The entertainment industry has a long history of placing stars of a particular background into unfamiliar territory. The assumption is simple: if you can make money rapping or singing, then you (in theory) should be able to sell tickets at the box office – and vice versa. However, as we all know, just because you sell tickets/albums does not mean you can rap, sing or act. In my humble opinion, I would say less than 10% of these cross-over artists are actually good at both of what they do. Occasionally you’ll find a talented musician, such as the late Tupac Shakur, Will Smith, Jennifer Hudson or Queen Latifah who can actually hold their own with any of Hollywood’s finest. However, what you’ll find much more often is B-movie acting from the likes of Beyonce’, DMX, Ice’s T & Cube and Tyrese. It’s even worse the other way around. For every decent actor-turned musician like Jamie Foxx, there’s a dozen cats like Eddie Murphy (who did well on Dream Girls.. but google his first musical album, “How Could It Be”.. you’ll wish it never was), Jennifer Lopez and Raven Symone who make you wonder why they ever ventured away from the silver screen.
Enter Terrence Howard – a brilliant academy award nominated actor who has been featured in several landmark blockbusters including Crash, Ray and Iron Man. When I first heard that he was dropping an album I was… suspicious. Howard had rapped on the song, “It’s Hard Out Here For A Pimp” from the Hustle and Flow soundtrack, which won the award for Best Original Song at the 78th Academy Awards. However, this achievement did not merit the 2-album deal he scored with Sony BMG Music, especially when you consider that the song was written and produced by Three 6 Mafia and DJ Paul. After I found out that his album was a soul album, instead of another Hip-Hop album, my heart slowed to the appropriate pace. And now that I’ve actually listened to the album I must say that I’ve been pleasantly surprised. I know I’m late – Howard’s inaugural foray into soul music, entitled Shine Through It dropped over a week ago, but hey – this is Blackademics – and CPT is in full effect. Check him out – the website is: Terrence Howard Music dot com