You’ve heard her on Kanye West’s early hit song, “All Falls Down”. R. Kelly produced her first single, “I’m Your Woman”. She’s one of the best voices in R & B…so why is she so underrated? Wonder who I’m talking about? Syleena Johnson and she hails all the way from the windy city of Chicago. Ever since “I’m Your Woman” was released, I immediately sat up and took notice to the sultry, sexy voice coming through the speakers. Then there was “Guess What”, a catchy mid-tempo song about lack of commitment in a relationship. And of course, there’s her 3rd CD…Chapter 3:The Flesh. This one is my favorite and I still listen to it to this day. But Syleena Johnson is much more than the girl associated with R Kelly or the woman who sings the hook on “All Falls Down”. She’s worked with such heavy hitters as Twista, Anthony Hamilton, Busta Rhymes, and Fabolous to name a few. But don’t doubt her….she can definitely hold her own as she proves on her latest CD, Chapter V: Underrated.
When I first heard the single, “Go Head”, featuring rapper Na’Tee, from Chapter V: Underrated, I really didn’t know what to expect from the entire CD. This reggae tinged song is uptempo with somewhat busy production, but in a good way. Although the song was good, it didn’t sound like the typical Syleena Johnson. Little did I know, this CD would prove that Syleena Johnson is anything but typical. She opens the CD with the title track, which features Chicago native AK of Do or Die. She comes in bold and with confidence…perhaps more so than many of the tracks she’s ever done. But what else should we expect from a singer who’s been in the business for over 15 years? Syleena Johnson continues the upbeat, cocky vibe on the next two tracks “A Boss” and “Fade Away”. I must say with all of the male bashing songs out there, it’s refreshing to see that she only wants “an equal” and not a “buy me this, buy me that” man on “A Boss”.
Things begin to slow down a bit as she joins singer Tweet on “Angry Girl”. The message here is good (encouraging women to not be bitter), but there’s nothing spectacular here. I was a bit surprised, considering I’m a fan of Tweet as well. However, “Like Thorns” is one of the standouts on the CD. This cleverly written track (You used to be like roses/Now you’re just like thorns) speaks of being fed up with an overly insecure lover. This song should be a single in my opinion. She gets a little suggestive towards the end of the CD with “Bad Person” and “The Champ”. “Bad Person” speaks about being the aggressor when it comes to matters of the bedroom and “The Champ” boasts of her TKO-esque…ahem…special skills.
All in all, if you’re looking for a great R & B CD, check out Chapter V: Underrated. It definitely does not disappoint and makes you wonder why she is even labeled as underrated.
Have you ever heard her music? If so, what are your favorite songs that she sings? Or who is one of your favorite “underrated” artists?