Archive for Reviews

Album Review: Akala ‘DoubleThink’

From the classical music that hits your ears on the intro, to the sickeningly insightful and observant lyrics and the gentle piano that signs the album off; DoubleThink, the latest offering from UK Hip Hop artist Akala, is not what you’d expect.

This is Akala’s third album and he’s come a long way from where he started on the underground scene back in 2004. He’s always been a highly lyrical rapper, with complex rhymes about widespread issues that would label him as a ‘conscious’ artist. A label that, on some levels, has been both a blessing and a curse for him, as conscious Hip Hop is effectively an oxymoron within mainstream music.

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Album Review: Jaheim ‘Another Round’

2010 marks the return of the singer/songwriter with the unmistakeable deep baritone voice, full of soul and nostalgia. In a class of his own amongst his soul singing peers, it’s Jaheim!

With his impressive first release Ghetto Love back in 2001, he conjured comparisons to greats like Luther Vandross and Teddy Pendergrass. It’s this mature sound in a youthful package that makes Jaheim the old soul voice for the new generation, so his latest effort and fifth album Another Round is a welcome return. After a three year break since Makings of a Man in 2007, it seems Jaheim is continuing in the vein of the refined gentleman we began to see then, and it’s definitely working for him.

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It’s not right, but it’s OK

I’m sure you know by now that here at Phresh Mentality, we blog about the IMPORTANT stuff! Nah, we don’t make much mention of life changing things like the new government, the volcanic ash or the oil spill in Mexico. No. We’re here to talk about the stuff that REALLY matters. And right now, that’s WHITNEY!

Those of you on twitter are probably aware, from my frantic blow by blow account of the evening, that I went to see Whitney Houston in concert at the end of April. I think Twitter is part of the reason I haven’t been blogging because I feel like I’ve put it all out into cyberspace once already. But anyway, you can hear it again!

It was a thrill to see Whitney live but as expected, she wasn’t her best at ALL. That voice of hers has most definitely left the building and got lost somewhere, cause it ain’t coming back! What made matters worse is that she did the whole live thing of changing up the melodies to the songs. That sounds good if your voice is still on point but when you’re singing classics like ‘Greatest Love of All’ and ‘I Will Always Love You’ the audience doesn’t wanna hear an alternative version, they wanna sing along dammit! You’ve already heard in my earlier post how she killed Donny Hathaway all over again with a disgraceful version of ‘A Song For You’. In tribute to MJ, no less. I could just see him shielding his eyes and ears, squealing at her to stop.

I will admit that I felt something when she starting singing ‘I Love The Lord’. That’s one of my favourite songs from ‘The Preachers Wife’ and I actually had a feeling she might do it. It was a nice moment. Her encore of ‘Million Dollar Bill’ was good too. She’s still a great performer and as always, the sweat was dripping within minutes!

Anywho, I realise all of this is about a month too late, but I wanted to write this post to address the whole issue of people wanting their money back.

I will say this:

You have nobody to blame but yourselves for spending that money.

Here’s why:

If you’re a big enough Whitney fan to buy tickets in the first place, then you must follow her career somewhat. Therefore, you would have seen her recent performances on Good Morning America or X Factor and realised she wasn’t her old self. Knowing this, you would be somewhat disillusioned to believe that she would sound any different on tour so you purchased tickets KNOWING Whitney wasn’t the old Whitney. Basically, don’t expect a racehorse when you bought a donkey. Even if it once looked like a racehorse and you paid racehorse prices for it, it looked like a donkey in the brochure. So quit complaining! Either way, they’re not getting their money back! Clive Davis has already spent it!

That is all.

[Photo source: My camera]

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Theatre Review: CAT ON A HOT TIN ROOF **Plus my pics with the cast!**

The Broadway hit ‘Cat on a Hot Tin Roof’ has finally touched down in London but you probably know that already, right? The buzz about the Tennessee Williams play has been steadily mounting and it seems like everyone’s talking about it!

Directed by the legendary Debbie Allen this is one of those rare plays that London hasn’t really seen before with a stellar cast not only comprised entirely of Black actors but featuring four of Black Hollywood’s finest A Listers.

I had the pleasure of seeing ‘Cat’ from the centre of the front row last week during their previews and was blown away by the sheer talent on the stage. Phylicia Rashad is transformed as Big Mama, Sanaa is captivating as Maggie ‘The Cat’ and James Earl Jones is perfect as cantankerous Big Daddy. Not forgetting our very own Adrian Lester who simmers as Big Daddy’s eldest and favourite son, Brick.


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Movie Review: PRECIOUS **We are all Precious**


A couple of weeks ago I walked into a dark movie theatre absolutely full to the brim with people staring intently at a cinema screen. On it was rather large girl dressed up in a ball gown, dancing as camera flashes go off around her.  It was the the London Film Festival screening of Lee Daniels’ highly anticipated movie ‘Precious’ and I was missing the beginning!

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