Lauryn Hill - Doo-Wop (That Thing) (The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill/1998)
Musiq Soulchild - SoBeautiful (On My Radio/2009)
The song SoBeautiful satisfies the creative palette with its soulful ambiance. Musiq Soulchild’s song from the 2009 album On My Radio is basically pretty. Like eating a chocolate truffle, listening to this song pleases the ear, and everything from the vocals to the instrumentation beams. It’s easy to fall in love with this ballad because this tune in and of itself is beautiful.
Mary J. Blige - Family Affair (No More Drama/2001)
It’s evident that Mary J. Blige feels fine with the release of Family Affair, a chart-topping single from her 2001 album No More Drama. Produced by Dr. Dre, this song is a snapshot of the lighter, up-tempo tracks found on later releases. The song is in stark contrast to some of the heavier melodramatic tunes that she’d released prior to this. In Family Affair, the accelerated track doesn’t shy away from hard-hitting bass, luring listeners to the dance floor. It’s a bright song for any given day.
Rick Ross joins girl group Danity Kane, creating a rap/pop hybrid on Ecstasy (Welcome to the Dollhouse/2008). Pushing a lush and harmonious sound at times, distinct vocal variety throughout sets the song ablaze. Danity Kane was successful in its crossover appeal, warming listeners with their musical material over the course of their brief career. The group breaks up shortly after this album release, but the lyrical edginess of Ross combined with the group’s smooth pop makes Ecstasy a palpable song.
Sucka For Love (Welcome to the Dollhouse/2008) is one reason to be broken up over the breakup of Danity Kane. A jam like this is what will make the pop quintet memorable. Known for churning out jovial, dance-propulsive tracks, the group was also building a reputation for championing heavier love tunes while preserving their sexy-girl statuses. MTVs “Making the Band” provided a realistic twist since the group was molded in front of viewers’ eyes. Their music that lives on is reminiscent of a sound that is no more.
Keyshia Cole is cool on her debut single I Changed My Mind featuring Kanye West and Game (The Way It Is/2005). Cole decides to quickly move on from a deadlocked relationship without regret. No time for heartbreak here. Her vocals astonish, providing listeners with a glimpse of what has turned out to be a lengthy career. She has earned scores of fans from her music and by sharing her personal life through reality TV. Cole not only introduces but displays herself as a veteran early on.
R&B sensation Usher started early in his musical career calling the shots, wanting it his way as he says on the hit single My Way (My Way/1997). And who can argue with him, especially since gaining international stardom. Through the years the young talent has built a solid fan base, appreciating his music as much as his stage presence and ripped physique. Even his personal strains made public provide people with an insatiable appetite for the artist. Strikingly - after all of these years - he’s still holding his own.
Raheem Devaughn - Until (The Love Experience/2005)
The forward-thinking Keyshia Cole opted for a buoyant sound in Make Me Over (A Different Me/2008), a remake of R&B powerhouse Tina Turner’s 1973 classic. While listening to hear what could have been a treat, the opening song to this otherwise spectacular album is a letdown. Though she’s singing, Cole is devoid of her own signature stamp and the remake is weak in comparison. Dock her for the song since skipping it is recommended, but her props are deserved as pressing play thereafter ensures an entertaining set.
Chris Brown - Deuces (Fan of a Fan/2010)