Defsoul – 2001 - 43 minutes
Popular music fans owe everything to black America, and not just to titanic personalities like John Coltrane, Stevie Wonder, KRS-One or Billie Halliday. Acts like the Rolling Stones, Van Morrison, Daft Punk and Massive Attack all dipped into the cauldron of creativity brewed by black artists from across the ocean.
You can't help but feel that this august legacy has been betrayed when you hear an album, produced by a black American artist, that is so profoundly worthless you want to hurl it across the room. It's a similar feeling to meeting a badly dressed Italian, or a Brazilian who can't play football.
There was a time when r'n'b was the runt of the black musical litter, a drab, commercial confluence of funk, soul and hip-hop with barely a noteworthy artist. The action was elsewhere, in the cybernetic throb of Chicago nightclubs, or in strident beats booming from jeeps in the South Bronx.
Today, in the post-Lauryn Hill era, r'n'b boasts charisma in the form of Destiny's Child, stunning originality in the work of Kelis or Timbaland and razor-sharp personalities like Missy Elliott. There's even a Drumcondra lass making a reasonable fist of it, for God's sake.
Unfortunately poor Sisqo is stuck back in the days of Jodeci and R Kelly, a self-regarding era when no song could be too cloying or insincere. His production team don't help much, doing little to carry his weak compositions and colourless delivery. The only ones earning their Benjamins are Sisqo's PR team, who describe their young charge as "the artist others strive to be" and a "one-man entertainment colossus". He may be compared to Puff Daddy, but by any objective standard, 'Return of the Dragon' is all puff and no magic. Avoid.
Tracklisting: Intro – Not Afraid – Infatuated – Can I Live – Without You – Homewrecker – Last Night – Close Your Eyes Interlude 0 Close Your Eyes – Dance For Me – Off the Corner – Dream