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Wicked Wisdom

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Album Review

The entertainment world has had its share of actors who sang on the side (Cybill Shepherd) and singers who acted on the side (Frank Sinatra), and there is nothing wrong with moonlighting in another area of entertainment as long as the person is actually good at it. Shepherd is a decent (although not breathtaking) jazz and traditional pop singer, and Sinatra's riveting portrayal of a heroin-addicted musician in 1955's film noir classic The Man with the Golden Arm made it clear that even though singing was his primary focus, he also had serious acting ability. On the other hand, some excellent actors proved to be weak, flat, unimpressive singers (Eddie Murphy, for example), but if Wicked Wisdom's self-titled debut album is any indication, singing is definitely something that Jada Pinkett Smith, aka Jada Koren, should continue to do. Although Smith (Wicked Wisdom's founder/lead vocalist) is best known for her acting, she shows herself to be an expressive, commanding singer. Some folks might expect a woman who married Will Smith, aka the Fresh Prince, to focus on R&B or hip-hop but, in fact, the material on this 33-minute CD is forceful alternative metal with a funk-soul edge. Smith favors an R&B-influenced vocal style, which sounds perfectly natural alongside her band's jagged, heavy, chugging guitar riffs; intense yet melodic tracks such as "Cruel Intentions," "Forgiven," "Don't Hate Me," and "You Can't Handle" give listeners some idea what Sevendust (another R&B-influenced alt-metal band) might sound like with a female lead vocalist. Sevendust are a major influence on this 2006 release, as are bands ranging from Slipknot to Living Colour, 24-7 Spyz, and Fishbone (whose Phillip "Fish" Fisher is the album's drummer). But Wicked Wisdom have an attractive personality of their own, and the band shows considerable promise on this memorable, if brief, debut.

Biography

Formed: 2003 in Los Angeles, CA

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '00s

Fronted by accomplished actor Jada Pinkett Smith — who goes by the name Jada Koren, a performance alter ego that uses her real-life middle name — Wicked Wisdom is a very aggressive heavy metal band that also features members Fish (of Fishbone fame), Cameron "Worm" Graves, Pocket Honore, and Rio. After numerous low-key club appearances and a stint opening for Britney Spears during 2004, the band won the respect of Sharon Osbourne, who...
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