Syleena Johnson’s ‘Chapter V: Underrated’: Album Review
For over a decade, Syleena Johnson has remained one of the most consistent artists in R& B. After taking a brief hiatus to spend time with her family, she returns with the fifth album from her chapter series, Chapter V: Underrated.
Johnson opens the album with the aggressive title track, “Underrated.” She adopts Bone Thugs & Harmony’s signature tongue twisting flow by singing ”It’s time to show the world what this diva’s made of, been in this building for 16 years and I’m still going strong, I got married, had two kids and I’m still going strong, I’m not going to let this industry determine how well I’m not gonna — conform to what y’all do, I’ll do what the [expletive] I wanna.” Johnson is joined on the song by fellow Chicagoan, AK of Do or Die.
But Johnson is at her best when singing of the pain of a dysfunctional relationship.
On “Angry Girl,” she warns young women against carrying emotional baggage. And she goes after an insecure lover who is obsessed with controlling her on “Like Thorns.”
“I can’t sleep at night, worried that you’re going through my phone, knowing you’re gonna find something wrong, when it’s just illusions you’ve created on your own,” Johnson sings.
She delivers a soulful love ballad on “Little Things,” and she compares herself to a boxer and brags about her sexual prowess on “Champ.” “I’m good at many things, but in the bedroom, boy, I’m the champ baby, my stroke is like a TKO, three-minute round you [expletive] so slow.” The album concludes with the CD’s most inspirational track, “Stone Wall.”
Chapter V reminds fans of Johnson’s incredible voice and her ability to dissect love from all angles. –amir shaw