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Jamie Foxx: Unpredictable

Jamie Foxx: Unpredictable

Label:J Records
Release Date:2006

By Al Shipley | Posted 3/8/2006

As hard as it is for a comedian to be taken seriously as an actor, it must be twice as hard for an actor to be taken seriously as a singer. But Jamie Foxx has managed both career transitions with surprising success. Of course, it helps that his second album, Unpredictable, was preceded by two chart-topping collaborations with Kanye West, “Slow Jamz” and “Gold Digger.” Apparently, Foxx only sang a few bars on those jokey hits to get his foot in the door as a quiet-storm crooner.

Aside from the fun, filthy title track featuring Ludacris, Unpredictable tends to stumble when Foxx jokes around too much. On “Do What It Do,” he tastelessly trots out his Ray Charles impression, more like an old In Living Color character than the role that won him an Oscar. But the album ends strong with “Heaven” and “Wish U Were Here,” two sincere, perfectly executed ballads about his teenage daughter and his mother, respectively.

Thirtysomething Foxx is twice the age of most of his competitors on R&B radio, and his silky Luther Vandross-influenced delivery sounds dated, no matter how many of-the-moment guests and producers are propped up around him. Sometimes Foxx’s supporting cast serves him well, though. “Warm Bed” gets an intimate club beat from Atlanta superproducer Mr. Collipark and a sinewy hook from songwriter Sean Garrett, who seems to have penned half the songs in the Top 10 these days. But well-cast moments like that are stranded among bores like the amazingly wooden duet with Mary J. Blige.

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