Trey Songz

I Gotta Make It

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    7
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While growing up, the only active R&B artist Trey Songz paid any mind to was R. Kelly. The inspirations were few, but this didn't prevent him from being inspired enough to impress Troy Taylor, a producer and multi-instrumentalist who has worked with Boyz II Men, SWV, B2K, and Whitney Houston. Songz was taken under Taylor's wing for a few years, leading up to this debut album, released when the singer was just 20 years old. While Songz is hopefully shaking off his obvious indebtedness to Kelly here (a couple clumsy sexual metaphors, some strikingly similar vocal cadences, a few jarring swings from pimping to praying), I Gotta Make It is both very enjoyable and full of promise, carrying a fine balance between throwback and modern hip-hop soul. You can always sense that Songz is excited to be making an album; he doesn't even bother to affect a distant sense of cool, unlike so many of his youthful contemporaries, which is a definite asset. He has all the personality and talent necessary to have a long, productive career, which is firmly established with this album. Others obviously believe in his future; he worked with Gerald Levert and Trick Daddy prior to making the album, and Aretha Franklin starts it off with some wisdom.

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