The union between crunk and R&B took off with Usher's crossover phenomenon, "Yeah!" Stepping into his No.
The union between crunk and R&B took off with Usher's crossover phenomenon, "Yeah!" Stepping into his No. 1 shoes is newcomer Ciara, whose hypnotic, no-means-no anthem "Goodies" (featuring Petey Pablo) has some proclaiming her the princess of crunk-n-B. But the singer/songwriter isn't aiming to be boxed into that corner. The album is an ample mix of beat-heavy party jams, midtempo grooves and heat-seeking ballads. Next to the title track, standouts include "1, 2 Step" with Missy Elliott and the R. Kelly-penned-and-produced "Next to You." "I Want the Title" artfully interpolates the LTD classic "Love Ballad." Ciara's vocals won't make you forget such stronger-voiced talents as Alicia Keys, and some of the songs do adhere too easily to today's formulas. But her first solo flight strongly hints that Ciara is more than just a one-hit wonder.—GM