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Nick Cannon

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Album Review

Halfway into his self-titled debut, this young star of TV (The Nick Cannon Show) and film (Drumline) seems on pace to deliver not just a respectable solo debut, but an exceptional one. However, as the latter half of the album plays out, it becomes increasingly apparent that the priority in track sequencing was loading the front with the heaviest hitters — and as the big-name songwriters and collaborators vanish, so do the hot songs. The album certainly couldn't have started any better: "Get Crunk Shorty," featuring the Ying Yang Twins and Fatman Scoop, is a supremely punchy opener produced by Just Blaze. Like Blaze's work on Freeway's "Flipside," the arrangement is wholly adaptable to a marching band, making for a sly reference to Drumline. (This works a whole lot better than you'd think.) The strutting "Gigolo," written and produced by R. Kelly, is still the biggest track here, with Kelly delivering yet another instantly memorable chorus to support Cannon's verses. Trackmasters, Guru, and P. Diddy (who brings Mary J. Blige along) also help make the first half of the album addictive. But from there, the album unsurprisingly takes a significant dip, showing that Cannon — for the time being, at least — needs all-star support. As an MC, he has all the charisma necessary to be a venerable pop-rapper, but it's going to be a while before he can be in complete control.


Born: 17 October 1980 in San Diego, CA

Genre: Hip-Hop/Rap

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Once Nick Cannon firmly established himself on television and then in Hollywood, he expanded his reach into music, signing to Jive Records. The young multi-talent made his smash debut in late 2001 with a remake of DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince's 1988 hit, "Parents Just Don't Understand," which appeared on the Jimmy Neutron, Boy Genius soundtrack and also featured Lil' Romeo and 3LW. Cannon returned in early 2003 with his self-titled debut album for Jive and its leadoff single, "Your Pops Don't...
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