Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Genres: Pop, Rap & Hip-Hop, R&B
"It doesn't have a specific theme - each [song] was so different from the next, me being the common denominator. And I realized my different characters were coming through on these [songs]. My acting, singing and rapping i... more »
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"It doesn't have a specific theme - each [song] was so different from the next, me being the common denominator. And I realized my different characters were coming through on these [songs]. My acting, singing and rapping identities all came together under one roof as well as my taste in different kinds of music. I'd say it's half rap and half singing. If I had to categorize it, it would be more like hip hop urban alternative". - QUEEN LATIFAH (LA TIMES)
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Queen Latifah Rocks
J. Salzenstein | Boston, MA | 08/26/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Queen Latifah rocks.
She also raps, riffs, and sings like nobody's business.
The idea behind Latifah's new album Persona - to show off her myriad musical abilities - would come off as contrived and gimmicky for nearly any other performer. For the Queen, however, it simply makes sense. Given her incredible talent and gift for seamlessly switching from one genre to another, this seems to be the most natural way to experience her heart and soul. There's no doubt she could put together a more traditional "focused" album - one need only listen to The Dana Owens Album for proof of that - but something about the variance and diversity of Persona makes it feel more real; more like the woman behind it.
Persona opens with The Light, an inspiring song-and-rap track that includes a shout-out to New Jersey- and the big names who got their start there. (Who knew that John Travolta and Shaquille O'Neal came from the Garden State?) The song has a great summer feel, with uplifting beats and a good message that permeates the album, but it's not the strongest track, largely due to the limited lyrics.
Fast Cars more than makes up or it, setting the tone for the rest of the album by raising the level of upbeat self-confidence without crossing over into cockiness; Queen Latifah is a class act on top of her talent. The only downside to this song is the (over)use of some vocal digitalization, which Latifah clearly doesn't need. Fortunately the Auto-Tune ends here, and can even be overlooked on this track thanks in part to a sassy, humor-filled rap injection from by Missy Elliott.
Cue the Rain - the album's first single - is H-O-T. A deep jam with hooks reminiscent of Rihanna and old-school Brandy, this track could easily become the official end-of-summer song; the combination of Latifah's honey-tinged voice and cool club beat guarantee that it will definitely feature in many a gay bar over the next few months.
The club vibe continues with My Couch, a track that combines Latifah's mad vocal skills with her approachable rap style. Dre (from Cool & Dre) makes an appearance in this track, which could have easily gone the way of a handful of recent, horrid "guest vocalist" singles, where singers and rappers vie for the top spot- resulting in a headache inducing verbal battle. Being that this is Queen Latifah, however, her brilliant use of self-restraint (and requiring that of her colleagues) results in a softer, complimentary soul-filled conversation rather than a shouting match turned duel.
Syntho-beats, funky grooves, and a feeling of fun weave their way through the entire album- as do high-profile appearances. Aside from the aforementioned Elliott and Dre, Marsha Ambrosius, Serani, Busta Rhymes, and Shawn Stockman, stop by to add their own twists- and pay homage to the Queen. The two most powerful collaborations, however, are People - which features Jadakiss and (the other queen of R&B) miss Mary J. Blige - and If You Want To, a Pharrell produced track.
Fans looking for the Queen's signature R&B grooves will be more than satisfied with Long Ass Week, a rant-rap session addressing a common frustration in classic Latifah style- strong but not angry; pissy, but focused on the positive. Similarly, If You Want To (produced by Pharrell Williams, featuring Serani, and alternatively referred to as "If You Wanna" and "If You Want") blends her smooth vocals with a reggae feel that helped it to instantly declare itself the official "chill track" for summer nights.
One of the final songs, Champion should be required listening for young gay kids everywhere, injecting a positive message of self-love (not that kind) and confidence into a catchy lick and strong hook. It's also a perfect segue to the track that closes the album (mine at least); Be Yourself promotes a beautiful message of being proud of who you are and reaching for the stars- because with a strong vision and a lot of hard work, anyone can achieve their dreams.
Queen Latifah would know.
Note: as with most albums released today, there are various versions of Persona available; the number of tracks, their order, and bonus tracks will differ - sometimes greatly - among them. This review was based on the "Bonus Track Version" available through iTunes, which also offers a regular album version, similar to the standard album available in stores and at Amazon.com Persona"
Wow!!!! She really came hard on this album!
W. Shaw | 08/27/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I have always loved Queen Latifah even during the jazz era. Its refreshing to see her back in the rap/R&B game and she really came hard on this cd. You wont be dissapointed with this album!"
I get you QL
Serena Flanagan | Houston, TX | 11/05/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"So many want to be quick to say they want the old Latifah, instead of realizing how much she has grown. This is a woman who can pull off a dramatic role and turn right around and be silly in an off the wall comedy. I can respect that about her. She wants to be relevant to all audiences. The title of the album explains it all. Personally I didn't want to hear the QL of so long ago and was pleasantly surprised by this album. It is definitely underrated. While I have had the album for a few weeks I have only now pulled it out to give it a listen and it is in repeat play mode now. So sad that the world has slept on this."