Album Review: Brutha - Brutha

Posted by Mack of Sound-Savvy On 1:04 PM


Artist: Brutha
Album: Brutha
Release Date: 12.23.08

When it comes to family musical acts, very few are able to hold it together long enough to establish some tenure in the industry. The Harrell brothers (Grady, Jared, Anthony, Papa, and Jacob) chose to weather their storms in the eyes of viewers on their BET reality show Brothers to Brutha, which chronicles their behind-the-scenes work for their debut album entitled Brutha. It’s a less-than-decent album, a few songs I could keep in rotation, but nothing amazing. The downfall is that the guys failed to capitalize on their unique chemistry and potential to produce something new and exciting. The team of producers on this album seems to have forgotten that Brutha is a group of 5, as many of the tracks focus more on individual vocals instead of the soulful group harmonies displayed on the show.

Despite its shortcomings, this self-titled debut delivers some nice offerings. One of my favorite joints on the album is the opening cut Bang Bang (written by Ne-yo), with its clever catchy hook sample and witty lyrics. Also check for some of the more heartfelt numbers like She’s Gone and Afraid of Love, the latter of which is probably the best on the album. Fabolous makes the only guest appearance with his verse on the lead single Can’t Hear the Music, which is really nothing more than recycled R&B lyrics over a hip-hop beat. Ne-yo also penned the steamy Set It Off, which has more intimate content, as does Like This. To further dispel the good guy persona, the fellas break hearts on Just Being Honest, an interesting twist where the guys give in to lust over love.

The problem with this album is the overall lack of inspiration and soul. Despite their immense talent, there’s nothing here to set these guys apart from any other candy-shop R&B groups of today, and I find that quite disappointing. The soulfulness that fans hear in the show’s performance clips failed to transcend to this album, resulting in the group appearing as a mere carbon-copy of other neo-R&B groups. There are no a capella numbers to culminate the “a capella movement” that they began with a series of widely popular YouTube clips, which include renditions of Love Lockdown (Kanye West), Love U 4 Life (Jodeci), and the Bee Gees classic How Deep Is Your Love. So while the individual vocals on this project are nearly flawless, it’s the unique sound of the entire group that gets lost beneath the work of some of the big-name producers like Ne-yo, Tha Cornaboyz and Bryan Michael Cox. I’d much rather hear the production handled by some lesser known producers who can acknowledge that the sound of the group is more important than the “tooting of their own horns”. I had high hopes for this group, they’re the only R&B group in recent years that could deliver chilling vocals, but I wish them better luck on their next effort.

Sound-Savvy officially rates Brutha with 1.5 out of 5 platinum headphones.

Related Post:
Introducing: BRUTHA!

-Mack-

1 Comment

  1. Sane Said,

    Maaaaaaaaaaaack! Ok, I love you for your reviews, you know that, right? You know that???

    I JUST copped this album as well and with a heavy sigh, man, I have to agree with you on everything you just said.

    Bang Bang is by far my FAVORITE cut on the album and to be honest, after I play that over and over for like 5 times, I can put the album away, just real talk.
    I gotta also say that while the lyrics to She's Gone have always touched my heart, I will always prefer TANK's cover of the song and I was disappointed that the entire production of the song was handed over to these boys for a stab at it when it was already successful under another artist.

    The show on BET is basically what made me curious about these boys. Just watching Anthony and Grady go at it was enough for me to say, alright, lemme give them a shot, but believe me when I say this was the ONLY shot they were gonna get from me.....and they didn't TAKE ME THERE like 112 did...or Jagged Edge has done, or Silk, or even Troop. I'll have to give this album a 4.

    Posted on December 24, 2008 at 8:12 PM

     

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