Jaheim

Still Ghetto

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    8
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Jaheim's considerable vocal talents only increased during the recording of his second album, and a stronger set of songs made Still Ghetto a definite improvement over the debut. As before, it all begins with his voice: a deep, throaty croon that makes him sound at least ten years older than he actually is (basically, about as old as the soul samples dotted throughout the record) and marks him as one of the few R&B artists active who can summon the spirit of a Teddy Pendergrass. Better yet, Jaheim takes the loverman persona to another level, devoting more songs here to relationships than love itself; one of the best is "Put That Woman First," his remake of the Stax nugget William Bell's "I Forgot to Be Your Lover," a great performance that's a natural fit with his persona. The single "Fabulous" is simply beautiful, balancing a back-in-the-day feel with self-esteem issues and riding out with a chorus of children's voices. For "Everywhere I Am," Jaheim recorded a postcard to his mother, who died before he gained fame; it's another testament to his power as an artist that Still Ghetto never descends into maudlin sentiments. Just like his soul forefathers, everything about Jaheim is honest and heartfelt.

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