Syleena Johnson, DJ Terry Hunter | the Shrine | Blues, Gospel, and R&B | Chicago Reader

Syleena Johnson, DJ Terry Hunter Recommended Early Warnings (Music) Soundboard

When: Thu., Nov. 10, 9 p.m. 2011

Chicago neosoul singer Syleena Johnson, daughter of the iconic Syl Johnson, has given her five most recent albums chapter numbers, right up to the new Chapter V: Underrated (Shanachie). I never thought "underrated" was a quality an artist could realistically claim for him- or herself, but it's certainly true than Johnson hasn't had the success she seemed poised to attain at the beginning of the aughts, when she released a couple of strong albums for Jive and had cameos on hits by Kanye West and R. Kelly. Her voice remains powerful and flexible on the new album, but she's still mining the sort of hip-hop-informed soul she was hawking a decade ago, with little development. On "A Boss" she spits her jagged melody in a pure hip-hop cadence, and on the ballad "Angry Girl," a duet with fellow also-ran Tweet (it excoriates women whose anger at men makes it harder for other ladies), she unspools melismatic vocals over strummy acoustic guitar. The album isn't bad, but it guarantees that she won't be able to call her next chapter "Overrated." —Peter Margasak DJ Terry Hunter spins.

Price: $10

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