The-Dream – 1977It’d be remiss not to mention one of the most influential R&B acts currently doing it. At the time of recording Confessions, Usher was going through a rough breakup with Rozonda “Chili” Thomas of TLC, and together with Jermaine Dupri, he decided to let some of those real-life situations inform the songs he was making. Thus “Burn” was born, although Dupri would later claim that songs like “Confessions Part I & II” were actually inspired by his own experiences of infidelity, not Usher’s.
Terius took the same approach to what is arguably his best album, 1977. At the time, he was going through a divorce with Christiana Milian, and the darkness of that process casts a shadow on songs like “Wake Me When It’s Over,” “Wedding Crasher” and “Long Gone.” He departed from the pop-centric sound of previous hits for 1977, and while the album didn’t produce any hits, it did allow Nash to vent on personal issues. Confessions set that precedent.