Sunday, 13 February 2011
REVIEW: GINUWINE: ELGIN
On his seventh piece of heaven, Mr. Lumpkin gets real, genuine and personal.
Elgin Baylor Lumpkin, AKA Ginuwine is one of R&B and musics most underrated talents. He had been the six-pack model of consistency ever since he and Timbaland changed the game in 1996 with 'Ginuwine...The Bachelor'. Now 15 years later the man is still dancing and making fresh music. After '100% Ginuwine', the Timbaland and sales production tailed off a little bit, but ever since 'The Senior', Ginuwine's sound has matured for the grown and sexy R&B crowd. With 'Back II The Basics' and 'A Man's Thoughts', G sound has matured even more, as all his releases have stayed consistent over his 15 year-plus career.
Still, the artist remains under-appreciated by the masses. He was the man that brought the dance to R&B after Michael Jackson and way before Chris Brown, Ne-Yo or even Usher. Ginuwine also produced signature sounds with Timbaland and their 'Superfriend' clique of Missy Elliott and the late, legendary talents of Aaliyah and Static Major (Rest in peace). G has also formed a formidable group with incredible talents Tyrese and Tank, calling themselves TGT (http://ampsand808s.blogspot.com/2011/01/tgt-giant-three.html) but label pains are yet to birth a release. Still, despite all this Ginuwine keeps going with his own record label, sound, style and resilience. With his latest release 'Elgin', things get personal for Ginuwine, who has honored his late mothers wish with the album title. Just in time for Valentines Day, the G-Man delivers the perfect present for lovers worldwide.
The set opens up with 'Elgin's' promotional single and the two singles that the singer let his fans choose between on Twitter. 'Heaven' is trademark rhythm and blues, sent by G's TGT partner Tank. With an artillery of song-writing and production, Tank furthers his recent hot streak, with a perfect track for his friend. G takes Tank's production and writing and scores big with a further scrawl of his signature sound. 'Break' is another Ginuwine classic, as he breaks through and settles into his new album like a pair of new shoes. G steps in the name of love with a song that shows he's really with the one he loves this February 14Th. With loving lyrics like, "I’ll do what it takes/To put the pieces back in place/If you break/Never feel ashamed/Never feel it’s weak if you should reach for me/When you’re chained by the pain/I’ll be there to set you free", Ginuwine laments his loyalty to a lover feeling lost.
The promotional single, 'What Could Have Been' is another gem, with great production from Saint Nick, who has assisted many Jagged Edge hits. On a cornerstone of modern-day soul, G cuts deep and recalls and looks to what might have happened in an otherwise failed relationship. Refereeing to what could have been his 'first lady', G gets presidential on a track that shows just how good R&B sounds if you make a change from the usual, watered-down mainstream sound. Then hit-maker, Bryan-Michael Cox brings round the perfect production for 'Drink of Choice', where Ginuwine chooses to get creative, pouring out streams of soul on a concept song with every sip.
Ginuwine goes with the concepts further on 'Kidnapped', a song set to steal the clubs with it's fast-stepped beat and G's catching hook. Ginuwine recharges the sound of his album with 'Batteries' featuring the tantalising Trina and the songs remix. The singer proves his versatility and mainstream appeal is ever-ready as producer Timbaland returns his protegees favour, manning the boards. Then Ginuwine gets deep into the analysis of broken relationships with the ballads, 'Why We're Fighting' and 'How Does Your Heart Forget'. The two songs are traditional R&B and trademark G. Two songs proving that this unforgettable talent can roll with the punches and competition with every beat.
It doesn't stop there as Ginuwine's hard-worked and honed style bodies more tracks. The Bachelor gets laid back and smooth on 'Body' and then gives 100% on 'First Time', where he offers a real, special dedication to the one he loves. Thing's get as epic as G's old record-label as he collaborates with Michael Cox again for the best track of the album, 'Frozen'. The coldest song on the album is deep and introspective but also has the perfect soothing sound to relax and chill out to. With a chilling chorus and icy lyrics like "The Winter aint ever felt quite this cold/how many tears there before you could move on/I'll bring the sun/Baby I'll keep you so warm", this man's passion and devotion leads to another hot track for the legends classic catalogue.
Even when this album gets to the bonus round it still tracks success. Ginuwine gets 'Busy' on a upbeat but slow number that works to ensure this CD doesn't tali off, then the 'Batteries (Remix)' and the alternative 'First Time', act like Duracell for the last part of over an hours worth of great material on this decedent disc. Overall Ginuwine's latest is among his greatest. Continuing the mature but mainstream, maintaining status of his last three projects, the seniors seventh seal further cements his high regard in the music industry. On 'Elgin' Mr. Baylor Lumpkin shows us the truth of his talent, delivering one of the realest soul albums you'll hear all year. TIM DAVID HARVEY.