Ryan Leslie’s “Transition”

 

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By Reitumetse Twala

After producing hits for notable artists such as Britney Spears, Jojo, Kid Kudi and Beyonce, the 33 year old Harvard graduate decided to get behind the mic. Just nine months after the release of his self titled debut album in July 2009, Ryan Leslie gives us Transition.

Both albums were solely produced by “R-Les” which explains why most of the songs have the same sound. This album is not much of a transition from his debut album, if anything, it did not live up to the little hype that Ryan Leslie created. As with his first album and the many songs he has produced, the production is untouchable. He is a musical genius when it comes to the use of synthesisers, drums, pianos and snares, however his musical journey is rather flat.

Transition is said to be about a secret summer love, but there is nothing secret or summery about the album. The R&B singer bares all his emotions on tracks such as Guardian Angel, in which he explains how his lover deserves angel wings for filling the void within him. While I respect R-Les for knowing the limits of his vocal range, this makes his songs very bland and forgettable. Accompanied with rather shallow lyrics, it is more than evident that he spent more time on the production more than anything else, which is what keeps his albums on the shelves.

The self-taught instrumentalist also tries his hand at rapping. This is not the first time we’ve heard Leslie talk over his intricate beats, but it’s not doing any favours for his career, sporting lyrics like “now let’s put this thing together like a hand clap” on his track, Zodiac. While it’s not clear if he was trying to sound as hot as rapper Pusha-T, who features on Something I Like, Leslie reminds us why he is known as a producer first, above everything else.

A song to look out for is I Choose You in which Leslie is 100% honest. In the song, Leslie simply explains how he chooses her over everything, including his pride. The song’s backing track minimally features a synthesiser, adding to the simplicity of the song and the overall message. He then switches it up with the funk-filled You’re Not My Girl, which was the first single to be released off the album. This song is sure to keep your finger on the rewind button if you’re into the old-school feel which you hear on songs like Snoop Dogg’s Sensual Seduction.

Transition will grow on you if you have the patience, but it will definitely not go down as a classic album. Take a look at Ryan Leslie’s latest offering, Glory, which is taken off his forthcoming album Les Is More.

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