"Kelis Was Here"
When Kelis hit the scene in 1999 with "Caught Out There" most thought she was drunk with anger. In 2003 she made everyone overindulge on her "Milkshake." Back with this, her third album release, Kelis' leadoff single "Bossy" is yet another serving of her attitude on the rocks. No longer working with Pharrell Williams, Kelis' Neptunez-free songs showcase even more of her stylish, ever-changing style. "Living Proof" is a feel-good groove that reminds of SOS Band, she rocks out on "I Don't Think So," and keeps it 'hood on the remake of roller skating jam "Weekend."
No music critic in the world could have predicted the musical progression of rappers Big Boi and Andre 3000: Outkast. When they debuted with the Christmas song "Player's Ball" back in 1993, they gave everyone a clue of what was to come. Nobody got it though. When their debut album Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik hit in '94, impressions were formed of the Atlanta-based duo, yet none knew how quickly and often Outkast would make ones changes those impressions. Big Boi and Dre continued to evolve, never giving ones the same impression twice.
On this, the duos 6th album, ones get the most left-of-center, musically complete, non-double disk Oukast album to date. Touching on styles that range anywhere from street gospel ("Call The Law") to blues ("Idlewild Blue") to jazz band ("The Train") to funk band ("Morris Brown") their incorporation of hip-hop through all is genius. "Peaches" reminds of early Prince, electric and smooth with danceable drums and harmony. The words fit each beat perfectly, whether it's Andre singing, Big Boi game-spitting or both rapping together like Outkast of old. Like cancer, Outkast albums must grow on you. Ones might not feel it right away. But once infected there is no getting it out your system.
The debut album by Paris Hilton is a shining example of how far the music industry has fallen. Like J-Lo, Paris' fortune and fame no doubt influenced her desire to vocalize - she's not a good singer, but she can afford to be a singer. Working with such producers as Pharrell Williams, Paris has the best production money can buy. When it comes to her voice, those who value their hearing may not afford to listen. The funky "Jealousy" and hip-hop flavored "Fightin Over Me" would be great if someone else was singing them. Cyndi Lauper sound-a-like "Heartbeat" is really cool 80's flavor gone wrong, and please don't let Rod Stewart hear Paris singing "Do Ya Think I'm Sexy" - it'd be for his own good.
Letoya Luckett's exit from group Destiny's Child was fate; her singing career had a destiny of its own. On this, her solo debut, Letoya relies unnecessarily on her Houston, Texas hip-hop roots, singing over southern-flavored club-banger production and teaming with Paul Wall ("All Eyes On Me"), Slim Thug ("Hey Fella") and Mike Jones ("Gangsta Grillz"). When away from hip-hop heat she warms up, singing with purpose and passion on "Obvious," "This Song" and the Just Blaze-produced "U Got What I Need."