His Oscar-winning performance in last year's Ray has indelibly linked Jamie Foxx with one of the greatest R&B artists of all time. But Foxx's own music—on this, his second album (following 1994's little-heard Peep This)—may have you saying, “Hit the road, Jamie.” It's a decidedly predictable collection of contemporary soul with the requisite hip-hop beats, R. Kelly-style slow jams and guest rappers (including Ludacris, Snoop Dogg and Common). Whereas Foxx worked as a featured singer on hits by Kanye West (“Gold Digger”) and Twista (“Slow Jamz”), he lacks the vocal presence to elevate the mostly mediocre material here. And he is completely outclassed when Mary J. Blige joins him for a remake of the 1978 Mother's Finest gem “Love Changes.” A classically trained pianist who helped write 6 of 15 tracks, Foxx is not without musical talent, and he shows promise on the Babyface-produced ballad “Heaven,” a tender tribute to his 11-year-old daughter. Still, this disc will hardly earn him a Grammy to go along with that Oscar.
DOWNLOAD THIS: “Heaven”