Estelle Shines Bright

Ever since Estelle signed to John Legend's Homeschool Records, she's been constantly compared to the likes of Lauryn Hill and Erykah Badu. The comparisons basically stop at being a talented soulful songstress. On her U.S. debut, Shine, Estelle proves that she has her own voice, her own steez, and definitely her own resonance. The album kicks off with the Will.I.Am-produced "Wait a Minute (Just a Touch)," sampling the classic Screamin' Jay Hawkins tune, "I Put a Spell on You," which most people will recognize from Biggie's "Kick in the Door." The song pretty much sets the tone for the album beginning with Estelle singing the hook, followed by her spitting a hot 16 bars, showcasing both her vocal and rap skills.

Estelle: "Wait a Minute (Just a Touch)"

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One of the reasons Estelle is probably drawing comparisons to Ms. Hill is most likely because of the songs produced by Wyclef Jean,
"No Substitute For Love" and "So Much Out of the Way." Both songs sound
like they were written for Lauryn, probably during their failed Fugees reunion,
but Estelle was able to take both joints and put her mark on them with
her raspy vocals and ragga rhymes, and yes, her patois is better than

The Caribbean sound continues with songs like "Magnificent" featuring Kardinal Offishall
and "Come Over" and for fans wondering if there is anything similar to
"American Boy" on the album, both "In the Rain" and "Pretty Please
(Love Me)
" featuring Cee-Lo (of Gnarls Barkley and Goodie Mob) sort of fit into that retro up-tempo sound. With Estelle's talents and the high concept production, which also includes Mark Ronson and Swizz Beats, her American debut album definitely shines brighter than what other R&B divas are offering.

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