First time Ashanti’s face flashed on BET, many confused her with Christina Milian. But after her collaboration with Fat Joe on “What’s Luv?” she stood out.

She is the new girl on the Murder Inc. label ? famous for Jennifer Lopez’s Ja Rule remixes.

Question: if you totally change the lyrics and the melody of a song, is it considered a remix or a brand new song? Whatever!

“Foolish” is the single that skyrocketed Ashanti to stardom, a song which takes a while to cling on by leaves easily.

The second full-length song on the album “Happy” is a soulful number and “Leaving (Always On Time Part II)” features Ja Rule’s delicious rap ? however, that is no savior to the song.

The other peculiar thing about the album is Ashanti’s skits that sound like clips of her shrink session.

Bad placement

“Call” and “Scared” sound very similar, which does not do justice to the songs since they are back-to-back tracks.

“Rescue” and “Baby” are definitely the two standout tracks to an otherwise ailing debut.

At the end of the self-titled debut “Foolish” unnecessarily resurfaces as “Unfoolish” and “Dreams” and inspirational track celebrating Ashanti’s victory in achieving her goal ? all with a kindergarten chorus in the background and even playground sounds.

It’s peculiar how Tweet’s debut album and Ashanti’s have the same release date. Do we sense a battle of the record labels to produce the next soultress?

Tweet delivers solid talent in debut album

“Southern Hummingbird” is a quiet a deceiving name for Tweet’s debut album. After all, she is from Rochester. Being Missy Elliot’s best bud must be very beneficial.

Tweet’s collaboration with Missy Elliot on “Oops (Oh My)” proved to be one of this year’s best R&B jams.

Not surprisingly, since it has an unique new beat that sticks, unlike Brandy’s recent miserable foray into hip-hop experimentalism.

Who knew that a song about masturbation would launch a career of this promising diva-in-training?

What makes Tweet special is that, unlike other newcomers to the pop-soul arena like rival Ashanti, she is not only beautiful but also talented.

She produced most of the tracks on “Southern Hummingbird” and plays the guitar. Her lyrical ability is also distinctive and she shows-off her writing skills on the folk ballad “Motel.”

At first listen, the album does not stand out. That is mainly because it starts out with a pointless intro, then enters into a segment of balladry. Ballads are rarely apt openers, unless you are Celine Dion.

“Smoking Cigarettes” is a repetitious song, to the point of annoyance. And “Always Will” showcases Tweet’s warm voice.

Bilal duet

The low point of the album is the duet with Bilal “Best Friend,” in which Bilal warbles like he is in pain ? a lazy song that would’ve done the album a favour had it been left out completely.

Then the album picks up with “Boogie 2nite” and “Make Ur Move” ? both up-tempo cheery tunes.

“Heaven” is a slow jam, a satisfying song with apt sound affects. “Southern Hummingbird” is heavy on low-groove. Songs like “Complain” and “Call Me” ? which has a beautiful Arabian melody ? are both sensual theme songs.

Out of the two debuting artist, Tweet wins the crown. Not only because her album has more captivating moments, but also because she seems to be able to deliver a product with her talents, rather than be a product of a some record company mogul.

Al-Qatami can be reached at

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