So...7 CD's in one day. I'm not ready, and neither were the artists since most of the stuff that came out today, didn't really live up to it's hype or my expectations...lets get on with it.
Jill Scott, "The Real Thing, Words And Sounds Vol. 3" - A slip from grace...
Jill, Jill, Jill. I remember when she first came out. The Neo-Soul movement was at the forefront. Erykah Badu led the pack and with it came Jill Scott and The Roots (who had always been there were a household name...) I liked Jill not only because she told a real story and didn't perpetuate any scenario we had seen before, but she was herself - that was refreshing to see. 4.5 albums later, I'm seriously questioning her authenticity as an artist. That is a harsh comment to make - but one would as the question, "What happened?"
Certain artists, you expect to get a certain sound, quality, a certain product. Jill has been consistent in her formula - and it is such a horrible catch-22 because fans want the same formula but a different sound, and artists want to go a different direction while still pleasing fans. Jill went totally left and threw me for a loop. She had me in the middle of the Sahara in the summer with an empty canteen!!! I am rather disappointed in this CD. It's like girl, I'm sorry it didn't work out between you and your man, but you would think that would make some of the best music...not this time. I don't even know what to say about this. Nothing grabbed me, nothing told me to listen to it again, nothing said, "DAMN I KNOW THATS RIGHT!" it was just like she went into the booth, talked and nothing made sense and said here's the CD.
Now, what a contradictory hypocrite I am, not to discredit her talent...this just didn't do it for me. This CD to me was "D" quality. I guess every artist has to have a whack CD
Tracks: Insomnia, Whenever You're Around.
Queen Latifah "Trav'lin' Light." - I know how to hold your attention.
Queen Latifah is back with her second jazz standard set - and if you need a mellow escape with some red wine and a soothing bath, then Trav'lin' Light is the CD for you! If you attempt to listen to it in the car on a road trip, you're going to fall asleep and careen off the road, because it is just that mellow...so it should be used for resting purposes only. Great CD to go to sleep too! NO SHADE WHAT SO EVER! The thing I like about Queen Latifah is that she knows what works for her - and she maximizes it to her advantage. Although she doesn't get the "hype" that everyone else gets but something is to be said for a rapper that's able to flip and go mellow! Queen Latifah is one of the classic examples of versatility, she can be butch, fem, rap, sing, act, give you glam and turn right around and give you man in a mug shot! BEYONCE can't do that!!! I give this CD a B and THE TRENT JACKSON STAMP
Tracks: Georgia Rose, I know where I've been, I'm not in love, How Long (Betcha got a chick on the side)
Chaka Khan "Funk This" - The (mainstream) Return of the Legend
What I love about legends is their ability to continually record music while staying true to the things that made them who they are 30 years later. Imagine for a second if Whitney Houston came back with a CD of ballads/hits just as she did with her first three solo CD's, well that's what this CD is for Chaka. She sounds great! The music is a very remnant of her Rufus days - she truly returns to the funk/soul/R&B vibe that is made current to fit today's sound/market. Chaka went completely in on this CD making it known that she was still around, still relevant and able to make great, real music. This CD tells me, it's not about sales, they would be nice, but artistic integrity was the key ingredient here and that was great to experience! Her voice is on point, her music is on point, the production is the best and so is her cover of Princes' "Sign 'O' Times! This CD is definitely A quality and of course THE TRENT JACKSON STAMP!
Tracks: One for all time, Back In The Day, Angel, Disrespectful, Hail To The Wrong
Keyshia Cole "Just Like You" - A timeless hood classic
I really hate comparing artists to one another - but you can't help notice the similarities between Keyshia Cole and Mary J. Blige. But I must say, what it took Mary to do in 10 years, Keyshia did it in a year even it is studio magic...which I doubt, because the last live performance I saw her in, she was on point. What ever voice teacher she had, whatever or whoever was the driving force behind her new sound is classic. This album has crossover success written all over it. Remember Monica's "The Boy Is Mine" CD? It had a very raw, street sound to it, backed by classic music and those ballads that shocked everyone, because we knew Monica could sing, but had no clue Monica was that hood - but that's the vibe that Keyshia gives on her new CD, except she's a bit polished an poised than the first time she graced us with her presence. She has amazing ballads and mid-tempo songs that make any naysayer turn their head and say, "That's Keyshia Cole?" YES! It's her! I liked Keyshia's first CD, but the second CD tops the first one lyrically, vocally and musically. I have no doubt that she'll beat 'Sophomore Jinx' and take a spot in the top 10 next week. I give the CD a B and of course THE TRENT JACKSON STAMP!
Tracks: Fallin' Out, Shoulda Let You Go, Work It Out, Heaven Sent
Jagged Edge "Baby Makin' Project" - Talent...missing
One of my favorite groups of all time is Jagged Edge. They even have a special playlist on my I-pod. I'll keep this one brief. So I have four things to say,
1. Why is this CD out?
2. Remember them for what they were.
3. Will they ever make it back to their gold place in R&B history?
4. Even if they did, would anyone besides me care?
Tracks: Get This, Way To Say I Love You.
Will.I.Am "Songs About Girls" - Individuality Conformed
I admire Will's individuality 1st. But the thing that has always bothered me are artists who turn producers who turn solo artists. Something just doesn't work with that mixture. I mean we enjoyed the Black Eyed Peas, songs for a minute...but all the material on this CD sounded like songs that didn't make their reunion CD that won't happen because Fergie is somewhere being Fergalicious. I don't think I can really get into him, because these are songs about girls - and clearly the only thing that mean and girls can do is talk about men...
Not only that, this CD is lacking something. Real instruments maybe? Everything is so digital, synthesized and it's kinda annoying, but I did manage to get a few spins out of the CD...they wont be visited after today...
Tracks: Over, Heartbreaker, Fantastic
Rahsaan Patterson "Wines & Spirits" - Clearly Under The Influence
There are a few artists that I will purchase on name alone, Rahsaan Patterson is one of them. I first fell in love with him in 1997 when he had the blond fro'...I've followed his great, rich, musical career from the start and I must say that I was so amped for this CD - but it left me confused. I am like do I have to be under the influence of wines and spirits to thoroughly enjoy it?
I mean, I can expect to put in a Rahsaan CD and immediately bump - upon first listen I felt as if I was stuck in the opening credits to Sanford and Son then beamed to Bootsy Collins house for a acid party that turned into a trip gone from bad to worse. Then after two shots of Patron I understood what was going on... I don't want to be drunk to enjoy music, yes it sounds better, but maybe I have to be in that realm or element to really see whats going on. Rahsaan has always been one of those artists that had no definition because he was so vast there was no need to try to define that. He's one of the very few artists that exemplifies if not transcend the very word itself.
It's hard for me to say if I like or dislike the CD. It is clear there are some elements of Rahsaan that I recognize, while others I am just meeting them for the first time and it's hard to form an opinion about someone you just met...but I am enjoying his cover of Sade's 'Stronger Than Pride.' One day I would love to hear Rahsaan cover, Chaka Khan's 'Stay.'
So I'm sitting on the fence on this one...but there are some great tracks to enjoy.
Tracks: Feels Good, Higher Love, Stop Breakin' My Heart, No Danger, Stronger Than Pride