Keep It Country
What a waste of talent! Atlanta-born rapper Miracle is back with his second album, a bland collection of formulaic tracks aimed at a mainstream crowd, ignoring the suggestions of dirt and grind that made his debut album a far more likeable effort. On the back of that first album's surprise hit single "Bounce," the production team of Gene Griffin and Paul Wright have gone for a more "up" approach for Miracle this time around, cautiously grooming him for both radio and street appeal.
On paper, the album is an interesting prospect, a promised hybrid of rap, hip hop, rock, country, soul, funk, and what have you, striving to turn Miracle into some post-modern mainstream visionary for 2002. Unfortunately, rather than sounding like nothing else, the album ends up sounding like everything else and nothing in particular. Rap muzak for the radio airwaves -- no small feat, actually, with expressively misogynist lyrics such as these.
However, in spite of the album's bland material and phlegmatic arrangements, it isn't without any redeeming qualities. Far from it. Miracle's vocals are powerful and intense, whether he raps or sings. He's an incredibly energetic performer, with a huge potential if given the right material. Stand-out track "Bounce Like Me," the sequel of sorts to his previous hit single, is a great showcase for his and co-star Da Robin's undeniable talents, and he really does a good imitation of his elder childhood neighbor James Brown on tracks like "Bad MF" and "Country Stuff."
Incidentally, the liner notes makes much of his admiration for James Brown, and elsewhere he sounds as if he's been listening rather closely to artists as diverse as D'Angelo and Outkast -- although he's not quite threatening either of these artists' positions as torch-bearers of modern funk, soul, and rap. Where those artists are constantly pushing the envelope, incorporating contemporary sounds only in order to throw them around and make them their own, Miracle (or rather, his production team) are way too busy trying to create a sound that's guaranteed to offend no one.
Miracle aims at being regarded as "the godson of funk." On the evidence of this album, he needs to do a few changes in order to attain that particular position.