Whether you remember him for his cool demeanor and corn row braids or his perfectly chiseled body he displayed in the video for hit song, "How does it feel?", one thing is clear: you cannot mention neo-soul without mentioning D'Angelo.
It has been three years since Ledisi released her last project, Pieces of Me, but the sultry songstress has been touring worldwide and appearing on television screens ever since. Her latest project, The Truth, serves as a natural continuum to her previous works demonstrating the behaviors of a strong, confident woman in love.
The sequel to the 2009 release, We Are Young Money, Rise of An Empire fashions itself as something new and epic, but hinges on formulaic material that only reaches to live up to its hype. Incorporating the new signee, Euro, into the mix does assist in making the audio journey an earnest effort – if only for a time.
Rick Ross remains one of the most fascinating rappers to listen to. A combination of grandiose loftiness with an inclination toward the finer things in life, intertwined with the grit of where he came from, Ross' lyrics always manage to stampede their way into the speakers. On Mastermind, Ross is perhaps his most rumbly and brazen if that's even possible. The flair of many of his previous albums is absent, the gloss is gone from the Ross so to speak; but that does not detract nor take away from the gems found within this collection.
Songstress and industry veteran, Ashanti is back with her first album since 2008's The Declaration. After the extended delay, the new album, Braveheart is almost surprisingly solid. Almost because it's easy to forget that Ashanti has a catalog full of hit songs and a history of putting out some pretty good music. While Declaration wasn't her best work and the single, "Good Good" left a slightly bad taste for fans and supporters, her return here is precise and well thought out. With a new team and a new label, Written Entertainment, in place, this fresh start is just what she needed to remind listeners of the quality of music she is capable of putting together.
Love, Marriage & Divorce is a seductive collection of 11 cuts that do not disappoint. Fans of both Babyface and Toni Braxton will be happy to find that the magic that united the duo on their R&B hit, “Give U My Heart,” from the movie, Boomerang in 1992, has only grown and become a sonic whirlwind force.
G I R L by Pharrell is an enjoyable album. The second of his solo projects, there is an engaging assortment of songs within it that reinforce his creative ingenuity. There is a feeling however on the album that Pharrell sought to withdraw from the mainstream light - creating a lively experience that is not only centered on fun and games, but in his decision to do so, ended up serving up cuts that are relentlessly and definitively radio friendly.
Beyoncé shocked the world when she released her visual album on December 13th. A collection of 14 tracks centered on themes of feminine empowerment, its flow is hypnotic, sultry and pulsates sounds that are enthusiastically warm and inviting.