Wendy Williams Brings The Heat, Vol. 1

Artist: Wendy WilliamsTitle: Wendy Williams Brings The Heat, Vol. 1Rating: 4 StarsReviewed by: Dove ~Sheepish Lordess of Chaos~

There was a time when the title of a label A&R rep meant Artist & Repertoire – the person responsible for finding talent, developing it, and nurturing it to the point of stardom. Over the years, the job of A&R as we once knew it seems to have faded into obscurity. The “out the box hit” reigns supreme, and, sadly, very few new raw talents are “discovered”. With the first installment of her aptly-titled new series, Wendy Williams Brings The Heat, Vol. 1,

Wendy Williams does indeed bring some heat. Aside from appearances by newcomers Deemi, Bleu Davinci, and Renegade Fox, she isn’t necessarily marking undiscovered territory with the line up of talent on this album. Regardless, the first lady of gossip definitely knows fresh talent when she hears it, and she’s got a powerful soundtrack to prove it.

While Amerie joins with Nas for “Man Up!” and Brooke Valentine teams with Jermaine Dupri on “Playa” for some solid R&B-meets-Hip-hop club tracks, the slower grooves come out as Marques Houston gets naughty on “Naked”. It seems like we slept on Marques for a long time, and he’s not having it. He lights up this track with lusty crooning and a graceful falsetto. Another artist that has been slept on by the masses, Dwele, delivers a dashing performance on the track “Money Don’t Mean A Thing”. Although the song title “Baby Mama Love” doesn’t instantly denote a classic, Jermaine Dupri’s newly signed R&B group N2U does show some promise in their abilities. Jaheim and Jadakiss sound great together on “Everytime”, and just when you think the album is about to cool off, Wendy Williams herself joins Mario Winans for some more sensual slow-grinding on “Stand Up”.

The Divine Ms. W brings the knock from New York’s darlings of Dipset, Juelz Santana and Jim Jones, with the Product G&B collabo “Streets On Fire”, and hits the South with fan favorites Young Jeezy, Baby D, and newcomer Bleu Davinci of Atlanta’s BMF Records with the cut “I’m A Boss”. She also shows some love on the West Coast with the Guerilla Black/Hot Dollar collaboration “Say What”. Although Guerilla Black has had his share of criticism for sounding too much like The Notorious B.I.G., he sounds magnificent on this Carlos Broady-produced track.

Rap vets get their shine too, as M.O.P. terrorizes the mic on “Whoa” and Black Rob gives the world four whole minutes of lyrical sanity on “Warrior”. Dancehall superstar Beenie Man laces “Good Woe” with his trademark style. On the flip side, Wendy found a fierce theme song with “The Hoodz Princess”, a solid showing from up-and-comer Deemi, amplified by some sure-shot verses from Styles P. While the appearances on the album are noteworthy, it’s the consistency of production that makes this album work beyond the realm of the typical “compilation” project. The Buchanans and Bryce Wilson, The Heatmakerz, Tony Dofat, S-Class, LRoc and Jermaine Dupri, Marley Marl, and Carlos Broady all deliver forcefully on their respective songs.

There are Executive Producers who pay the cash to be on the back of the CD label, and there are those who roll up their sleeves and help develop a project. You can love Wendy Williams or you can hate like haters do, but at the end of the day you do have to respect the fact that she knows a hit when she hears one.