The operatic talent of Truth Hurts and an army of production talent under the careful...
Emmy Perry 2002-11-20
Truth Hurts' successful chart debut with the Indian influenced single "Addictive", introduced the world to a unique sound that was swiftly emulated by other R&B and hip hop artists keen to jump on the new musical bandwagon.
The succeeding album Truthfully Speaking (executive producer Dr Dre) had the daunting task of trying to live up to the resulting hype but St Louis native Shari Watson has risen to the challenge and delivered sixty minutes of street smooth, adult soul designed with the hip hop generation in mind.
Relationship highs and lows as described on slow groove tracks "This Feeling" and "Next To Me" are familiar themes throughout and compliment songs such as "Grown" in which lyrics like "I wanna be who I am to be" or in "Queen of the Ghetto" where she sings "Speak your mind to the fullest degree, the truth will set you free..." lets the fans know that Truth Hurts is one tough woman not to be messed with.
Production ranges from sounds reminiscent of mid 1990s gangsta rap courtesy of Dre through to the laid back Philly vibe strongly associated with artists like Jill Scott.
"Benefit of The Doubt" which also features on The Wash soundtrack is one of several highlights alongside "Addictive" and the rare groove inspired "I'm Not Really Lookin'" both produced by DJ Quik. Great producers are frequent throughout this album and multi talented R Kelly lends further heavy weight input by resurrecting a slightly remixed version of his chart topping single fiesta on "The Truth" and Missy collaborator Timbaland, lays down his trademark flava on "Real". There is even a gem from east coast producer Hi Tek, best known for his work with rapper Talib Kweli.
Overall Truthfully Speaking is a quality debut performance with solid production and Truth's considerable talents as a songwriter making up for the fact that few tracks match up to the originality of the first single. There is however no questioning the calibre and tone of her operatic voice, which appears to convey the harsh sound of the streets whilst keeping the church firmly in mind.
The list of contenders for the much coveted title bestowed on Mary J as 'Queen of hip hop soul' just got one name longer.
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