Album review: Queen Latifah's 'Persona'*
It's understandable why Latifah would want to return to hip-hop, the breeding ground of her personal style, but it's jazz that's guided Dana Owens' best efforts. Even her biggest hip-hop single, "U.N.I.T.Y.," borrowed the foundation of its cool progressivism from a Jazz Crusaders loop.
More recently, her 2004 set of standards "The Dana Owens Album," and its Grammy-nominated follow-up, "Trav'lin' Light," earned Latifah her biggest raves. Critics fell for her silk scarf of a voice as it fluttered through smoky jazz numbers, while reworking the songs enough to uncover new pressure points.
"Persona" is stylistically everywhere and yet it skips over some fruitful ground. Queen Latifah is too busy chasing 100 styles of hip-pop, seemingly to prove that she can indeed do it all. She should've let that hit parade carry on by.
-- Margaret WapplerQueen Latifah
Flavor Unit Records
Two stars and a half
UPDATE: This review originally posted with the incorrect rating of one and a half stars. The correct rating is two and a half stars.
Albums are rated on a scale of one to four stars