Alicia Keys’ built her fan following with stellar live performances. Her albums have just been icing on the cake. On this, her third album, Alicia teams with MTV to do what she does best – perform live. Her voice never weakens as she belts out gem after gem. Some of the songs are favorites and some new. Without the hip-hop samples and studio extras you really get a feel for how great of a musician Alicia is. The piano moans soulful harmony under her loving touch. She teams with Mos Def and Common on “Love It or Leave It Alone, a surprise remake of the Brand Nubian hit “Love Me or Love Me Alone.”
In The Mid-Nite Hour
When will Warren G look at a clock knowing his time is up? When will Warren let his brother, Dr. Dre, produce an album for him? Until that time comes, Warren will continue to make albums like this – average production, simple and predictable subject matter and lame lyrics. While Warren shows some life at times – on the microphone and behind the boards – how weak he is overall is alarming. Guest star and newcomer Frank Lee White steals the show on “All I Ask of You” and “In Case Some **** Go Down.”
Some Kinda …
One may consider Dwele to be a throwback, a singer representing a time when songs where about singing and moving minds, bodies and souls. He doesn’t need a certain sound from a current hot producer, his production is made to fit and compliment his voice. Dwele feels new every time one hears a different number.
On this, his second album, Dwele continues where he left off. His smooth voice rides like a Bentley on brand new pavement; his words provoke some type of movement like dance class. Listen to “I Think I Love U” and “Flap Jacks.”
Trina may have a glamour-filled lifestyle, but her rap verses equal garbage picking. Trina has almost no lyrical skill. She aims high to be sexy and sassy, but one may find her content as tacky as her make-up. On this, her third album, Trina is backed by a host of superstar producers and guest appearances, but the tarnish still remains visible. “Reach Out” featuring Trey Songz is worth a listen.