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Stone Love

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Album Review

With the success of her previous hit single, "Wish I Didn't Miss You," Angie Stone went from being trapped in a pack of neo-soul divas going straight to the bargain bin to being one of the first singers off the tip of the tongue when the word "neo-soul" was uttered. After nearly a two-year absence, Stone Love pleasantly picks up where Mahogany Soul left off, presenting a wiser, more even-keel Stone putting her best foot forward right from the album's onset. The useless guest appearance of the tired Snoop Dogg and his "izzle" façade does very little to improve the quality of the lead single, "I Wanna Thank Ya" — if anything, it detracts from the song's overall atmosphere with constant interruptions that do nothing but serve as reminders that the Dogg is not having one of his better days (check out the version at the end without Snoop's rap for a contrast). That said, guest appearances by Floetry and Betty Wright help Stone Love pick up steam, and an exceptional performance by Anthony Hamilton on "Stay for a While" invokes muses present during the recording of D'Angelo's Voodoo and Stevie Wonder's Innervisions. The production crew is the most solid it's ever been on any of her records and the choice of sampling is premium (check the knockout sample of Dynasty's "Adventures in the Land of Music" used in "Lovers' Ghetto") but kept at a minimum, a tribute to the inventiveness of Stone and company behind the mixing console. And while there's no barnburning anthem of the type that fueled Mahogany Soul's longevity and despite some totally unnecessary interludes, this is her most focused and accomplished full-length to date. A delightful album for a summer day, and (save for the Snoop cameo) an enjoyable listen from start to finish.

Biography

Born: 30 January 1961 in Columbia, SC

Genre: R&B/Soul

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

A singer, MC, self-taught keyboardist, and prolific songwriter, Angie Stone's first claim to fame was her membership in the Sequence, an all-female trio that recorded for pioneering hip-hop label Sugar Hill beginning with the 1979 single "Funk You Up." Several years later, she re-emerged as the lead vocalist for Vertical Hold, where she scored with the smooth urban dance track "Seems You're Much Too Busy," a Top 40 R&B hit during the summer of 1993 that led to very productive solo career. With the...
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Stone Love, Angie Stone
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