Star-Bulletin Features


Protege of rapper Dr. Dre
doesn’t hurt the ears

"Truthfully Speaking"
Truth Hurts (Aftermath/Interscope)

Rap/hip-hop master Dr. Dre may have finally found the equivalent in female talent that could follow in the footsteps of other Dre protégés Snoop Dogg and Eminem -- except that Shari Watson is a singer as well.


Dubbed Truth Hurts by Dre, Watson has been with the master producer since the mid-'90s, as he helped develop her as a songwriter. She got the curious moniker from Dre when, after telling her he wanted to produce her debut album, "he was shocked that I didn't seem more excited. But the more we began to work together, he started to realize that I don't get hyped on things. That's why he named me Truth Hurts."

"Truthfully Speaking" is an auspicious debut. The album's lead single/video is the strong love-themed "Addictive," featuring a rap cameo from the legendary Rakim. Taking a cue from the evocative Egyptian female vocal sample, the video features some belly dance-inspired dance moves by Truth Hurts and backup dancers.

The cut's producer, DJ Quik, is also responsible for the album's other memorable track, "I'm Not Really Lookin'," with its old-school funk hook.

While she may be no Mary J. Blige, Truth Hurts takes full advantage of her classical and gospel vocal training. Her voice is strong and supple on cuts like the testifying "Grown," a smoldering "This Feeling" and the R. Kelly-produced "The Truth."

There's a soopah Timbaland joint called "Real," with a tabla drum sample that continues his and Missy Elliott's rhythmic fascination with all things Middle Eastern.

Hot-lanta gets into the act with Organized Noise's work on an especially fine "Bulls--t" (the song's fine, not the ... well, you know). And everything else is pretty much Dre's work.

He uses that slow, deliberate and cleanly defined rhythm roll to good effect on "Jimmy," in which Truth Hurts proclaims to her incarcerated lover that "I got your back until the day you die," and the murderous "Hollywood," with vocals filled with snap and attitude.

Gary Chun, Star-Bulletin

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