Lloyd - Street Love (Sho-Nuff/The Inc./Universal Records) - Review

He was a member of the ill-fated ‘N Sync-knockoff, NToon. He was signed to Magic Johnson’s record label and had a hit record, “Hey Young Girl”. He has recorded with Hip Hop heavies Snoop, Young Jeezy and Lil’ Scrappy. He’s now signed to Irv Gotti’s The Inc. Records and even released a relatively successful single in 2004, “Southside” featuring labelmate Ashanti. Still, Lloyd Polite is not yet a household name. Yet.

The 21 year-old singer/songwriter is a young man well beyond his years. And with his new album Street Love, the proof is in the pudding. The album starts off with Lloyd re-introducing himself and boldly declaring himself “young, fly and flashy with an old school swagger.” Up next is the lead single and certified banger, “You”. It samples Spandau Ballet’s “True”, but more recently, you might remember it from PM Dawn’s “Set Adrift on Memory’s Bliss”. This is Lloyd at his best. Singing sweet nothings while leaving the Hip Hop posturing to Lil’ Wayne.

It’s when Lloyd tries to prove just how “Certified” he is, attempting to rap a few awkward bars of his own, where he shows his age. “I’m certified, qualified by my dollar signs. I like to get it up, live it up, what’s your Prada size?” When Lloyd stays in his lane, he shines. His second single, “Get It Shawty” is a mid- to up-tempo club track. He also comes across much more comfortable spitting this verse than on “Certified”.

On “Hazel”, you might not pick up on the herbal essence reference right away, but after a few listens, the smoke clears and the ode to the green becomes crystal clear. “I can count on you whenever I need to take it slow / How you be taking me up, up and away we go / You got my eyes so low, they’re damn near closed.” If that’s not enough, Lloyd’s admiration for his favourite girl’s “purple highlights” are a dead giveaway!

Where many R&B albums fade near the end – somewhere between the point where boy meets girl and boy gets girl -- Lloyd finishes strong. The standout track on the album is the infectious Irv Gotti and Seven Aurelius produced track “One For Me”, sampling Art of Noise’s “Moments in Love”. If that wasn’t enough, Lloyd closes the album by taking his radio-friendly hit and enlisting two of game’s best emcees, Andre 3000 and Nas, for the “I Want You” remix.

Street Love proves Lloyd knows how to make hit records. It also shows he was paying attention during The Inc.’s glory days when Ja Rule and Ashanti were killing the charts with their street-savvy sing-alongs. Let’s hope Young Lloyd was also paying attention to his labelmates’ sudden fall from grace and takes a few more chances on the subject matter next time around.

Download: You, Hazel, One for Me, I Want You

Written By: Aadel Haleem