Didn’t Deserve It: Brandy’s Who I Am

Frankly, we didn’t deserve Brandy’s severely overlooked and underappreciated Afrodisiac. Released in June of 2004, Brandy’s fourth studio album was met with critical response that was highly positive, eventually garnering critical acclaim for its mature lyrics, Brandy’s vocals, and its overall experimental sound. The album was said to be ahead of its time and has been called a predecessor to alternative R&B.

Released after the birth of her child and her divorce, the album was deeply personal to Brandy. Brandy herself said that “on Afrodisiac, you really get to know me as a person and I’m not sugarcoating any of the lyrics. My fans will be able to connect to it because they’ll know exactly what I’ve been through.”

Choosing a song to truly point out as a highlight from the album is difficult. It’s full of them. Who I Am though, is the perfect beginning to the album. Squarely aimed at her ex-husband Robert Smith, the song answers many questions the public had regarding their relationship. The song divulges a lot of information about Brandy’s headspace, the fallout, and the reasoning behind her leaving and ending the marriage.

Who I Am is a lyrical monster:

Just for the sake of my daughter
I tried to stick to the plan
But I had to get rid of the weight
On my fourth finger, left hand

Nothings picture perfect
Looks can be deceiving
What I thought was love
Was something that I did not believe in

Look how I smile
All you did was help the next man
This experience made me
Who I am

Afrodisiac spawned three singles: Talk About Our Love (ft. Kanye West), Who Is She 2 U, and Afrodisiac. It sold over 500,000 copies worldwide (in a just world, it would’ve sold millions). Brandy is currently recording her 6th studio album.

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