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Eric Benet
October 15, 1966 (age 44)

When R&B powerhouse Eric Benet heard that his "Sometimes I Cry" single was one of Lil Wayne's favorite jams to listen to in prison, he was flabbergasted.

"That was dope. It's a huge compliment," Benet tells Billboard.com. "He's sitting somewhere where he is contemplating on life, so, to be drawn to my song while he's going through those things, it means even more. To me it means maturity."

"I only listen to slow jams and ESPN... Oh, and if you haven't heard the new song by Eric Benet, 'Sometimes I Cry,' please stop what you're doing and check it out," Weezy wrote in his latest letter from jail, posted on his weezythanxyou.com blog site last week. "It's the best song I've heard since Maxwell's 'Woman's Worth.' It's for grown folk. I actually listen to the radio all day waiting for that song."

"Sometimes I Cry," currently No. 5 on the Hot Adult R&B Airplay chart, finds Benet dealing with the regrets of losing someone. He says even when he first heard the song he felt "goosebumps." "When I'm in the studio, I'm making music for me but if it gives me goosebumps, that's my barometer -- that lets me know it's ready for people to hear," says Benet of the track.

Still, Benet wasn't sure if fans of other genres would appreciate it, much less Wayne. "Somewhere in the back of my mind I think, 'country won't feel this, polka won't feel this.' I know that's an extreme jump from R&B and hip-hop, but, I don't automatically think some hard hip-hop head will appreciate it. For Wayne to be feeling this song makes me feel like I struck a nerve."

If Wayne likes "Sometimes I Cry," Benet says he'll like some other cuts off his upcoming "Lost In Time" album, like "Feel Good," featuring Faith Evans. "It's a late 70s, rollerskating, feel-good song," he says. There's also "Paid," written by Eddie Levert from the O'Jays, as well as "Summer Love," which finds Benet's own 18-year-old daughter India laying vocal. As well, "Never Without You," which he describes as "the complete opposite of 'Sometimes I Cry,' but just as intense," and "Something's Wrong."

Just in time for Wayne's Nov. 4 release date from New York's Rikers Island, Benet is scheduled to go on tour this fall with Fantasia and Kandi Burrus, formerly from the 90s R&B group Xscape.