TQ is no stranger to music. Six years ago, he released his debut album "Never Saw Me Coming". With his breakout single "Westside", TQ seemed primed and focused to be r&b's next big thing from the west coast. His debut album had a star studded line up of west coast alumni in the form of Too Short, E-40, Daz Dillenger, Tray Dee, and Kurupt. These guest appearances were the proverbial staple that held the album together and gave it an even stronger west coast feel. After that, he released an album overseas, and then signed a not so productive contract with Cash Money Records that didn't amount to any releases. Now, TQ has shaken off the cob webs, dropped the guest appearances and has decided to give us a more traditional r&b album with his official U.S. follow up entitled "Listen".
"Listen" starts off on a high note with the opening track "Right On". As the album's lead single, this track is a smooth, laid back track that paints the picture of how TQ rolls in California. The albums finest moment without a doubt can be found in the title track "Listen". TQ samples the classic Kanye West/ Talib Kweli collaboration "Get By". Over the soulful piano loop, TQ gives many examples of hardship and how the human spirit allows one to overcome them. "Listen" is easily the albums most powerful track. Sad to say, this is the exact point at which this album reaches its peak.
The remainder of the album drifts into a realm of mediocrity and uninspired material. "Call Me" is evidence that TQ is unable to shake off the "ghost of Cash Money past" with its carefree, generic sound. 'Until' is another example of the fact that just because you have a good voice doesn't mean you can create a good song. "Until's" token guitar licks, and unoriginal topic matter is what makes this song suffer the most. "Sista" boasts a heavy bass line that has the potential to be catchy, however TQ's inability to capture the listeners attention for lengthy periods of time hurts the songs replay value.
If TQ can take one lesson away from this terribly average album, it is that if you have a formula that works, stick with it! TQ proves that with bland production and tired topic matter seen on "Listen" he is far from able to hold an album together just off of the strength of his impressive vocals. Perhaps on the next go around, TQ can give his west coast pals a call so that they can provide the much needed staples to hold his album together. Diehard fans of TQ will without a doubt be satisfied with this offering. However, many improvements need to be made in order to elevate his music to a level that will allow him to standout from the rest of the pack. Otherwise, the world may never do as his album title suggests.