Nothing on Africa to America tops the shining moments -- "Optimistic" and "Testify" -- on Sounds of Blackness' debut, Evolution of Gospel. However, all things considered, Africa to America is probably the better album. And if it's not the better album, it's surely the more consistent of the two. Where Jimmy Jam's and Terry Lewis' efforts were somewhat limited on Evolution of Gospel, with the exception of the album's highlights, the producers devoted themselves to this 1994 follow-up, producing not just a few great songs but rather numerous great songs: "I Believe," "I'm Going All the Way," "Black Butterfly," "Everything Is Going to Be Alright," and "The Harder They Are, the Bigger They Fall," in particular. And while these songs don't depart too far from the potent new jack swing-meets-gospel sound of "Optimistic," that's a good thing -- Jam and Lewis were on top of their game at the time and brought no shortage of their trademark dense percussive rhythms to Africa to America. So, even if the production sounds a little calculated and perhaps even outdated for its time, it made for some amazing songs. It wasn't until subsequent albums that it became evident just how integral Jam and Lewis were to Sounds of Blackness' success. Along with Evolution of Gospel, Africa to America remains the group's pinnacle. With Jam and Lewis, Sounds of Blackness sounded fresh and relevant; without the duo, they sounded like any other gospel group.
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AllMusic Review by Jason Birchmeier