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  • Writer's pictureMalcolm Williams

Like One Three #6

Updated: Jul 1, 2019

Ne-Yo - In My Own Words

‘Like One Three’ is a series highlighting albums of the past that may have gone pass people‘s head. I’m hoping that this article gives you reason to reach back and catch it ’Like One Three’. Shoutout to Drake and Odell Beckham Jr. for inspiring this concept. I present to you guys, Ne-Yo.

This particular album I’m not too sure if it missed too many people but I do remember Because of You feeling like Ne-Yo‘s breakout album. For me being in the 8th grade when this album dropped and being a Peedi Crakk fan hearing Stay I was already interested to see what an entire album from Ne-Yo sounded. I had this CD player at the time and we had this couch that was long going towards the TV. After school I would go grab my CDs and lay on that couch blasting my music and drifting away. In My Own Words ended up being my album of choice more times than not.

I remember watching BET and seeing them premiere the video to Stay and going “yo who is this dude and how he get Peedi Crakk to do this love song???” I’m 12 and fascinated by State Property so anything they did I was all for it. At the same time I lowkey thought I was a vocal God so the more I sang Ne-Yo‘s parts I was more and more a fan of his abilities than I am there for Peedi. When I got my hands on the album I was super excited to see this song was track one because it was the beginning of my fandom of Ne-Yo and the song I had a lot of fun singing for like six-plus months prior to the release. It’s still a song I bust out in a car set I play when I’m I’m the zone.

Mirror is the song that 13 year old me probably shouldn’t have been as big a fan of but I was coming into my own at that time. It was a very descriptive and vividly written but even more than that I instantly understood the vibes that this song was used for. When it was time for me to utilize this record I didn’t hesitate even if this album was forgotten by some, I knew Mirror was the joint to get it cracking. That record comes in super sexy with this glittery ass noise. Then Ne-Yo comes in with that “I must be honest with you babe...” I don’t have to say nothing else after that and when I think about it this is probably one of the last records where the singer will get the ladies out they draws for you. I can’t name too many records in recent memory that the artists literally puts all the work in for you.

Yo let me tell y‘all how fake hurt I got whenever Time came on. This dude Ne-Yo would have me on the couch like my whole life was over every time that record came on. Don’t let me be home alone, I’m in that bitch singing my ass off. Talking bout “No one knows what they have until they don’t and by then it doesn’t matter anymor, YOU’RE ALL ALONE!!!” Looking crazy. But them keys were very influential on my young soul at the time. When I listen to the song now I can’t help but appreciate when dudes were hurt during a breakup in music. We don’t have a lot of “dwell on it” R&B anymore. I need some records for those 72 hours of “I can’t believe I lost her” time. Ne-Yo really embodies the spirit of a hurt man on this song perfectly.

It’s amazing to me how well this album aged and it seems like Ne-Yo’s forgotten album. Listening to it with my current ear makes me yearn for more albums that cover the spectrums of love. Ne-Yo‘s songwriting abilities will likely never be duplicate, especially with the fact that a lot of artists are either afraid or incapable of doing an R&B song with more than one verse. Timeless music is hard to create but Ne-Yo‘s debut album is as timeless as they come. In My Own Words is my absolute favorite Ne-Yo and that’s not just nostalgia speaking.

I wanna thank Ne-Yo for giving us some of the best R&B music of all time. Being an artist that if I had retained the vocal abilities of my youth I would aspire to be. I really hope this article paints the picture of what your music meant to me as a young boy and a man. You still inspire my taste in R&B music. Thank You.

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