Alter Ego

by: Tyrese

Whether you've been a fan of Tyrese the VJ, Tyrese the model, Tyrese the actor, Tyrese the singer, or any combination thereof, one glance at the two-disc Alter Ego is likely to provoke a question or two. On the front of the package, a stone-faced Tyrese is "Tyrese (aka Black-Ty)," and this is meant to indicate that disc one offers more of Tyrese's sensitive (if swaggering) R&B. On the back of the package, a stone-faced Tyrese puts on a pair of sunglasses and transforms into (dun-dun-dun) "Black-Ty (aka Tyrese)," indicating that disc two is very different from disc one. With rare exception, disc one is indistinct seduction material, and little of it compares to either of Tyrese's first two albums. On disc two, Black-Ty is an indistinguishable amalgam of at least a dozen big-name rappers (some of whom even guest here), but the disc itself happens to be more distinct than the first because it is so bad, with many of the guests on the verge of self-parody as Black-Ty serves up verse after verse of clumsy, inarticulate, and relentlessly over-the-top rhymes. It's all a put-on, and it ends up making the first disc -- which, at the least, sounds relatively natural and sincere -- seem like an act as well. ~ Andy Kellman

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