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Although he may have announced it as his final album, based upon the fact that fans doesn't appreciate the music enough to buy it anymore, it appears "Love King" is the third of many albums from the Atlanta singer The-Dream. Gaining fame through writing credits on hits songs from Rihanna, Usher and B2K, his third album has gets singer fresh out of the lab with Tricky Stewart and Los Da Mystro - ready with more hits to allow him to maintain his self-declared title as the "Radio Killa".
As ever, The-Dream's over-the-top arrogance shines right through. With this release he continues what he did on the last one and offers near-excessive raciness. The opening lines to "Panties to the Side" present this even before you delve any deeper into it. He rejects the conservative approach he took on his first album and goes even further than the "12 Play"-esque follow-up. What's done at certain parts of the record can be said to have been directly taken from the carefree, sexual nature of Prince's early eighties album when he made his breakthrough. He managed to draw out the sensuality of the music through the bass-heavy sounds taken directly from mid-nineties R&B - most obvious on the remix to "Sex Intelligent" that anywhere else.
Although Jeezy and Ludacris may have laid-down big verses to it afterwards, the titular opening song "Love King" is featureless. The bouncy and light-hearted starter is a great way to get the album underway and ensures that listeners from both ends of his musical spectrum (deep R&B fans and casual Pop ones) are all going to fall for it. It sounds like the perfect example of the Snap Music style done by an artist who grew up where the sound originated. The quality of the album doesn't end with the first song though. With Fabolous getting a say on his first, Kanye West on his second, the tendency to just have one rapping feature on the album (a song which always came out as a single) is followed-through with this one. Here he looks far closer to home as the recently prison-free T.I. comes to back him up on "Make Up Bag". Equally, this sits just as highly amongst the triumphs on the record and is worth looking out for if you wouldn't cop the whole album.
Much more of what's done here is done solely by the performer himself. Although Christopher "Tricky" Stewart and Los da Mystro are found through the album, much more of the production and writing is done by The-Dream himself. It wouldn't appear that this compromised things at all as it's all just as heavy as ever. An example of this is "Sex Intelligent". There we have him pulling a lot from Houston, Texas's 'Screw' sound, from then he builds up a light R&B song from the raw Hip Hop foundations.
The progression between his first and second albums have been a lot more subtle than what's found here. From "Love vs. Money" to "Love King" it would seem that he's done much more to show that he's moving on with the times and won't be stuck in the late '00s (although its yet to be seen whether this is the case). "Abyss" seems to stand out as an example of him going a little further than usual with original sounds. It works for him, but the lack of familiarity means that it's still not as inviting as other songs.
In conclusion, I'd say that this is another recommended Dream album. I'd say that the matured feel that it has means that it sounds as though it has much more longevity than the throwaway, disposable nature of his first couple of releases. There's a lot to like about what he brings with this one. He ensures that there's a number of treats to look out for and makes for a nice mix of songs which will either hit you immediately with their quality (the titular single) or gradually grow on you after a few listens ("February Love").
1. "Love King" **Five Stars**
2. "Make Up Bag" **Five Stars**
3. "F.I.L.A." **Four Stars**
4. "Sex Intelligent" **Five Stars**
5. "Sex Intelligent" (Remix) **Five Stars**
6. "Yahama" **Four Stars**
7. "Nikki" (Part 2) **Four Stars**
8. "Abyss" **Four Stars**
9. "Panties to the Side" **Four Stars**
10. "Turnt Out" **Four Star**
11. "February Love" **Five Stars**
12. "Florida University" **Four Stars**
15. "Take Care of Me"
16. "All Black Everything"
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Love King
2 Make Up Bag - The-Dream, T.I.
4 Sex Intelligent
5 Sex Intelligent Remix
7 Nikki Part 2
9 Panties To The Side
10 Turnt Out
11 February Love
12 Florida University