Adriana Evans


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Adriana Evans' eponymous 1997 debut was among the best of the "neo-soul" offerings that briefly dominated black singing music of the late '90s and early 2000s. It then took her seven years before releasing Nomadic. By mid-decade, rap and soul's most aggressive and creative artists were churning out music that couldn't really be categorized; it was a hybrid of sorts. On "Walk into the Sun," in what sounds like a radio interview backed by a jazzy and also new jack swingy beat, Evans is asked what music she grew up on and she starts rolling off a laundry list of genres -- rock, soul, Afro-Cuban salsa, Brazilian samba. You find all of it on this album, along with discernible doses of hip-hop boom-bap from producer Dred Scott. Sometimes it works well, like "Remember the Love" and its hip-hop-infused samba. Other times Evans' voice seems too angelic for both the aggression of the production and the tone of her lyrics ("What It Is"). She finally seems to find her groove on the last third of the album to wrap up an effort not as engaging as her debut, but still of merit.

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