Ne-Yo was becoming one of R&B’s top princes by the time 2007 rolled around.
His debut LP, In My Own Words, was a huge success in an age when R&B fans were looking for singers to return to their roots. That movement was called “neo-soul,” and Ne-Yo was definitely part of that new breed of old R&B.
With his debut going Platinum, Ne-Yo knew that he had to bring more of what made In My Own Words a success on his sophomore album. The end result was Because of You, and no one knew just how big that album would become.
Consider this: Because of You debut at number one on the R&B/Hip-Hop album charts, sold over 250,000 in its first week, and was quickly certified Platinum. Though In My Own Words would also be a number one hit, it took some time for his debut to reach that lofty perch.
Because of You did it out of the gate.
There were plenty of great reason why Because of You deserved the accolades that it garnered. The album was neo-soul at it’s best, with the title track, which became a number two hit on the Hot 100, being one of the leading examples of what this sub-genre was all about.
They just don’t make R&B mid-tempo jams like “Because of You” anymore.
The title track wasn’t the only thing that made Because of You such a joy to listen to. “Addicted” had that gospel-tinged flavor that just oozed in smooth goodness and “Do You,” though not a huge hit, was a single that got up to the level of the title track with a mid-tempo flavor that was sprinkled with sentimentality.
Because of You won a Grammy Award for Best Contemporary R&B Album, and that was a tall achievement given the litany of great R&B albums that were released during 07’. Because of You was just the cream of the crop, and it put its creator, Ne-Yo, at the top of the R&B food chain.
It’s truly one of the best R&B albums ever made, and no conversation about the neo-soul years is complete without mentioning this silky smooth LP.