Verbals by Steve Limmer
N.O.R.E. – Nothin’ (Def Jam)
Quite simply, the hottest hip-hop joint on the streets. Neptunes and Noreaga combine their considerable talents and create something unique yet accessible. Neptunes stray from their traditional sound to develop an intense Arabian-piped, heavy snared affair which suits Nore’s thugged-out rhyme style perfectly with it’s moody atmosphere. Nasty!!
RATING: 9 / 10

Mary Mary – He Said (Epic)
Cast your mind back to summer 2000, and out of a vintage year, ‘Shackles’ was one of the stand-outs. Good news for fans of quality gospel (& r’n’b for that matter) then as the Mary Mary sisters have returned. Hallelujah!! However, their quality vocals are outshone on this superb uptempo track by Darkchild who’s production is one of his best to date. Essential
RATING: 8.5 / 10

4th Avenue Jones – Move on (Interscope)
This is one of the funkiest R’n’B joints I’ve come across in a long time, which, personally speaking, is a godsend. Lyrical content is also close to my heart with a theme of relationship ultimatums, but it’s the guitar that really gets me. Similar in feel to De La Soul’s ‘All Good?’, any fan of Urban music will appreciate this.
RATING: 8 / 10

Onyx – Hold up (Koch)
Many moons ago, Onyx were the hardest of hardcore rappers, “Bacdafucup” was an album to rage against your teen years, and Fredro Starr was an actor on Moesha (the one who looked like 2pac). After a long time away, and a failed solo album by the afore-mentioned Fredro, Onyx are back with a vengeance. Heavier than Big Pun’s coffin, this bass-driven monster will force your lunch up. Peep this pronto.
RATING: 7.5 / 10

Naughty By Nature ft. 3LW – Feels Good (TVT)
‘Feels Good’ should be their trademark – it seems to exemplify N.B.N’s musical ethos!! This has been around for a minute and has been picked up by Universal, but it is still essential listening for those summer parties. Basically follows their tradition of happy party joints and will leave a huge smile on your face with every listen. Highly recommended.
RATING: 7 / 10

Raphael Saadiq – Faithful (Universal)
Raph is one of the most accomplished singers in the business, as anyone with an ear for quality soul will testify. He’s had to go down the solo route after the break-up of Lucy Pearl, but it is definitely the right path for him to tread. ‘Faithful’ is a very funky peon to the virtues of monogamy, and has a timeless feel to it’s production. Top quality.
RATING: 7 / 10

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