The Floacist, "The Floacist Presents Floetic Soul"

As neo-soul duo Floetry, poet/MC Natalie Stewart and singer Marsha Ambrosius wrote songs for Michael Jackson and Jill Scott. The pair also crafted a distinctive blend of rap/singing artfully laced over soul and hip-hop beats, resulting in hit single "Say Yes" and three well-received albums before the duo split in 2007. Now, Stewart (aka the Floacist) refines her "poetic delivery with musical intent." Building on Floetry's platform, the album's overall zen takes hold on the opening track as the Floacist's hypnotic flow subtly admonishes listeners to "Breathe." Crooner Raheem DeVaughn perfectly accents the Floacist's sonorous voice on the mellow R&B/jazz groove "Keep It Going," a love song captured in one resonating verse: "You could be my Mother Nature/I'll be your Father Time." While the set's same-sound feel wears over 13 tracks, cameos by Lalah Hathaway and Musiq Soulchild provide added lift, as does the Floacist's own singing ("You")-something she should do more of next time. Quibbles aside, it's good to have the Floacist back.