Ghetto Cyrano (Roc-A-Fella Records)
By: Sylvia White
Alright, I know you have heard of Marvin and I know you have heard of Stevie. Now there is Christion, a new two man group (Kenni Ski & Allen Anthony) who have borrowed a great deal of that old soul feel from the likes of those aforementioned legends. There debut album entitled "Ghetto Cyrano" feels almost like a sort of tribute to that classic sound. On the album, Christion narrates street stories of a modern day sort. It is about the hustles and the world of the hustler. The songs are almost poignant in theme and I personally find them to be fitting to my generation of babies and bullets, drug ravaged neighborhoods, the art of survival, and the death and cynicism of generations young and old. They fall from the theme of urban living to the theme of sex and "ghetto love" as easily as falling into water. Christion chose to break the album into four parts: Chapter 1: The Streets; Chapter 2: The Relationship; Chapter 3: The Love; Chapter 4: The Aftermath.
Their first single off of the album "Full Of Smoke" struck me initially and I fell. The track was bathed in Marvin's sound of "Trouble Man". They have woven and meshed their own message around the moans and wails just as Marvin once did, it is rather haunting because the listener is left saying," I have heard that song somewhere before?!", and you have. Some would think of their talent as a type of thievery but Christion has done such justice and added their own special flavor that it feels silly to even think of their musical contribution as anything less than creative.
Some of the more notable tracks on the album are "Pull It" a song in the hustler stage of the album in which a gunman is begging his victim not to force him into pulling his trigger. It is about the struggle from the other side of the gun and the societal blame of the crimes that some commit.
On the track "Anything Goes" we see the sexual side of Christion. It is a very tantalizing song, one made for late night listening. Christion even had the guts to remake a classic entitled, "I Wanna Get Next To You" originally done by Rolls Royce, they have done a very nice classic, true justice. :-)
Then of course there's their second release from the album, "Bring Back Your Love" it is one of my favorites from the album. Slow, sensual, seduction and pleading, what more could a girl ask for when it comes to hearing men sing. On another track entitled "Come To Me" the guys take us on a live trip with a Caribbean feel to the instrumentation, another hint of Marvin in this song. Very nice acoustic guitar and wonderful piano strings. On the song entitled, "Soon" (my favorite) there are vocals, strings, and a sort of finger snapping background. It is one of the most beautiful songs written, it's message is of undying and dedicated love. Beautiful!!
For the album as a whole I give a well-rounded 4. I have a distinct feeling that Christion will have more to contribute creatively. Their sound is one that is borrowed but still very welcomed, especially in this day and age when everyone seems to have a gimmick to sale their records. Christion have taken something genuine as well as tried and true and come back with worthy material. I look forward to hearing and seeing more from these two young men. They have proved to be playing a part in this NuSoul Renaissance that has been sweeping the R&B scene with the likes of Maxwell, Erykah Badu, De'Angelo and Rahsaan Patterson. Continue on gentlemen you got it going on....truly!