April 22, 2004

Test Spin: Tamia

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It is difficult to speak of the career of Tamia without reference to hubbie Grant Hill. Together they could possibly contend for the title of most disappointing couple — Hill, the NBA good guy and superstar crippled with injuries, and Tamia, the wildly talented singer cramped by awful management. Not much of that picture has changed with the arrival of the album More: Hill is still watching from the sidelines and Tamia could just as well be doing the same in the music industry.

Vocal ability has never been the issue with Tamia, and on More, squandering her talent as usual on poor production her management seems to be getting in the way of any destined ascent to superstardom. Sure, Elektra’s enlisted DJ Clue, R. Kelly, Babyface, Mario Winans, and Jermiane Dupri — the man behind “Imagination,” the lead single on Tamia’s last album — but more importantly Poke and Tone of Trackmaster handle the bulk of production here. To put it bluntly, they couldn’t make a good beat if their life depended on it. With new variations on the heavy bass and not much else and annoying voiceovers, they are responsible for most of the monotony here.

Standouts include the R. Kelly written, produced, arranged “Questions,” the JD-engineered “Still,” the Joshua Nile-produced “Poetry,” and 7-produced “Officially Missing You,” showing what Tamia is truly capable of.

But something mentionable is missing here, and Tamia has to take some credit for that. Could I venture that it is a lack of killer instinct, the same criticism leveled against a Hill that is still missing in action.

Archived article by Jason Rotstein
Red Letter Daze Staff Writer