September 18, 2020

Sophomore album shows its old-school roots

It looks like Jamie Foxx has more than just Oscar on the brain with the release of his new album, “Unpredictable.”

The highly anticipated album, released just over a month ago, is a solid record for a man who is fairly new to the R&B game.

Although the album is a follow-up to his 1994 debut, “Peep This,” college-age listeners are more familiar with Foxx the actor.

Foxx introduces the album with the first single and title track “Unpredictable.”

Like the rest of the tracks, Foxx sizzles with sex appeal as he assures the ladies that he can be unpredictable in the bedroom.

Lyrics like “Baby one plus one ain’t two when you wit me/ ‘C’ ain’t after ‘A’ and ‘B’ when you wit me/ It don’t make sense right now but it will/ Later on when you see how I make you feel,” capture the sexuality that is second nature to the R&B genre.

Ludacris also spices up the record with his quick and witty rhymes, giving this song an extra boost of excitement.

The best thing about the song is the old-school ’70s R&B feel it has, which is apparent in many of Foxx’s songs, but is sadly missing in most R&B today.

Another song that is sure to become a favorite is “DJ Play Another Love Song.”

The sensual, stimulating and seductive mid-tempo track is excellently produced and arranged. Foxx delivers strong vocals to flesh out the strong melody.

In the song, Foxx fantasizes about pursuing and seducing a woman whose man doesn’t appreciate her. With suggestive lyrics like “She’s lookin’ at me kinda hard/ I can tell that things ain’t right on the home front,” Foxx hints at an affair.

Rap artist Twista also turns out this track with a guest appearance, fusing R&B and hip-hop into a tight package that is ready-made for a fast sendoff.

Foxx also has an elaborate lineup of other artists collaborating on the album, including Kanye West, Mary J. Blige, Common, The Game and Snoop Dogg.

The artists make guest spots in all the right places, making the album even more enjoyable.

Although the album features a lot of guest appearances, Foxx demonstrates that he can fly solo on “VIP,” “Can I Take You Home,” produced by Timbaland, and other tracks, some of which Foxx produced on his own.

The majority of Foxx’s lyrics are either sexually charged, like R. Kelly’s, or about relationships, like Babyface’s.

However, Foxx leaves room for emotional and uplifting ballads, like “Wish You Were Here,” a touching eulogy about his grandmother, and “Heaven.”

Both of these songs showcase his vocal skills and range. They present the deeper element to the album, which is missing in some of his other songs.

Foxx clearly has a great voice. My only qualm is that sometimes I get the feeling that he is struggling to find his true voice.

One minute he sounds like Brian McKnight, the next, like a cross between Ray Charles and R. Kelly.

The artists who we crave most are those with an original sound.

Overall, this album is pretty decent. It is refreshing R&B music mixed in with a hip-hop influence here and there.

The production is stylish, hip and makes you want to keep listening.

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