Sign of Things to Come

Recording projects fronted by celebrities sometimes come off as vanity affairs, with only a passing nod to the music.

Recording projects fronted by celebrities sometimes come off as vanity affairs, with only a passing nod to the music. In this first of a three-record production deal with MCA, comedian/morning host Steve Harvey thankfully puts the music first, delivering a 13-song compilation that stands head and shoulders above most similar collections. Featuring established and generation-next R&B/hip-hop artists, the set underscores Harvey's well-known mission to promote feel-good music with positive messages. Said mission is carried out by a talented roster of MCA-affiliated and non-label affiliated artists bearing new songs, including Dave Hollister, Mary J. Blige (a "No More Drama" remix with P. Diddy), Joe, Carl Thomas, and Rahsaan Patterson. And old-schooler Harvey documents his change of heart about some hip-hop with the inclusion of party tracks by Mr. Cheeks and Bathgate with Fabolous. But it's the newcomers who shine here, among them Dejur and the B.L.A.C.K. Experience.—GM