Wendy Williams

Brings the Heat, Vol. 1

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Radio personality Wendy Williams extends her reach into the CD market with Brings the Heat, Vol. 1, a mixtape-style various-artists compilation hosted by herself. She doesn't interject into the 18-track album often, which will disappoint fans, who will likely take as much interest in Williams as they will in the music showcased. If there's not much talk radio here, though, there is plenty of music, most of it performed by major-label talent and most of it exclusive to this compilation. There are a number of previously released tracks, namely Marques Houston's "Naked," Beenie Man's "Good Woe," Dwele's "Money Don't Mean a Thing," and Brooke Valentine's "Playa," all of them high points here. And Williams does get a song for herself, a Mario Winans collaboration (albeit a very brief talk radio-style cameo). Of primary interest, however, are the exclusive inclusions, especially Amerie's "Man Up!" (featuring a substantial contribution from Nas), Jaheim's "Everytime" (featuring a less substantial Jadakiss contribution), and Guerilla Black's "Say What." A good percentage of the exclusive tracks could be tagged as filler, though -- promotional showcases for momentarily out-of-the-spotlight artists like M.O.P. and Black Rob. Belying its title, Brings the Heat offers a good balance of rap and R&B, usually within a given song, and should appeal to the ladies as well as the fellas. Williams could have interjected herself into this mix more often and with more charisma, which would have made for a more unique and interesting listening experience, but her first CD release is a good listen nonetheless, like top-shelf urban radio circa 2005 without all the commercials.

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