Not every singer should follow Jill Scott's path. Sure, sometimes bright lights get obscured by the politics of the divas and egos they are backing. At other times, the supporting cast members who contribute those underrated background vocals are actually in the right place. Lalah is still one of those singers.
A veteran who's worked with legends from Mary J. Blige to Grover Washington, she remains on the fringes. Though Self Portrait contains nothing essentially unpleasant, it lacks anything uniquely electrifying or hypnotizing by 2008 standards, especially considering the Jazmine Sullivans and Solange Knowleses out there.
All the traditional R&B sonic templates are here: burning piano-driven ballads, jazzy-funky dance-floor fodder, odes to lost loves, etc. But the envelope is nowhere pushed, except on UDO (Unidentified Divine Object) and the ethereal finale. Built for Hathaway fans or those wanting something softer than Sasha Fierce.
Top track: 1 Mile