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by
17 December, 2009@5:14 am
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Ryan Leslie made his official debut earlier this year with his self titled LP, which managed to help him carve a few slots in commercial radio playlists. Songs like “Diamond Girl”, “Addiction”, and “How It Was Supposed To Be” all proved to be quality, lukewarm hits for the budding R&B singer / producer / rapper / songwriter. Yes, R-Les does it all, which is why it’s not surprising that he was able to churn out his second LP within the same year. Of course, when you don’t need to rely on anyone else to make your music for you, it simplifies things a bit….

The multi-talented Leslie’s first album was decent, but problematic, as his music was melodic, catchy, and well produced, but lacked substance. As touched upon in our last review, this point couldn’t have been driven home better than on the album’s closing track, “Gibberish”. Despite being a song with no actual words, you still couldn’t help but nod your head, as all of the other elements were in place. Unfortunately, much of the album carried this same sentiment…

Transition quickly rectifies the issues found on his debut, as Leslie strengthens his main weakness by releasing a concept album. The back-cover states “This album is a collections of songs inspired by a summer of secret love. In the end, I choose you and you choose the life that you had before me! Nonetheless, the world will forever have this music and I will forever have the memories….”

That being said, now that Ryan has a reason to write, his music comes through in full color, now filled with more significance than before. Except for the lead single, the funky “You’re Not My Girl”, he doesn’t aim for radio play, as the songs take on a more personal feel, and in the end making for better music.

In usual Leslie fashion, the album opens up on a smooth note, with “Never Gonna Break Up”, creating a laid back vibe that carries throughout the whole album. “Something That I Like” is the most abrasive thing on here, as Ryan capably trades verses with Clipse’s Pusha T, with clever lines like “She’s more than they can comprehend / British dudes idolize me, they copy him”, delivered in an English accent. Tracks like “Is It Real Love” and “Sunday Night” exemplify Ryan’s ambidextrous talents as both vocalist and producer, as he delivers a sort of mellowed out version of the sound found on N.E.R.D.’s In Search Of…

Top to bottom, Ryan Leslie delivers a solid, amazingly consistent, and instantly listenable album from the jump. Transition showcases his ability to not only write, produce, sing, and rap his album all by himself, but also do it in a short amount of time, without sacrificing the quality. While Ryan Leslie might not be radio’s next R. Kelly – that’s fine, he isn’t trying to be. – DJ Pizzo

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