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Sound Off – Lyfe Jennings: Lyfe Change

Posted by ThatsMyJamRadio on May 6, 2008

The latest albums making noise

Those familiar with Lyfe Jennings’ backstory know that he spent several years in prison, but in case anyone forgets or isn’t aware, one listen to any of his previous albums will surely remind or inform. The raspy soul singer could also be accused of being preach-y, but on Lyfe Change he offers up some fun and versatility among his “here’s something to think about” repertoire.

Case in point is “It’s Real,” a song with bass so heavy that DJ Irene — back in her hard house days — would be envious. Here, Lyfe tells a story of woman so desirable and so arousing that he forgets to pick up a pack of condoms before closing the deal. But rather than continue with the sexcapade, he croons that he wants “to protect us” from the reality of AIDS.

“Cops Up” is the infectious, radio-friendly lead single that highlights Jennings’ one-of-a-kind voice for verses while rejecting it during the voice box chorus that would do T-Pain proud. Though it seems a little out of the realm of his style, Lyfe convincingly persuades listeners to “call the cops up” because “little mama done stole” his heart over a midtempo hip-hop beat that’s perfect for peak-hour DJ sets.

Seventies funk influences “Old School,” Jennings’ obligatory track about the hardships the daily 9-to-5 grind has on a “king” whose “crown’s on layaway.” Snoop Dogg’s guest appearance is fun but unnecessary as Lyfe describes his beat-up ride using soul food analogies. “Never Never Land” encourages the type of responsibility described in the former song and kindly points out that “30 is not the new 20, it’s the same old 30.” Additionally, Lyfe warns that not growing up will lead to not falling in love, something he has apparently experienced, which further proselytizes his audience to his message.

Inspirational cuts include “Keep on Dreaming” and “Warriors,” but it’s “Hmmm,” the church-chanting homage to a lost grandmother, that truly demonstrates the motivational music he does best.

Jennings proves with Lyfe Change that he has plenty of life experience and observations to go round, and that he can stretch both beyond his first two albums, Lyfe 268-192 and The Phoenix. For this effort, listeners receive the type of delivery he’s known for, as well as some experimentation that pleasantly balances amusement and insight.

Track List:
1. “Change the Game (Intro)”
2. “Keep on Dreaming”
3. “Warriors”
4. “Never Never Land”
5. “Brand New” with T.I.
6. “It’s Real”
7. “Cops Up”
8. “You Think You’ve Got It Bad” with Wyclef
9. “Wild, Wild, Wild”
10. “Midnight Train”
11. “Hmmm”
12. “Old School” with Snoop Dogg
13. “Us (Interlude)”
14. “Will I Ever”
15. “Baby, I’m a Star

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