Family Affair

A well-crafted piece of R&B, by one of the genre's leading lights.

Here's the latest album from one of the brightest stars in the field of hip-hop. And it's a good example of why she's considered so.

True to the genre, most of the songs are pacy and rhythmic. The difference between this album and some of the recent offerings by other hip-hop "stars" is the ability of the songs to catch the listener's attention and pleasure. Blige sounds like she actually enjoys singing and isn't just affecting a style, rather in the mould of greats like Whitney Houston. The album, though, could have done with a little more in the way of some variation - softer numbers, perhaps.

One such number is "PMS" and it's decidedly one of the best pieces of the album - raw, and giving Blige room to let her voice really show its worth. Then, there's "Beautiful Day", which is peppy and has a good tempo. "Love" is another number worth its place in this album, as is the semi-bitter "Family Affair", which has an interesting theme running through it. The others are decent, though not really distinguishable from any of the myriad hip-hop albums which flood the market. But for the most part, Blige manages to carry off the show with her talent.

The album is a decent effort and a good break from the rap/hip-hop you usually get to hear. Worth a hear, but not a classic.

This article was first published on 20 Nov 2001.