Sex Down

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Like many rappers and singers before him, Link realizes that songs about sex sell -- and, like Luther Campbell and R. Kelly, he knows that explicitness is bankable in the '90s. Taking his cue from those two trailblazers, Link pushes carnality to the forefront on his debut disc, Sex Down. There's no denying that Link has skills; positioning himself somewhere between hip-hop and smooth urban soul, he cleverly sells his tales of flesh by cloaking them with radio-ready hooks. Sex Down is pure ear candy -- beneath those slick surfaces, there's not much there (apart from some dirty talk). Link only occasionally reaches the songwriting heights of his first single "Whatcha Gone Do" or "My Body," the hit he co-wrote for LSG; when he has mediocre material, he makes it go down easy by creating alluring productions and slamming beats. So, Sex Down is frustrating -- on one hand it shows considerable promise, on the other it shows that he relies on clich├ęs and sex talk to cover up for his occasional lack of direction. There's certainly enough good stuff to make it worth a listen, but only a handful of cuts truly deliver on Link's promise.

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