Halfway into his self-titled debut, this young star of TV (The Nick Cannon Show) and film (Drumline) seems on pace to deliver not just a respectable solo debut, but an exceptional one. However, as the latter half of the album plays out, it becomes increasingly apparent that the priority in track sequencing was loading the front with the heaviest hitters -- and as the big-name songwriters and collaborators vanish, so do the hot songs. The album certainly couldn't have started any better: "Get Crunk Shorty," featuring the Ying Yang Twins and Fatman Scoop, is a supremely punchy opener produced by Just Blaze. Like Blaze's work on Freeway's "Flipside," the arrangement is wholly adaptable to a marching band, making for a sly reference to Drumline. (This works a whole lot better than you'd think.) The strutting "Gigolo," written and produced by R. Kelly, is still the biggest track here, with Kelly delivering yet another instantly memorable chorus to support Cannon's verses. Trackmasters, Guru, and P. Diddy (who brings Mary J. Blige along) also help make the first half of the album addictive. But from there, the album unsurprisingly takes a significant dip, showing that Cannon -- for the time being, at least -- needs all-star support. As an MC, he has all the charisma necessary to be a venerable pop-rapper, but it's going to be a while before he can be in complete control.
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AllMusic Review by Andy Kellman
feat: R. Kelly
feat: Mary J. Blige
feat: Biz Markie