Artist: ShawnnaTitle: Worth Tha WeightRating: 3 StarsReviewed by: Bill Low-Key Heinzelman
Sex sells and skills do not. That has been the case for most female emcees over the years. Artists such as The Lady Of Rage, Rah Digga and Bahamadia have found that out the hard way. DTP’s first and only female emcee, Shawnna, tries not to fall into the same trap as the previously mentioned emcees by combining both sex and dope lyrics on her debut album Worth Tha Weight (Def Jam). Unfortunately, Shawnna’s effort feels forced and contrived in certain areas, making for an inconsistent debut.
You can clearly tell when Shawnna forces the issue on Worth Tha Weight, as she tries too hard to produce a big commercial hit. Just Blaze’s typical club effort on “Let’s Go” is yet another recycled synthesizer beat that mimics all his other sample free tracks. Shawnna’s collaboration with Nore on “Posted” features even more disappointing production, as well as a lackluster hook. Shawnna even follows Nore down the path of lyrical embarrassment with her constant repetition of “in the club” every bar. Shawnna is definitely a solid lyricist, but an effort like “Posted” is proof she waters downs her lyrics on various occasions. “Turn It Up” is another coerced effort that is sculpted out of the Dirty South blueprint, with its heavy bass and unoriginal hook. The same can also be said for “Block Reincarnated Remix” featuring Kardinal Offishall, which is a lame attempt to try and reach the popular dancehall demographic.
Just as it’s obvious when Shawnna is pressing the issue on the album, it is also quite evident when Shawnna is on top of her game and in a groove. The title track Worth Tha Weight, finds Shawnna riding the Trackboyz’ razor sharp violins perfectly, while delivering the lyrical dexterity we all know she is capable of. The tongue tortuous lyrics of “R.P.M.” is another standout track, as Twista takes Shawnna along for a hectic ride that fans will surely keep replaying. On the sexier side of things, “So Real, So Right” and “Super Freak” are both silky smooth efforts that will make even the biggest thugs get in the mood.
Shawnna is one of the few female emcees who can combine dope lyrics with super star appeal. However, Worth Tha Weight is too inconsistent to fully show her capabilities. The album moves from one sound to the next without ever setting the foundation for what Shawnna is really all about. While she is capable of producing big hits (“Shake That Sh*t”), Shawnna needs to find a middle ground between who she is and what the industry wants her to be. If not, her future albums will fall into the same category as Worth Tha Weight, inconsistent.