I have a very strange love affair with Christte Michele. When she dropped her debut “I Am” I didn’t mess with her…at all. And all of the Sarah Vaughn and Billie Holiday comparisons didn’t help either cause if I wanna listen to Sarah or Billie, I’ll listen to Sarah or Billie, not Chrisette. I hated her on that wack Nas jawn “Can’t Forget About You” and she wasn’t able to do any justice to Jay Z’s sinking ship “Lost Ones.” So trust me, I was shocked that I LOVED her sophomore album “Epiphany.” (I wasn’t checking for Chrisette so bad, I’m shocked I even listened to it) And I mean LOVED it, like no other CD could crack my rotations for months and it’s because of…Chrisette Michele!?!?!?! No other artist has ever taken me from not feeling them at all to being a fan overnight. Chrisette literally went from being someone you couldn’t pay me to go see in concert to me being hype that I would see her opening up for Maxwell when his tour stopped through DC. So when I found out Chrisette’s got a new album about to drop, I really can’t explain how I felt. In some ways I’m hype but in other ways I’m nervous. Am I gonna get the “I Am” Christte or the “Epiphany” Chrisette?
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Well, I’m relieved to say that with “Let Freedom Reign” Chrisette Michele checks in with another solid effort. The thing is, Chrisette’s voice is a gift and a curse. It’s so beautiful and unique you can’t deny her gift but at the same time it’s hard to create music that compliments it AND still appeal to the masses. But Chuck Harmony (who produces the entire album and helped create some of the magic on Epiphany) does a wonderful job of finding the perfect musical fit for her voice. Her first single “I’m A Star” follows the same format that she left off with “Epiphany” and as Nina said in Love Jones “that’s a great thing.” “I Don’t Know Why, But I Do” has Christte pouring out her heart about her man that her friends don’t approve of but that she sees the good in. “Let Freedom Reign” featuring Talib Kweli and Black Thought is uplifting enough that you’ll feel like you’ve got to go out and vote for something. “Goodbye Game” follows the recent trend of “let’s all sound like Prince” and even with that said, I can’t front, I still rock with it! “So In Love” with Rick Ross is a banger and you couldn’t front on the bass playing on “I’m Your Life” if you tried. “If Nobody Sang Along” has Christte wondering if there were no MTV, record labels, and music videos would she still be singing and “I Know Nothing” is a flat out beautiful ballad telling the world that when we know nothing, we all have a heavenly father in God who will show us the way and both songs showcase Chrisette at her best.
I’ve read some reviews of “Let Freedom Ring” and seen some posts in music forums online and cats are bashing the album saying Chrisette is selling herself short by doing crossover pop music, blah, blah, blah. Truth be told, if us “music purists” would get off our high horse for 5 minutes and REALLY look at the spectrum of present day music, we would understand that the music most of ya’ll (cause I’m happy with what Chrisette is doing) want Chrisette to make, if she did, she probably wouldn’t have a record deal! She’d be struggling oversees like a lot of GREAT ballplayers are because they don’t fit the NBA mold, the same way Chrisette doesn’t fit the typical record industry mold. Is that what ya’ll want? For me, I’m good with what Chrisette is doing. Ya’ll might not think she’s reaching her full potential musically but at least she’s not naked in her videos buying out the bar being a boss b-tch. I dig what she’s doing, so Chrisette can get my $9.99 ($10.59 with tax)…I’ll support you ma.
4 outta 5