Throughout the seven years following Montell Jordan's gigantic breakthrough with "This Is How We Do It" in 1995, the sultry vocalist never had a problem garnering commercial success. Every one of his first four albums had at least one hit song. However, despite the commercial success, Jordan did have somewhat of a problem garnering respect, never being able to escape the towering shadow of "This Is How We Do It." No matter how successful successive singles such as "Let's Ride" or "Get It On...Tonite" were, they never equaled the success of his debut single. Plus, it didn't help that most of Jordan's first four albums were weighed down by too much commercial schlock -- the sort of by-the-numbers urban ballads streamlined for optimal radio play -- not to mention all the filler. For his fifth album, a self-titled effort, Jordan finally made an album for himself rather than for his fans, an issue he addresses in the liner notes: "This is the 1st MONTELL JORDAN album. I have made party albums, street albums, jeep albums, strip-club anthems, bedroom albums, and a bunch of other things that I thought YOU wanted to hear. This time, there was no one to look at but ME...sure, there is some 'ear candy' on this album, but a TRUE listener will come away from this album able to say that they finally know who Montell Jordan is, where he is at, and will hopefully appreciate and understand what I bring to the game." And, yes, this is a more introspective and sincere album than Jordan's past few efforts, justifying its eponymous title and worthy of the respect the vocalist hasn't been able to earn throughout his career. There aren't any big-name collaborations, and Jordan thankfully doesn't delve into pop-rap like he did on past albums in an effort to score crossover success. In a way, this was his least-commercial effort at the time of its release. Jordan works almost exclusively with producers Steven Estiverne and Focus..., and gets very deep toward the conclusion of the album, not ashamed to express his spirituality. Yet as personal and uncompromising as this album is, it's still very accessible, particularly the radio-ready moments like "You're the Right One," "You Must Have Been," and "Mine Mine Mine."
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AllMusic Review by Jason Birchmeier