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Queen Latifah: She's a Queen - A Collection of Greatest Hits

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Album Review

Even though she'd been a household name in the music and film world for nearly 15 years, by 2002 Queen Latifah still didn't have a compilation of her own. Then again, since she'd spent so much time in the world of television and film, Latifah had only released one album since 1993's Black Reign. Finally Motown gave her the career treatment with She's a Queen: A Collection of Hits, a brief collection that has most of her best performances but can't escape its perfunctory air — there are no liner notes, only one fuzzy picture, and an overall lack of design quality. Motown did make a small gesture, though, by licensing three tracks from her first two albums (originally on Tommy Boy), including two of her most powerful performances: "Ladies First" and "Latifah's Had It up 2 Here." The compilation skips over the delightful De la Soul feature "Mama Gave Birth to the Soul Children," but does provide the best of her strong material from the early '90s like "U.N.I.T.Y." and "Just Another Day...," plus "Paper," her intriguing 1998 redo of "I Heard It Through the Grapevine," produced by Pras. The new tracks, however, won't join the Queen Latifah pantheon like the rest already have; "Go Head" finds her aping Missy Elliott in both sound and delivery, and there isn't much to recommend the others, either. With just a little more effort, Motown could've made this Queen Latifah collection a brilliant summation of her career; just as it had for almost 40 years, the label seemed more interested in reaching the charts than giving proper due to the artists who've already had success.

Biography

Born: 18 March 1970 in Newark, NJ

Genre: Hip-Hop/Rap

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

Queen Latifah was certainly not the first female rapper, but she was the first one to become a bona fide star. She had more charisma than her predecessors, and her strong, intelligent, no-nonsense persona made her arguably the first MC who could properly be described as feminist. Her third album, Black Reign, was the first album by a female MC ever to go gold, a commercial breakthrough that paved the way for a talented crew of women rappers to make their own way onto the charts as the '90s progressed....
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Queen Latifah: She's a Queen - A Collection of Greatest Hits, Queen Latifah
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