Various - MOBO 2001 (Sony)
This year has been a particularly good one for music of black origin in both the US and the UK. Destiny's Child have conquered the world, the various products of UK Garage, Craig David and So Solid Crew, providing an alternative to the US domination of the various scenes, the MOBO awards for this year were among the most diverse and interesting ever.
This has the hugely popular stuff, like the three afore-mentioned bands and the likes of Jamiroquai, DJ Pied Piper & the Masters of Ceremonies' irritating 'Do you really like it?' or Sisqo's 'Thong Song'-soundalike 'Dance for me'. On the side of quality are the more inventive and original sounds of Wyclef Jean ('Perfect Gentleman'), Outkast ('So fresh, so clean') and the truly brilliant 'Get ur freak on' from Missy Elliot.
Of the promising newcomers, Mis-Teeq's strange mismatch of sounds on 'All I want' stands out somewhat, but more in the potential for improvement than greatness. The mix of Blue's 'All rise' just backs up the fact that the black guy has got to go solo and leave the other pseudo-boyband members hang! Our own Samantha Mumba's somewhat disappointingly ordinary 'Gotta tell you' belies some of the better tracks she's already released, while Mary Mary (not the guy who's with Apollo 440) add a bit of really soulful gospel into the mix.
There's a few classics, the updated version of Eddy Grant's 'Electric Avenue' and a track by Sade and there's also some awful crud - Usher's awful 'U remind me', 'Devil's Nightmare' by Oxide & Neutrino, R Kelly and TWO tracks by Luther Vandross (brrr!) As for the rest, in general it doesn't either offend or excite, just kind of wanders past. All in all, this is a great sample of what's happening in music of black origin today with some very enjoyable tracks.