
Believe it or not I wasn’t a huge fan of his first two singles “Just Friends (Sunny)” or “Love” in the moment. They eventually grew on me. But “Girl Next Door” was the one that really made me feel he was going to take this neo-soul genre and evolve it to a whole nother place fused with hip hop and traditional R&B.
Edd: “Girl Next Door”
Huh, I agree with Tom AGAIN. I’m as shocked as you are. I remember my friends being obsessed with “Just Friends (Sunny)” during my last semester of college (yeah, I’m that old). I just didn’t see the big deal. I liked “Love” more but radio quickly ran it into the ground and I soured on it. But it was single No. 3 that finally convinced me to check out Musiq’s debut – a decision I’ll never regret.
What’s Musiq’s best single?
This is probably the toughest question on this list. Going to go with “Halfcrazy.” I just remember hearing that song and remembering it sounding like nothing else at the time, and then hearing the lyrics which also told a story you don’t often hear in songs. Definitely not your traditional love story.
“Halfcrazy” is definitely dope but I’ll go with “Love.” Yeah I know I just said that I quickly grew tired of this song (blame radio) but that doesn’t mean it’s not great. “Love” is the definitive Musiq Soulchild song, his first top 5 R&B single and always will be tied to his rise to success.
And what’s his worst single?
Unfortunately, “Radio” is the only correct choice. Although it’s grown on me in recent years, you can tell the label was trying to force something with this one.
I almost went with “Anything” from MusiqIntheMagiq, but that one is not a bad song per se, it just doesn’t feel like a Musiq track. Now “Radio,” yeah, this one doesn’t work at ALL. Musiq has trouble riding the beat so it comes off mad awkward, like he’s walking around wearing two left shoes.
Name Musiq’s best music video
I’m going to have to go with “Dontchange.” Just the heartwarming love story that portrays growing old with someone.
Man BET was obsessed with this video circa 2002. Every time you turned on the TV Wrinkled Musiq and his lady were staring at each other. But yeah, it’s a great love story – the kind of stories that need a comeback in mainstream R&B.
Musiq has tons of high-profile features. Which one was his best?
Tom: “Nothing At All”
Another one with plenty of good choices. But I’ve always loved the song he had with Carlos Santana “Nothing At All.” That song really brought another element out of Musiq, and the lyrics are so real, especially if you’ve ever been through a breakup.
Edd: “Break You Off”
And I’ll hit a 180 and go with the Root’s freak anthem “Break You Off.” Musiq’s songs are known for romance and subtlety so hearing him sing “COMIN’ TO BREAK YOU OFF YEAHHHHHHH” seems like a stretch. But he adds so much to this track. It’s become one of my favorites from the Roots, and Musiq gets a lot of credit for that.
What’s Musiq’s most overlooked album cut?
“Womanopoly!!!” Still don’t know how this wasn’t a single but the lyrics were super creative, the production was super dope, and you can just visualize the video to this one in your head.
I hate agreeing with Tom so much, it makes him too cocky. But yes lord, WHY WASN’T THIS A SINGLE? The board game metaphor seems corny in theory but it works so well – Musiq basically narrates the life of a woman on her rise to success. This would have been a hit.
Name Musiq’s most underrated album
Definitely Luvanmusiq. Never quite got the attention it deserved. Musiq definitely moved to a bit more traditional R&B sound on this one, but it was a welcome evolution.
Yeah, Luvanmusiq seems like the easy choice but a few months back I reviewed Musiq’s entire discography and I was reminded how enjoyable MusiqInTheMagiq was. Luvanmusiq at least had two really big singles – MusiqInTheMagiq didn’t get nearly as much attention but contains so many strong album cuts. That one deserved more love.
The Husel or Purple Wondaluv? Which of Musiq’s alter egos do you prefer?
Tom: Purple Wondaluv
Purple Wondaluv by far, especially because the Eternal Peace EP he put out was really dope. Anyone who’s heard it can appreciate it. It certainly felt like a great extension of the Musiq brand. The lyrics are uplifting which is just a bonus.
Edd: Purple Wondaluv
Playa please, this one is easy. The last time I shared my thoughts on The Husel Musiq’s management almost put a price on my head so I’ll save that rant for another time. I’m all for an artist embracing their creativity and trying something new. Sometimes it doesn’t work *COUGH*theHusel*COUGH* but sometimes you strike gold. Purple Wondaluv was a cool experiment that resonated.
Does Musiq have any classic albums? If so, which ones?
Tom: I’m going to try and be as unbiased as possible and answer this question. I still think it’s too early to judge the majority of his catalog when considering if something is a classic. In this moment I will say two, but if you catch me on the right day, I could be talked into saying four.
Edd: I’m notoriously stingy with the “classic” designation, as most of you know (and hate). For me, the only album up for debate here is Aijuswanaseing and I’m on the fence about it. Is it good? Unquestionably. Is it influential? A bit. Does it stack up among the best of its era? It’s up there. Aijuswanaseing comes close to reaching that rarified classic air but it doesn’t feel like a sure thing – at least not yet. As its legacy continues to grow it could easily hit the upper echelon for me.
Who got it right, Tom or Edd? Let us know below.