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...Louder Than Words

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Album Review

In large type, the cover of ...Louder Than Words announces that it's "the first adult contemporary hip-hop album." Indeed, throughout this album, R.S. raps over smooth quiet storm-style R&B grooves, exactly the sort of thing one hears on late-night adult contemporary radio. It's an interesting concept, although it must be mentioned that the conceptual distance between this album and, say, Kanye West's "Slow Jamz," with its hooks lifted from just this kind of mellow old-school soul, is small enough that it's arguable that this isn't really the "first" it claims to be. The grooves are really appealing throughout the album; it's hard not to enjoy the diva-sung hooks of a slow jam like the single "Heaven" (here in two mixes) or the sweet "Love Again." And, for that matter, R.S. is a talented rapper who doesn't truck with clichés and has a remarkably speedy and self-assured flow that at times recalls Andre Benjamin without the outsize flamboyance. However, while the grooves are cool and the raps are solid, R.S. is indeed often too speedy for these mellow, laid-back tunes, and he could learn from old Luther Vandross and Freddie Jackson records to slow his pace. The ladies like a man who takes his time.

...Louder Than Words, R.S.
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