Picks and Pans Review: Didn't See Me Coming
Since his 1988 debut with the R&B smash Make It Last Forever, Keith Sweat has attempted, with six platinum-plus solo albums, the transition from New Jack swinger to old-school balladeer. Though not technically the best singer of his generation—he lacks Luther Vandross's swoops and Babyface's grace—he has compensated with a pleading emotion and urban Everymanliness that has connected with homies and wannabes alike. Now 44, Sweat's age is beginning to show a little. Here he spends much of the first half of the disc trying to prove he's as hip as any hip-hopper, even bringing in rappers Busta Rhymes and Rah Digga for musical support. But then he hits his groove with a string of trademark slow jams. Best are "Real Man," "Games" and the duets "Don't Have Me," with David Hollister, and "I'll Trade (a Million Bucks)," with Lil' Mo.
Bottom Line: Ballads work up the real Sweat