I just completed a music review about how important I thought it was for the fans to evolve with the artist. Perhaps I put my foot in my mouth. I guess I should preface this review by saying that I am a huge fan of Queen Latifah. I am not, however, a huge fan of Persona.
I like to break music up into layers of how I enjoy it; those layers consist of lyrics, vocals, music, and production. Hands down, Queen Latifah can sing, and I can even appreciate the lyrics on some of the tracks. The music and production leave something to be desired.
This current project seems to pervade a sense of resiliency in the entertainment industry, in love, and in life. Queen Latifah gives propers to her home state of New Jersey and other notables who hail from the state in "The Light." "Fast Car" features classic Missy Elliot in all her naughtiness. "Hard To Love Ya," featuring Busta Rhymes, Shawn Stockman, and Dre, is one of the standout songs. "People," featuring Mary J. Blige, is another track worth the listen. Lyrically, I enjoyed "Long Ass Week" and "Runnin", but musically, I was not impressed.
Overall, I could appreciate where I think Queen Latifah was coming from with the many roles she portrayed musically on this effort. Her vocals are always outstanding, but lyrically and musically, Persona falls short. The production is unremarkable with the cookie-cutter synthesized voice-overs, which are unnecessary given Queen Latifah’s beautiful vocals.
I am used to seeing Queen Latifah as an innovator, with her 1989 debut, All Hail The Queen, serving as the foundation. She is one of the only female hip hop artists—wait, she is the only female hip hop artist—who has been able to weather the dreary storm of longevity in the entertainment industry in such a strong fashion. Queen Latifah has donned many roles in her career and her success in this industry makes evolution inevitable. I, however, could not evolve with this one. Maybe I’ll wait for her next effort while I remove my foot from my mouth.