Guests Bolster Ginuwine's Return

Excerpted from the magazine for

Graduating to the next level musically was the creative momentum driving R&B artist Ginuwine while recording his fourth album and April 8 Epic release, "The Senior." Describing the set, which is due May 20 internationally, as "edgier," Ginuwine says, "I wasn't trying to do what I did on my first or second album. As you grow, you learn and talk about different things. On every album you can see my growth."

Owing to scheduling conflicts, the name of longtime Ginuwine collaborator Timbaland is missing from the album's credits. In his stead, however, are strong tunesmiths in their own right, including Bryan Michael Cox (Usher, B2K), Troy Oliver (writer of "Differences"), Scott Storch (Dr. Dre, the Roots), and Troy Taylor (writer of Tyrese's 1999 hit "Sweet Lady"). In addition to Baby, who guests on the R. Kelly-written and -produced lead single/club anthem "Hell Yeah," Ginuwine is joined on the vocal front by Snoop Dogg, Sole, Method Man, Clipse, and R. Kelly (who appears on the "Hell Yeah" remix with Clipse and Baby).

Now on the other side of a painful period during which both parents passed within a year, Ginuwine native embraces both familiar and new ground on "The Senior." For example, "In Those Jeans" is a midtempo number akin to such early Ginuwine material as the 1996 No. 1 R&B hit "Pony." His stock-in-trade ballad talent shines on "Love You More," while the singer's uptempo side steps to the forefront on "Bedda Man."

"The Senior" also includes "Stingy" from last year's "Barbershop soundtrack." That song, along with "Crush Tonight" with Fat Joe and "I Need a Girl" with P. Diddy, kept Ginuwine in the public's ear between albums. But it is the Storch-produced "Locked Down," a story about a prisoner's regrets, that will catch many fans off-guard.

"When you're doing an album, you need to come up with something new, be creative," says Ginuwine. "I had a whole scenario of me going to a club, getting into a fight, making a mistake, and tragedy happens. The result is I go to jail. I just wanted to sit down and write about it. That's one of the songs I'm most happy with."

Vowing not to wait another two years between projects, Ginuwine has already begun preparing another album he hopes to release later this year. He wants to have Timbaland on board for the whole project, which is tentatively titled "Back to the Basics."

In the meantime, the commencement for "The Senior" is fast approaching. "I write the best songs I can," Ginuwine says. "I'm hoping when the album comes out that people will support me as they have in the past. This album is edgier, and I don't know if they'll be ready for that. But that's the chance you take as an artist."

Excerpted from the April 12, 2003, issue of Billboard. The full original text of the article is available in the Premium Services section.

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