NME.COM

702

Since back in the day of Motown powerhouses like [B]Norman Whitfield[/B], through to modern day auteurs like [a]Babyface[/a] and [a]Missy Elliott[/a]/[B]Timbaland[/B], the ultimate power in soul music

Since back in the day of Motown powerhouses like Norman Whitfield, through to modern day auteurs like Babyface and Missy Elliott/Timbaland, the ultimate power in soul music lies in the hands of the writer/producer. Of the singers themselves, the wise ones, like Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder and Lauryn Hill, soon grabbed hold of the reins and wrote their own stories. The rest left their career resting upon the whim of their svengalis, and their fortunes rose and fell accordingly.



went out with Paul Weller.



No, the guarantees of quality come from the behind-the-scenes names involved; Kedar Massenburg, who discovered Erykah Badu, executive produces. Missy Elliott herself writes and produces two tracks. Familiar, reliable names litter the credits. So then, 702 are only as good as their songs. Gooey sentimentalism kept to a bare minimum. Beats never straying the wrong side of 'funky'. Pretty damned good, then.
7 / 10

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