Reviews

Jun
18
Review Roundup: J. Cole – ‘Born Sinner’

Born Sinner

Kanye West may be earning rave reviews for Yeezus, but don’t count out J. Cole. Jay-Z’s protégé is back for another round with his sophomore album Born Sinner. Cole enlists TLC, Kendrick Lamar, 50 Cent, and Jhené Aiko on the follow-up to his 2011 debut, while handling the bulk of production himself.

Did he win over the critics with his beats and rhymes? The reviews are in.

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Mar
26
Review Roundup: Lil Wayne – ‘I Am Not a Human Being II’

I Am Not a Human Being II

Lil Wayne’s focus may have shifted away from music since he picked up a skateboard, but he still keeps pumping out albums. The Young Money chief, who once proclaimed himself the “best rapper alive,” delivers his 10th album I Am Not a Human Being II to stores today.

Weezy surrounds himself with everyone from Drake and 2 Chainz to Nicki Minaj and Trina on the follow-up to 2010’s I Am Not a Human Being, which features the singles “No Worries” and “Love Me.”

Was he able to deliver a winning sequel? The critics weigh in.

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Mar
14
Review Roundup: Justin Timberlake – ‘The 20/20 Experience’

The 20/20 Experience

It’s been over six years since Justin Timberlake released his last album FutureSex/LoveSounds. Since then, the 32-year-old singer has remained focused on his acting career and personal life, marrying Jessica Biel last year.

Now he returns to his first love, music, with his third album, The 20/20 Experience, which can be streamed on iTunes. The Grammy winner reunites with Timbaland, who produced all 10 tracks, while his “Legends of the Summer” tourmate Jay-Z appears on the lead single “Suit & Tie.”

Was it worth the wait? Find out what the critics had to say about J.T.’s comeback.

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Nov
27
Review Roundup: Alicia Keys – ‘Girl on Fire’

Girl on Fire

It’s been three years since Alicia Keys released her last album. Since then, the 31-year-old singer has become a wife and mother, showcasing her newfound freedom and sound on her fifth album Girl on Fire, which she calls her best work yet. The Grammy winner reaches outside her usual collaborators, calling on Frank Ocean, Bruno Mars, Jamie xx, Emeli Sandé, Maxwell, and Nicki Minaj, who appears on the lead single.

Did Alicia spark a fire with critics? Find out below.

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Nov
20
Review Roundup: Rihanna – ‘Unapologetic’

Unapologetic

Rihanna has come a long way since “Pon de Replay.” Seven years after making her debut, Barbados’ hottest export is all grown up on her seventh album, Unapologetic. The reigning pop princess serves up a mix of dance tracks, dark ballads, and club bangers, calling on collaborators Chris Brown, Eminem, and Future, and hitmakers including The-Dream, David Guetta, Stargate, Pop Wansel, and No I.D. How did the critics rate RiRi’s latest? Find out below.

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Oct
24
Review Roundup: Kendrick Lamar – ‘good kid, m.A.A.d city’

good kid, m.A.A.d city

With the West Coast on his back and co-signs from everyone from Dr. Dre to Lady Gaga, Kendrick Lamar drops his highly-anticipated debut good kid, m.A.A.d city. Hailed by Dre and Snoop Dogg as the “new king of the West Coast,” the 25-year-old MC paints a vivid portrait of growing up in Compton on the 12 tracks, which feature appearances from Dre, Drake, and Jay Rock, plus production by Pharrell, Hit-Boy, Tha Bizness, Just Blaze, and T-Minus. Did Kendrick live up to the great expectations? Find out below.

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Oct
17
Review Roundup: Brandy – ‘Two Eleven’

Two Eleven

Eighteen years after the release of her multi-platinum debut, Brandy basks in the glory on her sixth album Two Eleven. Boasting big-name collaborators including Chris Brown, Frank Ocean, Rico Love, Sean Garrett, and Bangladesh, the set aims to please the toughest of R&B critics with cuts like “Wildest Dreams,” “Hardly Breathing,” and “Scared of Beautiful.”

“No gimmicks, real R&B music,” said the now 33-year-old singer of the project, which pays homage to her late idol Whitney Houston with its title.

Did Brandy deliver? Find out below.

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