Toni Braxton's sixth album is short and sweet. With just ten songs she gets right to the point, setting a sexy, soul filled mood for you to dance or vibe to. While Toni still tries unnecessarily to appeal to a younger audience with hip-hop and dance-pop-inspired numbers ("Please"), her style doing these types of numbers cannot be ignored. She is still a fantastic singer; she is still funky and jazzy cool.
Grand Agent & Oh No
Under The Circumstances
Grand Agent is one of the best lyricists in the world today. Some would argue that Keith "G-Chyl" Fox, Elzhi, Marshall "Eminem" Mathers and Phonte are better, but that has yet to be proven. What is known is that Agent's latest release is an instant classic. Teaming with Oh No was a stellar move. But to make matters better, Oh No backs away from the microphone to focus strictly on production, making the this dream-duos pairing even more special. Oh No translates his excellent microphone aggression into outstanding beats, with Grand Agent writing some of most lethal verses to date. "Behind The Wall," "Reluctant Rapper," and "Must've Thought It's Still" are great.
For every average to below average song David Banner records, he hits from the blind side with something off-the-wall and amazing. On his third album, "Certified," one is given crap and creativeness. You may want to skip "2 Fingers," but don't you dare pass up " On Everything" featuring Twista. The two veteran rappers team up for a slick skill romp over the opening theme music from Coming To America. And David shows he is still a great storyteller on "Thinking of You."
Through the years CeCe Winans straddles the line between singing Gospel and Pop/R&B. That didn't change on this, her seventh solo release. The messages in her music are always inspirational ("Let Everything That Has Breath"), but her vocal arrangements seem to rival that of Whitney Houston and Mary J. Blige. Songs of praise and worship often sound more like slow jams for R&B radio love shows. Still, she sounds good doing what she does, and her song writing remains of the best quality.
Mail press and album review material to - Joe Walker, PO Box 1375, East Lansing, MI, 48826-1375, (517) 914-6976.