New York radio personality Angie Martinez crosses over to the other side with her debut set, Up Close & Personal.
New York radio personality Angie Martinez crosses over to the other side with her debut set, Up Close & Personal. On one hand, the album is what one might expect—an all-star lineup of guest appearances dropping lyrical jewels over tracks from Salaam Remi, Knowbody, and Domingo, among others. "Mi Amor," the album's first single, finds Martinez and Jay-Z trading quips with great chemistry over a kinetic backbeat, courtesy of Rockwilder. "Dem Thangz," featuring Q-Tip, is another club anthem that will keep the party going. There's also the stirring "Breathe," which finds Martinez partnering with sisters in song La India and Mary J. Blige. Yet as fine as these collaborations are, Martinez's lyrical abilities and emotional depths are obvious when she stands alone on such tracks as "Every Little Girl"—a beautifully written autobiographical tale of the artist's rise to stardom—and the high-octane "Go!!!" Still, while Up Close & Personal is a notable debut, in the end it lacks the cohesion and true personality that make an album great.—RH