Aftermath / Interscope
It’s admittedly a bit difficult to properly judge the talent and potential of this latest crop of R&B mavens — especially since they seem to be en vogue these days. So many of their careers are manufactured and mostly feel like watered-down versions of Badu, Jill Scott, and India.Arie. They seem more like products marched out before us to consume (check out the naked spread of this songstress on the inside cover) more than artists for us to enjoy. And who knows when any given product will disappear from our shelves?
So, when I first heard Truth Hurts’ “Addictive,” that banging rhythm & bhangra jam with the woman’s Grace Jones-sounding vocals and the legendary Rakim once again “thinking of a master plan,” I damn near flipped my wig. That someone in the R&B world would have the moxie to come up with a straight-up Indian song floored me. I hoped against hope that we had another truly unique artist on our hands.
But, after hearing Truthfully Speaking, I realize that I was woefully wrong. Sista Truth is a Dre product. The brilliant “Addictive” was not hers but DJ Quick’s. And, even though Ms. Watson is a songwriter with legitimate creds (having penned stuff for Eric Benet, Shanice, Ray J, L.V., and Monifah), Dre has assembled all the usual suspects — himself, Quick, R. Kelly, Organized Noize, Timbaland, Hi-Tek, and on and on and on and on — to produce your run of the mill R&B album. So, you get a fairly typical disc (even with your obligatory prison love song, “Jimmy” — what is this, Monsters Ball? We’re not all in prison) — some moments enjoyable, some not — with one absolutely phenomenal song and a pretty frail vocalist. Suddenly, the cobwebs of memory clear to remember another old Dre siren with a bit more talent, Michell=E8, and you can’t quite recall what happened to her — but you may be able to figure out what’ll become of Truth Hurts.