Dave Hollister beat out Kelly Price and SWV's Coko to become the most successful urban B-lister to go gospel in 2006. His debut in the genre, The Book of David, Vol. 1: The Transition, shot to the top of Billboard's gospel tally and cemented him as a new force in sanctified urban music, but it did more than that: it proved that you can do gospel and still keep it real. Witness Protection picks up right where Transition left off, but only stylistically: Hollister is no longer interested in bringing to light the demons of his past, but to leave them behind and get his praise on. The levity doesn't mean the album is rife with empty hallelujahs or silly praise workouts. Instead, the crooner lets listeners in on his new lot in life -- Hollister grew up in church, but Witness Protection shows a man worshiping not because he has to, but because he wants to. An émigré of contemporary R&B, Hollister doesn't skimp on slickness because he's found God; on the contrary, Witness Protection offers some of the most true to form R&B confections gospel has seen in 2008. Hollister keeps things unabashedly grown and sexy here: his loverman tendencies haven't gone anywhere, with a mature vibe that recalls former colleagues Ginuwine, Avant, and Jaheim. The big difference, though, is that Hollister is now crooning for the Lord, nailing the vocals with more soul and self-assurance than he ever did during his post-Blackstreet days. As Witness Protection testifies, the brother is doing all right: just two albums in and almost without trying, Hollister has climbed the ranks of urban gospel to become one of its strongest, most effortless proponents.
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AllMusic Review by Andree Farias
feat: Jevon Hill