Billboard Hot R&B Hits 1981 features some of the year's most popular contemporary R&B singles, including Earth, Wind & Fire's "Let's Groove," the Four Tops' "When She Was My Girl," and the Gap Band's "Burn Rubber (Why You Wanna Hurt Me)." Chaka Khan's "What Cha' Gonna Do for Me," Evelyn King's "I'm in Love," and Ray Parker, Jr.'s "A Woman Needs Love (Just Like You Do)" are some of the other standouts on this album, which also features songs by Grover Washington, Roger, and Yarbrough & Peoples. While it doesn't always flow together as cleanly as one might hope, this collection still offers a clear and concise look at the year in |R&B.
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AllMusic Review by Heather Phares