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mos-def "mos-def" (Uk)

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Ms. Kelly
Ms. Kelly
Offered by ReNew Entertainment
Price: £3.99

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great return (finally) for Ms. Kelly, 27 Jun. 2007
This review is from: Ms. Kelly (Audio CD)
I was a massive fan of Kelly's first album "Simply Deep" which had a real acoustic R&B feel to it. I got this album yesterday and she has not disappointed me despite switching up her sound and giving more of a contemporary R&B/Hip Hop feel this time around.

Polow Da Don & Sean Garrett collaborate on the first single "Like This" which is an addictive joint and Scott Storch's productions "Comeback" and "Work" are also energetic and catchy openers. Soulshock & Karlin's "Still In Love With My Ex" and Rockwilder/Loren Dawson's "Every Thought Is Of You" again finds the Hip Hop-influenced producers moving away from the traditional soppy ballad and providing a heavier, more captivating beat. Sadly, Billy Mann's outro "This Is Love" and Mysto & Pizzi's "Love" are rather bland ballads in contrast and considering her fantastic writing on "Simply Deep"'s title track and "Obsession", Solange Knowles disappoints with her writing on "Love".

The CKB (Charlie & Kenny Bereal - Mya's "My Love Is Like...Wo") and Tank (yes, the singer of the massive single "Please Don't Go") tracks are the highlights of the album. CKB's "Better Without You" is an uplifting, gently riding ballad and they really switch it up with the tracks "Flashback" and "Gotsta Go" which are awesome upbeat numbers of which Kelly intended with the album. Tank's "Ghetto" is a nice mid-tempo track with a rap from Snoop Dogg which has a real old school sound and finds Kelly using more breathy as opposed to powerhouse vocals. His second production, which also finds the singer/producer duetting with Kelly, is a gorgeous dramatic retro ballad "The Show" and makes you wonder how much better the album might have been if Tank produced the whole lot!

All in all this is a great return for Ms. Kelly and the writing and/or vocal production by J. "Lonny" Bereal on every track really gives it a tight feel and a nice flow which a lot of albums lack. My only qualms would be the tracks "Love" & "This Is Love", which are much too formulaic as ballads but these don't damage what is mostly a consistent and thoroughly enjoyable album.


Touch the Sky
Touch the Sky

0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Sampling gone crazy, 22 Jan. 2007
This review is from: Touch the Sky (Audio CD)
How many producers does it take to rip off completely a fantastic Curtis Mayfield joint? Well, surprisingly the answer in "Touch The Sky"'s case is 2 usually innovative and original ones - Just Blaze & Kanye West.

This is a really awful track, West normally has the ability to utilise his samples to great effect, Shirley Bassey's "Diamonds Are Forever" on previous single "...Sierra Leone" being the perfect example where he uses (but not overuses) the music and female vocals, also adding his own fast-paced anthemic production and raps.

Sadly this is a different story, Lupe Fiasco and Kanye's raps can still do no wrong but the production doesn't lend them anything. I am a massive Rap music fan, sampling is a beautiful thing but to this extent and with such lackluster performance from big names like Kanye & Just Blaze, it can only be called a big failing. Interpretate don't plagiarize Mr. West.


Tamia
Tamia
Offered by Japan-Select
Price: £40.49

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic voice and one of the best Quiet Storm albums ever, 5 Jun. 2005
This review is from: Tamia (Audio CD)
This album was released in 1998 to a fairly unreceptive audience. The single "Imagination" (Produced by Jermaine Dupri) got some airplay on Urban Radio but soon disappeared along with any hope that this album would achieve the sales and recognition it deserved, along with Tamia being noticed as the credible artist she is. I write this review as in the current state of so-called R&B and Soul music it is extrememly difficult for us real listeners to find anything decent and this album is a must-have gem.
This - the debut-self-titled album from the fantastic artist that is Tamia is one of the best I heard in the 90s and there was a lot of fantastic R&B and Soul out at that time. (Aaliyah, R. Kelly, D'Angelo, Maxwell need I say more?) It combines upbeat stomping numbers like the JD and Manuel Seal-produced "Imagination" and "Is That You?" with mid-tempo, classy R&B ballads like the Mario Winans-produced "Rain On Me" and Darryl Simmon's gorgeous vocal-driven "Loving You Still". The songs are perfectly crafted by the producers working on them to fit in with Tamia's soft but extremely powerful voice and you fall in love with it instantly.
Indeed this album being on Qwest Records (Quincy Jones' record label) along with Tamia's fantastic breakthrough "You Put a Move On My Heart" (included as bonus here) attracted some of the biggest and best names in R&B. There is input from Tim and Bob on "So Into You" (criminally sampled by the talentless rapper Fabolous), Keith Crouch, C. "Tricky" Stewart and as previously mentioned Mario Winans, Jermaine Dupri and Manuel Seal and Babyface's long time collaborator Daryl Simmons.
This album does have something for all followers of R&B -ballads, mid-tempo jams and upbeat numbers but both the perfectly crafted music and Tamia's faultless voice make it pure ecstacy to listen to anyway. The best songs would be "Imagination", "Show Me Love" and "Loving You Still" but for once this is an ALBUM you can listen to all the way through, not just a few singles and all filler. It is complete enjoyment to listen to and I can't stress enough that you need to buy it and hear this gorgeous voice and music for yourself.
OTHER NOTABLE FROM TAMIA:
SLOW JAMS [WITH BABYFACE]
DON'T BE LATE... [WITH LL COOL J]
MY FIRST LOVE [WITH AVANT]
SPEND MY LIFE WITH YOU [WITH ERIC BENET]
MISSING YOU [WITH BRANDY, CHAKA KHAN, GLADYS KNIGHT]
THE ALBUM "A NU DAY"


Take A Bow [CD 1]
Take A Bow [CD 1]
Offered by Bully-Boy-Music
Price: £7.76

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great collaboration of Madonna and Babyface, 30 April 2005
This review is from: Take A Bow [CD 1] (Audio CD)
Not only is this song from my solely liked Madonna record "Bedtime Stories" but it also is produced and has chorus vocals by the legendary Quiet Storm R&B producer Babyface. You could go so wrong with these two different artists collaborating but it is a testament to both of their flexibilities musically that this song is a great success.
It isn't a typical ballad and although there are better Slow R&B jams on the album (i.e. "Love Tried To Welcome Me") it is one of my favourites. I would only buy this single as a collectible as you could try the album for about the same price now anyway, either way get it.


Human Nature
Human Nature
Offered by Mattpuss
Price: £11.98

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Rap style R&B dip for Madonna..., 30 April 2005
This review is from: Human Nature (Audio CD)
I have never liked any of Madonna's music and probably never will. However, I will always defend her Bedtime Stories (a.k.a. R&B album) to the death. This single is a particularly good example of her short step into Rap-R&B/Soul-sampling from this album. Composed by R&B producer Dave Hall and Madonna it has a fantastic sample of The Main Source's "What You Need" and a very Hip Hop attitude about it, the lyrics are simple but the vocals make up for this with good backing and layering.
Any R&B fans out there I would urge you to look past Madonna's moniker and get this single (hey get the album too) with production on her album from the likes of Trip Hop producer Nellee Hooper, R&B producers Dave Hall and Dallas Austin and Quiet Storm producer (and legend) Babyface, you can't really go wrong. Madonna even samples from Aaliyah's classic "Back and Forth" and Herbie Hancock's "Watermelon Man"
P.S. I am also very fond of the cover of this single where Madonna sports some corn rows...how cool can you get?


Butterfly
Butterfly
Offered by A ENTERTAINMENT
Price: £4.09

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Breakthrough for Mariah Carey and an R&B classic., 27 April 2005
This review is from: Butterfly (Audio CD)
This is undoubtedly Mariah's most artistic and professional album to date and having listened to it religiously for the past few years, I can reccommend it without hesitation. For once, Mariah throws herself full force into the genre of R&B she so constantly hinted at with tracks like Fantasy and Dreamlover from previous records.
One of the highlights is surprisingly the first single "Honey" with Mariah singing whole-heartedly on what is a chilled out R&B-Rap joint and the best part being those piano breaks heard after each few seconds. This song is also a collaboration with Sean "Puffy" Coombs (i.e. Puff Daddy or P. Diddy) and Q-Tip (from a Tribe Called Quest) so it couldn't really have gone wrong, especially with Mariah composing her own material as per usual. Another highlight artistically is the fantastic "The Roof", which you have to hear to appreciate its beauty. It combines light strings and breathy vocals (with help from Kelly Price) with an ingenious sample of Mobb Deep's heavy bass line from "Shook Ones". I refute anyone who does not believe this is a fantastic R&B classic. Other great tracks include "Butterfly", "Babydoll" and the dreamy "Close My Eyes".
The album's highlights could not all be emphasised enough in one review in fact, for once they outweigh the "bad parts" of the album - of which there are very few. What I will say is whether you loved or hated Mariah Carey's music before this album you will appreciate it for the masterwork it is and Mariah for writing almost every lyric on the album single-handedly. No record collection is complete without it...


Behind The Front
Behind The Front
Offered by marxwax
Price: £7.27

17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Now THIS is the Peas., 31 July 2004
This review is from: Behind The Front (Audio CD)
The only place people have heard of the Black Eyed Peas at the moment is with Fergie in the group and the dropping of all they portray on this album, which is rap music and hip hop culture. Not dwelling on that issue too much, this is arguably the best of their first two albums (i.e. pre-Elephunk)
It runs low on guest appearances, which works both to the album's adavantage (you get a real feel of the Peas work) and to a slight disadvantage (collaborations with emcees like Mos Def and De La Soul give variety to the music) However, it is undoubtedly something special and held in high esteem in my collection. This album has some fantastic beats thanks to Will.i.am, and the Peas raps are flawless in both content and sound.
You need to hear this album if you are truly into rap music. Sellout chart acts like DMX and 50 Cent are not the only artists in the genre and this album is a fantastic oppurtunity to hear what rap music is really about, instead of the warped image these gangster rappers give to people in their songs. If you buy this album (which you need to) and like what you hear (which you have to) you should definitely try something like Jurassic Five's "J5" or A Tribe Called Quest's "Midnight Marauders". If you get into this type of rap music (it's essential you do if you claim to like rap music) I can guarantee you will never go back.
You will see how pathetic emcees like 50 Cent and DMX really are and realise that they are not REAL, their music and lyrics are WACK. And these artists are representing rap music and even black culture? It's wrong, buy albums by rappers like Mos Def, Talib Kweli and Aceyalone and you will see the light.


Mario
Mario
Offered by Media Vortex
Price: £3.94

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not what you would expect, 12 July 2004
This review is from: Mario (Audio CD)
Mario is largely unlike most other male singers, which is hard to do. I'll admit I bought this album because of the addictive single "C'Mon" but once you hear it, you'll see this is far from one of the highlights. Firstly, production works really well as he doesn't use the expected (ie. The Neptunes) instead giving him some chilled tracks are Alicia Keys, Warryn "Baby Dubb" Campbell and The Underdogs.
I must reiterate that Mario is unlike any other male artist out there and this is a soulful and funky LP, especially for a debut and at such a young age and you are missing out greatly without it. I would reccomend this album more if you like D'Angelo or R. Kelly rather than Marques Houston or J-Kwon as it is more accurate to make comparisons to these artists. (if we have to)
Either way, I think this album is quite universally accessible whether you are into neosoul more (Jill Scott, Bilal) or just mainstream "R&B"/"Rap" (Chingy, B2K) it is a beatifully crafted album and I'm looking forward to his new material. Once he gets into writing and producing (he co-wrote two songs on this album already) and doing more of his own thang, I think he's going to get even more interesting.


Light The
Light The
Offered by adrians_records
Price: £2.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Soulful sounding rap makes a change, 4 July 2004
This review is from: Light The (Audio CD)
If you've been lucky enough to listen to the whole of Internal Affairs, you'll know that Pharoahe Monch is more of a hardcore rapper. (e.g. Rape, Simon Says, No Mercy, the list goes on) However, he works so much better when he's rapping to the more laid-back beats, as with this single, which definitely deserves its five stars.
From the beautiful instrumental at the start of the song to the beat arriving soon after, (which must have been extremely difficult to fit in) this is undoubtedly one of Diamond D's best produced tracks and one of Pharoahe's best tracks too. (he sounds fantastic on the chorus) If you haven't heard this song yet, you need to. You can't get the album unless you've got an LP Player, so get this single or buy one! Everyone needs to know Pharoahe Monch.
PS. Looking forward to the new album, y'all need to buy that too! Keep your eyes open


I Don't Wanna Know
I Don't Wanna Know
Offered by music_by_mail_uk
Price: £2.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Does not stand up to the hype., 12 Jun. 2004
This review is from: I Don't Wanna Know (Audio CD)
When I heard the Enya sample from the Fugees "Ready Or Not" at the start of this song I expected it to be something special. Don't get me wrong, I wasn't expecting it to be the same song (it's not a rap song) but you've got to live up to certain expectations if you're going to use the same music as THE Fugees.
Anyway, this song is very dismal in comparison or not, Mario doesn't try to elevate or work with his vocals once. This is a pattern which also runs through his album but the production there saves him (he's produced for the likes of Busta Rhymes, Mary J. Blige & The Notorious B.I.G.). P. Diddy is also a setback for this track, again he is a fantastic producer but when it comes to rapping, well I think it would have benefited more from an MC like Q-Tip or Common, the average singer + average rapper equation doesn't work for it.
All in all the fact that this song is being rinsed on every music channel and radio station and being bumped in every vehicle in the country doesn't help it much, it just gets more and more annoying as you slowly analyse each of its weak points.
On a good note, the album "Hurt No More" has more than ten songs that I can listen to over and over (The Game, This Is The Thanks I Get). Mario Winans is a fantastic, fantastic producer and this covers for his average vocals, just a shame he couldn't make something of that fantastic sample and bring some attitude to this song. Buy the album, not the single; believe me, it's worth that extra eight pounds.


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