Those who have found something to enjoy in each one of Angie Stone's albums might be confused by the singer's liner notes for Rich Girl, the singer's first album for Saguaro Road. She alludes to having done too much collaborative work in the recent past, declaring "I shaved a lot of my originality off when merging with so many other people." Her outside projects haven't been all that numerous, and she is joined here by around two dozen fellow songwriters and roughly half as many co-producers. On one hand, who's to argue with an artist who says her new work is more herself than the material from her recent past? On the other, this album doesn't offer as many high points as her two previous Stax albums, and it's as scattered quality-wise as it is stylistically diverse. Stone's beaming, easygoing nature and typically excellent vocals save the majority of the substandard material. Some fans will be dismayed by the shortage of throwbacks to classic soul, but "U Lit My Fire" is a knockout, one that begins with a sly Taana Gardner fake-out before settling into one of her most seductive numbers. If Stone really wanted to get back to basics, she could have made a whole album with the terminally undervalued Mike City. His smacking but smoothened grooves are a great fit, heard on the synthesizer-laced disco funk of "Backup Plan" and the stout hip-hop bounce of "Right in Front of Me" (the latter something like Donell Jones' "Spend the Night" on weight gainer).
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AllMusic Review by Andy Kellman
feat: Malcolm Jamal Warner